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Powell v. Secretary of State

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine
614 A.2d 1303 (1992)


Facts

Police arrested Kershaw Powell (plaintiff) for driving under the influence of alcohol. At trial, the district court suppressed evidence obtained from the initial stop of Powell’s car on the ground that the arresting officer stopped Powell in violation of his constitutional rights. After Powell’s arrest, the Secretary of State (defendant) suspended Powell’s license based on the results of his blood alcohol test. Powell sought a hearing regarding the administrative license suspension. At the hearing, Powell argued the exclusionary rule should apply. The hearing officer determined that his only statutory duty at the hearing was to determine whether Powell drove with a blood alcohol content beyond the legal limit and that the exclusionary rule did not apply to administrative proceedings. The hearing officer upheld Powell’s suspension. Powell appealed to the superior court. The superior court vacated the decision of the hearing officer, ruled the exclusionary rule applied to administrative suspension hearings, and explained the hearing officer should have considered whether the evidence was obtained in violation of Powell’s constitutional rights. The Secretary appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Clifford, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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