What is becoming all too clear from reading these cases is that a “reasonable suspicion” determination can go either way, and that a big factor in the case is the initial ruling of the trial court. The law requires that appellate courts give the trial court decision great deference, which, if this standard is applied, can make it quite difficult to overturn a trial judge’s ruling on this issue.
Let’s see what you think about the CCA’s determination that the officer has “reasonable suspicion” to justify appellant’s detention. Here’s what the officer observed:
- Appellant was driving his vehicle near the Sixth Street bar district in Austin.
- It was late at night.
- Austin police often observe people driving while intoxicated near this area late at night.
- Appellant stopped his vehicle closely behind the officer’s unmarked vehicle at a traffic light.
- Appellant’s vehicle exhibited a lurching movement forward after he had stopped at the light.
- Appellant’s vehicle moved forward again as if to try to change lanes at the light, but he was too close to the officer’s unmarked vehicle to execute the lane change.