PEOPLE v. JEFFERY

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, New York.

PEOPLE of the State of New York, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Thomas R. JEFFERY, Defendant-Appellant.

Decided: December 31, 2003

PRESENT:  PIGOTT, JR., P.J., PINE, WISNER, SCUDDER, AND KEHOE, JJ. Ronald C. Valentine, Public Defender, Lyons (Gary T. Kelder of Counsel), for Defendant-Appellant. Richard M. Healy, District Attorney, Lyons (David V. Shaw of Counsel), for Plaintiff-Respondent.

Defendant appeals from a judgment convicting him of driving while intoxicated (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192[2];  § 1193[1][c] [ii] ).   We conclude that County Court properly denied his motion seeking suppression of evidence arising from the stop of his motor vehicle.   The police stopped the vehicle based upon a report received by the 911 calling center indicating that a “drunk driver” named “Jeffery” was about to leave in a specifically described motor vehicle parked at a specific location.   The police responded to that location within minutes, observed the described parked motor vehicle and pulledthe vehicle over as it was being driven away from that location.   The police acted on the basis of the report alone and did not observe any actions indicative of criminal behavior prior to the stop.

Even assuming, arguendo, that the 911 caller was anonymous (cf.  People v. Dixon, 289 A.D.2d 937, 734 N.Y.S.2d 761, lv. denied 98 N.Y.2d 637, 744 N.Y.S.2d 765, 771 N.E.2d 838), we nevertheless conclude that the report was sufficiently corroborated to provide reasonable suspicion for the stop.   We reject defendant's contention that corroboration of the report was required with respect to “its assertion of illegality” (Florida v. J.L., 529 U.S. 266, 272, 120 S.Ct. 1375, 146 L.Ed.2d 254).  J.L. concerned the forcible detention of a person suspected of engaging in concealed criminal activity based on a tip from an anonymous source who did not indicate the basis of his knowledge.   Here, the report of the 911 caller was based on the contemporaneous observation of conduct that was not concealed (cf.  People v. Braun, 299 A.D.2d 246, 750 N.Y.S.2d 58, lv. denied 99 N.Y.2d 612, 757 N.Y.S.2d 823, 787 N.E.2d 1169).   The report contained details “so specific and congruous with that which was actually encountered that the reliability of the information could reasonably be assumed” (People v. Olsen, 93 A.D.2d 824, 824, 460 N.Y.S.2d 828), and thus we conclude that the police possessed the requisite reasonable suspicion to stop defendant's motor vehicle (see People v. Legette, 244 A.D.2d 505, 507, 664 N.Y.S.2d 606, lv. denied 92 N.Y.2d 950, 681 N.Y.S.2d 480, 704 N.E.2d 233;  People v. Maye, 206 A.D.2d 755, 757, 615 N.Y.S.2d 94, lv. denied 84 N.Y.2d 1035, 623 N.Y.S.2d 191, 647 N.E.2d 463;  see also People v. Benjamin, 51 N.Y.2d 267, 270, 434 N.Y.S.2d 144, 414 N.E.2d 645;  cf.  People v. Ballard, 279 A.D.2d 529, 719 N.Y.S.2d 267).

It is hereby ORDERED that the judgment so appealed from be and the same hereby is unanimously affirmed.

MEMORANDUM: