The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled a state trooper had “reasonable suspicion” to stop a man driving in the town of Casey, which is near Interstate-80 in Adair County.
A district court judge ruled all the evidence gathered after a trooper stopped Dan Gustafson’s truck could not be used against Gustafson. The Court of Appeals concluded the “officer had reasonable suspicion a criminal act was occurring” and all the evidence can be used.
The traffic stop happened in March of 2007. The trooper says he thought the light that illuminated the rear license plate on Gustafson’s truck was out, so he followed it into a darker area of Casey to make sure. The trooper says when he pulled Gustafson over, Gustafson’s eyes were bloodshot and watery and he smelled of alcohol. A test concluded Gustafson’s blood alcohol level was over the legal limit; he was charged with second-offense drunken driving.
Gustafson fought the charge. The Court of Appeals has ruled the stop was proper and Gustafson is to face a second-offense drunken driving charge.
One member of the appeals court wrote what’s called a “concurrence,” saying it was time for the court to clarify a previous opinion about when it’s appropriate for an officer to pull a vehicle over for having a missing light on the rear license plate.