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The People v. Walter Alvarado

February 7, 2011

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
WALTER ALVARADO, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



Super. Ct. No. 2404632 APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of California, City and County of San Francisco.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Teri L. Jackson, Acting Presiding Judge

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

BY THE COURT:*fn1

I. INTRODUCTION

Appellant, Walter Alvarado, challenges the denial of his motion to suppress following his arrest at a DUI checkpoint. He had been charged with driving under the influence and driving with a blood alcohol level in excess of 0.08%.

The issue before us is whether the People sustained their burden of proof in establishing the factors under Ingersoll v. Palmer (1987) 43 Cal.3d 1321 (Ingersoll). That case lists the factors governing whether a DUI checkpoint is operated in compliance with the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. (People v. Banks (1993) 6 Cal.4th 926, 934 (Banks).)

While we only follow established law here, we write to address what appear to be repeated difficulties encountered by the People in making the record required to establish the legitimacy of these checkpoints.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The location of the checkpoint was decided by Captain Greg Coralles, although there was no evidence on the factors considered by the captain, who did not testify. The court did hear from a Sergeant Edgar Callejas, who testified that the location had been used as DUI checkpoint about four to six times previously, although he did not say why. The date of February 1, 2009, was chosen because it was "Super Bowl Sunday," and the police hoped to deter the drinking and driving which they felt generally accompanies such an event.

The officers brought five vehicles into the checkpoint area at a time. When the fifth vehicle left the checkpoint, the officers would bring in five more vehicles and repeat the process. Sergeant Callejas made the decision on the process and criteria used to select vehicles, after consultation with, and apparently relying in great part on, a more experienced officer, William Garcia, who was a subordinate to Callejas. On occasion, the process was changed: When traffic flow was very light, the police would proceed with fewer than five cars at a time.

III. DISCUSSION

Ingersoll prescribes these factors:

(1) Whether the decision to establish the checkpoint, the selection of the site, and the procedures for operation are established by ...


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