Judge dismisses DUI refusal case against Tupelo city attorney

A judge has dismissed a DUI refusal case against Tupelo city attorney Ben Logan because of an “unconstitutional” roadblock.

Posted: Jul 11, 2019 2:09 PM
Updated: Jul 23, 2019 10:46 AM

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - A judge has dismissed a DUI refusal case against Tupelo city attorney Ben Logan because of an “unconstitutional” roadblock.

Logan’s DUI refusal case was presented in Lee County Justice Court on Wednesday after the case was postponed in early May.

Judge Chuck Hopkins issued a written statement to WTVA during the court hearing.

“As to the case at hand today, the State of Mississippi versus Benjamin Logan on the DUI Refusal charge, I’d first like to say that as a judge, I took an oath of office to be fair and without bias. I also took an oath to hear the evidence fairly that has been presented to the Court by both the prosecution and the defense, and I have done so in this case. After considering the defendant’s motion before me as well as the response to the defense’s motion provided to me by the Lee County Prosecutor and based on Supreme Court case law, I do hereby find and rule that the roadblock where Mr. Logan was stopped on the night in question was in fact unconstitutional and for that reason I am going to grant the defense’s motion and dismiss the state’s case against Mr. Logan.”

State troopers stopped Logan the night of Dec. 7, 2018, and charged him with DUI refusal. He was taken to the Lee County jail but was released without being booked into the jail. He was given a traffic citation. 

According to a city statement, Logan was not in a city-issued vehicle at the time of the stop.

In a motion filed by Logan’s defense attorney, he claims the roadblock did not give warning signs leading up to the checkpoint. They also challenged who set up the roadblock and where it was placed.

The roadblock was stationed on Hilda Avenue, which is off Highway 45 and is near Front Street.

They also said it was not publicized.

The purpose of the roadblock was to check for licenses and insurance, but not for sobriety or any other reason, making the checkpoint unconstitutional.

However, the prosecution argued Logan’s Fourth Amendment right of unreasonable search and seizure was not violated.

When asked if the ruling would void other tickets issued at the same checkpoint, the judge said each person would have to come to court individually and prove their charges should be dismissed.

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