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Commonwealth v. Myers

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

June 15, 2015

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellant
v.
DARRELL MYERS, Appellee

Argued February 24, 2015

Appeal from the Order August 27, 2013. In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Criminal. Division at No(s): MC-51-CR-0052681-2012. Before PATRICK, J.

Darby G. Sullivan, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellant.

Bradley S. Bridge, Public Defender, Philadelphia, for appellee.

BEFORE: PANELLA, J., OTT, J., and JENKINS, J.

OPINION

OTT, J.:

The Commonwealth appeals from the order entered August 27, 2013, in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, denying relief from an order of the Philadelphia Municipal Court that suppressed test results from a warrantless blood draw of appellee, Darrell Myers, who was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, in violation of 75 Pa.C.S. § 3802(a)(1) (general impairment/incapable of driving safely).[1] Based upon the following, we affirm.

From the trial court's opinion, we quote:

Based upon the record kept in this matter, this Court makes the following findings of fact:
1. On December 29, 2012, at approximately 3:30 p.m., Officer James Bragg was on patrol in the city and county of Philadelphia. Motion to Suppress, Notes of Testimony, May 21, 201[3], p. 7. His tour of duty took him to the location of 64 West Penn Street. Id.
2. Officer Bragg received a radio call for a person screaming in the area of 100 West Penn Street. Id. at 7. The flash was for a maroon SUV. Id. at 8.
3. As Officer Bragg came down Penn Street, he observed a maroon SUV which had its engine running. Id. The vehicle was observed with its brake lights repeatedly going on and off and [Myers] was observed seated in the driver's seat. Id. at 8.
4. Officer Bragg witnessed [Myers] maneuvering the brake pedal himself -- which is to say, he did not have his hazards on and he was the one causing his lights to go [on] and off repeatedly. Id. at 8.
5. The vehicle was in the running lane [i]n front of 64 West Penn Street. Id.
6. Officer Bragg pulled up behind the vehicle with his overhead lights and sirens on. Id. at 8, 9. He watched as the male driver exited the vehicle and immediately began staggering towards the officer's car. Id. at 9. Officer Bragg had not ordered [Myers] out of the vehicle. Id. at 8.
7. [Myers] tried to say something at that time -- he had very slurred speech, however. The officer could not understand him. Id. at 9. The officer convinced him to have a seat on the steps in front of a nearby building. Id. at 9.
8. [Myers] had a moderate smell of alcoholic beverages emanating from his person. Id. at 9.
9. Officer Bragg testified that he has been on the force for five years and come directly into contact with people under the influence of alcohol on a number of occasions. Id. at 14, 15.
Based upon his experience and contact with people under the influence, he believed that [Myers] was intoxicated. See id. at 12.
10. Further, Officer Bragg saw a brandy bottle on the front seat of the vehicle. Id. at 12. He saw the item in plain view. Id. [Myers] left his vehicle door open as he stumbled outside during the initial stop. Id.
11. On the basis of the foregoing observations, Officer Bragg indicated that he did not believe [Myers] could then ...

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