State v. Lanoue
In State v. Lanoue, 156 Vt. 35, 587 A.2d 405 (Vt 1991), an officer believed Lanoue's right to operate a motor vehicle was under suspension, and initiated a driver's license check through the Department of Motor Vehicles computer database.
The information provided by the computer database verified that Lanoue's license was under suspension. Id. at 406. The information in the Department of Motor Vehicles system was later found to be incorrect. Id.
Although Lanoue's right to operate had been suspended on August 13, 1987, it was reinstated at 12:01 a.m. on September 17, 1987, forty-five minutes before the traffic stop, but was not transferred to the Department of Motor Vehicles computer until after the stop had been made. Id.
That court held that the incorrect information provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles was not chargeable to a law enforcement agency for the same reasons used by the Iowa court in State v. Ewoldt, 448 N.W.2d 676 (Iowa Ct App 1989), that is, the Department of Motor Vehicles is entrusted by statute to record and maintain driver's license records, and is an official source of such information that is independent of law enforcement agencies. Id. at 407.