Texas v. Duran (Original)Annotate this Case
When appellee Anthony Duran made a left-hand turn in front of a speeding police car, the police officer braked, turned to follow, pulled the car over, and eventually arrested appellee for DWI. Appellee filed a motion to suppress, claiming that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop him. The trial judge granted the motion, the State appealed, and the court of appeals reversed the trial judge's ruling. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether an appellate court must defer to a trial judge's factual findings which, when viewed piecemeal and in isolation, may be ambiguous, but, when read in their totality, reasonably support his legal conclusion. The Court concluded it must. "A reviewing court must apply the same non-technical, common-sense deference-not only to the trial judge's individual factual findings, but also to the totality of those findings-that it uses to assess a magistrate's determination of probable cause. This case depends upon a single fact, not any legal issue: Did the police officer actually see a traffic violation before he detained Mr. Duran? The trial judge's findings indicate that he did not. We must defer to that determination of fact."