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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On July 15, 2006, at approximately 3 a.m., William Nelson, an Austin police officer, was dispatched to the Whataburger restaurant located at 3400 West Slaughter Lane in response to a call from the manager reporting a person “passed out behind the wheel in the drive-through.” Nelson testified that he was not given any other information other than that someone was passed out behind the wheel in the drive-through lane. When Nelson arrived at the scene, an unidentified Whataburger employee pointed to Amanda Griffey’s car. Nelson testified that Griffey was awake at the time he arrived and that her vehicle was sitting next to the drive-through window. Nelson pulled his patrol car in front of Griffey’s vehicle, blocking it from the front, while the line of vehicles behind Griffey in the drive-through lane blocked her vehicle from the rear. At the hearing on the motion to suppress, Nelson conceded that he detained Griffey at the time he used his vehicle to stop her from leaving. Nelson testified that he detained Griffey based on the report that someone was passed out behind the wheel in the drive-through lane. After detaining Griffey, Nelson asked her to turn off her engine and step out of the vehicle. After she had done so, Nelson detected the odor of alcohol coming from Griffey. This was Nelson’s first indication that alcohol was involved. Because Nelson was nearing the end of his shift, he called for another officer to conduct the driving-while-intoxicated investigation. Officer James Strong arrived on site a few minutes later, and after administering field sobriety tests placed Griffey under arrest for DWI. In a pretrial motion, Griffey moved to suppress all evidence obtained as a result of the stop on the ground that her detention was improper, because it was based solely on the manager’s report that someone was passed out behind the wheel in the drive-through lane. The trial court expressly ruled that the officers’ testimony was credible but that the initial detention of Griffey was unreasonable and not authorized by law. Accordingly, the trial court suppressed all of the evidence obtained as a result of the stop. On appeal, the state contended that the trial court erred in granting the motion to suppress, because the detention did not violate Griffey’s rights under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or her rights under Texas laws. The state argued that Nelson’s conduct was reasonable in light of the information he had from the call made by the Whataburger manager that someone was passed out in the drive-through lane and that Nelson was justified in detaining Griffey without further investigation. HOLDING:Affirmed. A police officer, the court stated, may conduct a brief investigative detention if he has a reasonable suspicion to believe that an individual is involved in criminal activity. The reasonableness of a temporary detention, the court further stated, must be examined in terms of the totality of the circumstances at its inception and will only be justified if the officer can point to specific articulable facts that, when combined with rational inferences from those facts, would lead him to reasonably suspect that a specific person had engaged in or was or soon would be engaging in criminal activity. Reasonable suspicion, the court stated, may be established based on information given to police officers by citizen informants, provided the facts are adequately corroborated by the officer. The most reliable form of citizen-informant tip is information given by a face-to-face informant who has no other contact with the police beyond witnessing a criminal act. But in this case, the court noted that the manager simply reported that an individual was passed out behind the wheel in the drive-through line, which did not constitute criminal behavior. Moreover, the court stated that the manager did not report that the driver had been passed out or asleep long enough to obstruct the passageway or whether the drive-through was ever obstructed. In light of the lack of corroboration of the citizen-informant tip and the fact that Nelson observed Griffey awake, a fact that contradicted the information in the tip, the court held that the manager’s report that a driver was passed out behind the wheel in the drive-through lane, standing alone, was insufficient to establish reasonable suspicion that Griffey was intoxicated, obstructing a passageway or involved in any other criminal activity at the inception of her detention. As a result, the court held that based on the totality of the circumstances, Nelson did not have reasonable suspicion to detain Griffey. OPINION:Henson, J.; Law, C.J., and Waldrop and Henson, JJ.

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