DAVID DEMAREST V. CITY OF VALLEJO, No. 20-15872 (9th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff brought a 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 alleging that the City of Vallejo violated the Fourth Amendment, by adding license checks to what was concededly a sobriety checkpoint. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s summary judgment for Defendants.
Reviewing a line of relevant Supreme Court decisions, the court derived a “two-step analysis” for assessing the validity of a checkpoint under the Fourth Amendment. Applying that two-step analysis to this case, the panel first held that because the City’s checkpoint did not have any impermissible primary purpose of advancing the general interest in crime control, it was not per se invalid. The panel then applied the factors for assessing reasonableness set forth in Lidster and concluded that the City’s systematic addition of driver’s license checks to an otherwise valid sobriety checkpoint was objectively reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.
The court held that, once Plaintiff refused to produce his license for examination at the checkpoint, the officer had probable cause to believe that plaintiff was committing an offense in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 12951(b), and his continued detention and arrest were therefore reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. Moreover, the officer’s action of physically removing Plaintiff from his car by grabbing his arm was objectively reasonable as a matter of law given Plaintiff’s lack of cooperation with her commands up to that point and the modest nature of the force used.