Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Farmer Not a State Agent

State v. Ziehl 05-0293 (Iowa Ct. App. 2006)

In this case, a defendant drove his vehicle onto private property. A farmer blocked the defendant from leaving and had his spouse call 911. When police arrived, the farmer told the police that he thought the motorist had been drinking. When questioned, Ziehl admitted he had had seven shots.

The court of appeals held that the farmer, in blocking the defendant from leaving the scene, was acting as a private citizen. In addition, Ziehl's fourth amendment rights were not violated because he was not seized until after he was arrested, which did not occur until the defendant had failed the field sobriety test, admitted to drinking, exhibited watery eyes and smelled of alcohol, and drove his car off a dead end road.



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