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Judge allows traffic stop evidence in Killpack DUI

Judge allows traffic stop evidence in Killpack DUI

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Evidence gathered during a traffic stop in which former Utah Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence can be used in court, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Killpack was pulled over in January after a Utah Highway Patrol trooper said he observed Killpack driving on top of a broken lane of traffic.

Court documents say Killpack's blood alcohol level was 0.11, above the legal limit of 0.08. Video evidence also shows Killpack performing poorly during sobriety tests. Killpack resigned from the Legislature the following day.

Killpack's attorney, Ed Brass, had argued that the trooper had no right to pull over Killpack because state law doesn't define what a lane of traffic is. Brass contends that makes it impossible for anybody to know where a lane begins and ends.

He said, "At its heart, this is what the Fourth Amendment is all about."

But prosecutor Thomas Lopresto argued that the state requires a driver to stay entirely within a single lane and the Utah Supreme Court has said lawmakers don't have to define everything in state law. The only reasonable way to define a lane of traffic is to say that one ends where the painted line begins, he said.

Judge Shauna Graves-Robertson said that absent a legal definition, she is left to interpret the law. She said she believed the trooper had reasonable suspicion to pull over Killpack for a traffic violation when Killpack drove on top of the lines.

Killpack has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of DUI and failure to signal. A trial date was set for October.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Brock Vergakis Writer


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