CAMPBELL (KEITH) VS. COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKYAnnotate this Case
RENDERED: NOVEMBER 26, 2008; 10:00 A.M.
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Court of Appeals
APPEAL FROM GARRARD CIRCUIT COURT
HONORABLE C. HUNTER DAUGHERTY, JUDGE
ACTION NO. 07-CR-00012
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
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BEFORE: STUMBO AND THOMPSON, JUDGES; GUIDUGLI,1 SENIOR
STUMBO, JUDGE: This is an appeal of a conditional plea of guilty to a DUI from
the Garrard Circuit Court. Keith Campbell (Appellant) reserved the right to appeal
the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress evidence he contends was obtained
during a warrantless search conducted in violation of his Fourth Amendment
Senior Judge Daniel T. Guidugli sitting as Special Judge by assignment of the Chief Justice
pursuant to Section 110(5)(b) of the Kentucky Constitution and KRS 21.580.
rights. The Commonwealth claims the search was valid. We find that the search
was valid and affirm the lower court’s denial of Appellant’s motion to suppress.
The facts of this case are simple and undisputed. On December 14,
2006, Garrard County Deputy Sheriffs, Brandon Conley and Keith Addison,
conducted a vehicle safety checkpoint at the intersection of Kentucky Highways
753 and 152. During the operation of this checkpoint, Appellant was stopped.
Appellant was asked for his license, proof of insurance, and
registration. When he handed them over, Deputy Conley noticed Appellant’s eyes
were bloodshot. The deputy asked Appellant if he had been drinking and
Appellant responded in the affirmative. Appellant was then asked to exit the
Deputy Conley administered field sobriety tests which Appellant
failed. Appellant was arrested for DUI. Because there were only two deputies at
the checkpoint, it had to be abandoned when Appellant was arrested and taken to
the Lincoln County Detention Center. The checkpoint required at least two
officers to properly operate.
Appellant argues that the stop was unconstitutional because the
deputies had no plan to continue the checkpoint after the first arrest, there were no
written procedures regarding the checkpoints, a supervising officer did not make
the decision to set up the checkpoint or even approve one, there were no media
announcements regarding the checkpoint, there was not an officer in charge of the
checkpoint, and the purpose of the checkpoint was to detect any violation of the
law. Appellant relies on the case of Monin v. Commonwealth, 209 S.W.3d 471
(Ky. App. 2006), in support of his argument. Monin involved a checkpoint
conducted by the Kentucky State Police (KSP).
In Monin, another panel of this Court held that the checkpoint was not
constitutionally permissible because it was not conducted according to the written
standards established by the KSP. Specifically, that there were no media
announcements regarding the presence and nature of the checkpoint; that there was
no indication that one of the officers was the designated officer in charge of the
operation; that there was no plan to maintain the checkpoint since it was
immediately abandoned after Monin was arrested; and that the checkpoint had not
been properly planned or authorized. Id. at 474. The Court found that this was
actually an isolated stop later characterized as a checkpoint stop. Id.
We find that Monin is distinguishable from this case and that the case
of Commonwealth v. Buchanon, 122 S.W.3d 565 (Ky. 2003), is controlling. For a
traffic checkpoint to pass constitutional muster, there must be “constrained
discretion of officers at the scene, and that the checkpoint be established pursuant
to some sort of systematic plan.” Buchanon at 569.
In Buchanon, the Kentucky Supreme Court set forth several
“nonexclusive factors to consider in determining the reasonableness of a particular
roadblock.” Id. at 570.
First, it is important that decisions regarding the location,
time, and procedures governing a particular roadblock
should be determined by those law enforcement officials
in a supervisory position, rather than by the officers who
are out in the field. Any lower ranking officer who
wishes to establish a roadblock should seek permission
from supervisory officials. Locations should be chosen
so as not to affect the public’s safety and should bear
some reasonable relation to the conduct law enforcement
is trying to curtail.
Second, the law enforcement officials who work the
roadblock should comply with the procedures established
by their superior officers so that each motorist is dealt
with in exactly the same manner. Officers in the field
should not have unfettered discretion in deciding which
vehicles to stop or how each stop is handled.
Third, the nature of the roadblock should be readily
apparent to approaching motorists. At least some of the
law enforcement officers present at the scene should be
in uniform and patrol cars should be marked in some
manner. Signs warning of a checkpoint ahead are also
Fourth, the length of a stop is an important factor in
determining the intrusiveness of the roadblock.
Motorists should not be detained any longer than
necessary in order to perform a cursory examination of
the vehicle to look for signs of intoxication or check for
license and registration. If during the initial stop, an
officer has a reasonable suspicion that the motorist has
violated the law, the motorist should be asked to pull to
the side so that other motorists can proceed.
We reiterate that the above list of factors is not
exhaustive. Also, a mere violation of one factor does not
automatically result in a violation of constitutional
proportions. The guidelines are to be applied on a caseby-case basis in order to determine the reasonableness of
Id. at 571.
It appears that in Monin, a KSP officer used the pretext of a traffic
checkpoint to stop a vehicle he suspected was being operated by a drunk driver
because he saw the vehicle leave a bar. That is not the case here.
At the suppression hearing, Deputy Conley testified that although the
checkpoint was his idea, he called the Sheriff and received permission to set one
up. Also, through this testimony, a memo was entered into evidence which
showed that the intersection of Kentucky Highways 753 and 152 had been preapproved by the Sheriff as a proper place to have a checkpoint.
Deputy Conley did testify that while the Sheriff’s office had no
written instructions on how to properly conduct a roadblock, he had participated in
them before, used the same techniques every time, and that each motorist was
treated exactly the same. He also stated that every vehicle that passed through the
checkpoint was stopped and the driver was asked for his driver’s license, proof of
insurance, and registration.
Testimony also revealed that although no signs warned motorists a
checkpoint was ahead, the police cruisers had all their lights on and the officers
were in their uniforms. This readily informed the approaching motorists what was
Finally, Deputy Conley testified that the stops lasted no longer than
was necessary to make sure the motorists had their vehicle information and were
not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The arguments set forth by Appellant using Monin do not apply here.
In Monin, the officer making the stop was from the KSP. The KSP had written
regulations which were not followed and even the Monin court found that this was
an isolated stop later characterized as a checkpoint stop which was intended to only
Here, the evidence established that the deputies had permission to
establish the checkpoint, had no discretion as to who to stop, treated each motorist
in the same manner, and only stopped each one for a reasonable amount of time.
Also, this was a safety checkpoint to make sure motorists were operating their
vehicles properly and not one set up to discover any and all violations of the law;
thus, it had a specific purpose. Finally, in Monin, the alleged checkpoint ended
because the officer arrested the person he intended to. Here, the checkpoint ended
because it was no longer logistically possible to maintain. The factors in
Buchanon were followed by the Garrard County deputies and nothing they did
suggests this was an impermissible traffic checkpoint.
We find that the checkpoint in the case at bar was constitutionally
reasonable and therefore the motion to suppress was properly denied. Accordingly
BRIEFS FOR APPELLANT:
BRIEF FOR APPELLEE:
William R. Erwin
Attorney General of Kentucky
Bryan D. Morrow
Assistant Attorney General