State v. Hollinger

In State v. Hollinger, 2012 WL 5208792, (Del. Com. Pl. Oct. 10, 2012) the Court found that the State failed to carry its burden of showing that the checkpoint was established pursuant to a neutral plan that limited officer discretion as to its location. In Hollinger, the State attempted to prove that the checkpoint and stop of the defendant carefully complied with the statistical requirements of the Checkpoint Procedures. To prove careful compliance, the State presented the testimony of an officer who assisted in the checkpoint's operation. Notably, the State also introduced an exhibit containing, among other things, (1) a memorandum from Shaw to Chief Capriglione granting approval to establish and operate the checkpoint, and (2) raw data containing statistics and information relating to DUI arrests for certain locations throughout Delaware, which the Shaw memorandum purportedly relied on in approving the checkpoint location. In analyzing the weight given to the officer's testimony, the Court in Hollinger noted that despite being a credible witness, the officer was "unable to provide substantive testimony regarding anything contained in State's exhibit 2," and that his testimony in connection with State's exhibit 2 was "mostly speculative and not overly helpful to the Court" in showing that the checkpoint complied with the Checkpoint Procedures. In granting the defendant's motion to suppress all evidence seized at the checkpoint, the Court noted that State's exhibit 2 was "not so clearly constructed as to present its contents in a way ... in which the Court could, without more, hold that the checkpoint was proper."