Motion to Suppress Granted

A criminal case will be dismissed after Sean Ociepka prevailed on a Motion to Suppress evidence in the Waldo County Criminal Docket. In a written order following a hearing, a Waldo County justice concluded that law enforcement was not justified in stopping a vehicle leaving the entrance area of Belfast City Park around midnight on August 22, 2015. At a hearing on the motion, a law enforcement officer testified that he had stopped the vehicle in order to give a warning to the driver that, according to city ordinance, the park is closed after 11:00 p.m. The court found, however, that it was not “objectively reasonable” for the officer to conclude that a violation of the ordinance occurred. According to the court, what the officer observed–headlights turning from the entrance onto Northport Avenue–gave the officer “no more than a mere hunch or speculation” that the vehicle may have been in the park in violation of the ordinance. As a result, the stop of the vehicle violated the defendant’s rights under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  After receiving a copy of the order, the State indicated that the pending criminal charges against the defendant–violation of bail conditions and failure to give correct name–would be dismissed.