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Commonwealth v. Menichino

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

January 23, 2017

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellant
v.
ANDREW C. MENICHINO Appellee

         Appeal from the Order entered November 10, 2015 In the Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County Criminal Division at No: CP-43-CR-0000027-2015

          BEFORE: LAZARUS, STABILE, and STRASSBURGER, [*] JJ.

          OPINION

          STABILE, J.

         The Commonwealth appeals from the order the Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County entered on November 10, 2015, granting Appellee Andrew C. Menichino's motion to suppress all the evidence derived from a vehicular stop at a DUI checkpoint. Upon review, we reverse and remand. Following a hearing, the suppression court found the following:

1. Sergeant Brian Robinson has been employed with the Hermitage Police Department for 17 years, and is presently a patrol supervisor.
2. Sergeant Robinson also serves as the coordinator for the Mercer County DUI Task Force. As coordinator, he is responsible for analyzing data in order [to] locate problem areas for DUI offenses. He has also served as coordinator for seven years and has conducted approximately five (5) checkpoints per year.
3. Prior to September 2[6], 2014, Sergeant Robinson utilized the Hermitage Police Department's Alert File System to identify two problem areas in the city of Hermitage through the use of statistics, State Route 18 [(]a/k/a Hermitage Road[)] and State Route 62 [(]a/k/a/ East State Street[)].
4. Sergeant Robinson testified that from September 2011 to September 2014 there were 94 DUI arrests on State Route 18.
5. Within the same period of time, there were a total 430 DUI arrests within the City of Hermitage. Consequently, 22% of the total number of DUI arrests in Hermitage during this time frame occurred on State Route 18.
6. Based on this statistic, Sergeant Robinson prepared and presented an Operation Plan for a sobriety checkpoint on State Route 18 to the Hermitage Chief of Police.
7. In determining the exact location of the checkpoint, Sergeant Robinson testified that factors such as safety for motorists, site distance, whether the site is geographically conducive, and whether the site is appropriate for license checks were considered.
8. Additionally, the standard methodology for operating the sobriety checkpoint required the posting of signage advising motorists of the checkpoint, the use of traffic cones to direct traffic, a minimum of two officers being present, and that every vehicle was stopped.
9. Sergeant Robinson was on the scene at the sobriety checkpoint when [Appellee] was stopped.
10. On cross-examination, Sergeant Robinson acknowledged that State Route 18, a/k/a/ Hermitage Road, is divided into North and South Hermitage Road at the ...

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