Police Detain Georgia Man Walking Down The Street,
and Illegally Obtain Incriminatory Evidence
Police were searching nearby business parking lots for a truck that had been observed speeding along a multi-lane highway in metro Atlanta, GA. When the truck was found, it had no one inside. Police (who started to cruise the area) saw a male walking down a nearby stretch of road and stopped him to question him. He denied being the driver of the truck. Not believing him, they took him back over to the truck, and found keys in his pocket and the key fit the ignition. He was ultimately arrested for DUI. Despite his DUI defense lawyer’s efforts to keep evidence out of the trial, the judge allowed certain statements to be heard by the jury. The man was convicted of DUI, but appealed. That appeal is D’Anna v. State, 201 Ga. App. 731, 412 S.E.2d 857 (1991).The appellate court ruled that – because police had no description of the truck driver, as the vehicle sped by, the detention was unfounded. When they stopped Mr. D’Anna as he walked down the street, no reasonable proof of him driving the truck existed. The connection to the parked, nearby truck was wholly circumstantial. The appeals court ruled that D’Anna had been placed in custody illegally and without his consent, and that any incriminatory statements should have been thrown out of court by the trial judge at pre-trial motion hearings. So, D’Anna’s DUI attorney — in filing pre-trial, written motions — placed “hurdles” to block the Prosecutor’s illegally obtained evidence, but the trial judge did not rule properly. Conviction reversed. This case shows the value of fighting a case, making a good “record” of the judge’s improper rulings, and then having an excellent DUI lawyer fight for your exoneration.
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