Alex Wayne Westra v. Iowa Department of Transportation

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF IOWA No. 18–1050 Filed June 14, 2019 ALEX WAYNE WESTRA, Appellant, vs. IOWA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Appellee. Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Arthur E. Gamble, Judge. A motorist appeals a district court ruling denying his petition for judicial review of an agency decision suspending his driver’s license for one year. AFFIRMED. Matthew T. Lindholm of Gourley, Rehkemper, & Lindholm, P.L.C., West Des Moines, for appellant. Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Robin G. Formaker, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee. 2 MANSFIELD, Justice. This case began when a driver tried to reverse course. But it presents the question whether our court should reverse course. Specifically, should we overrule precedent and apply the exclusionary rule to driver’s license revocation proceedings when an Iowa statute dictates otherwise? In Westendorf v. Iowa Department of Transportation, 400 N.W.2d 553, 557 (Iowa 1987), superseded by statute as recognized by Brownsberger v. Department of Transportation, 460 N.W.2d 449, 450–51 (Iowa 1990), we declined to apply the exclusionary rule so long as the enumerated statutory conditions for license revocation were met. Later, the general assembly enacted a limited exception to Westendorf. See Iowa Code § 321J.13(6) (2017). This requires the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) to rescind revocation of a driver’s license if there has been a criminal prosecution for operating while intoxicated (OWI) and the criminal case determined that the peace officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe a violation of the OWI laws had occurred or that the chemical test was otherwise inadmissible or invalid. We affirmed the limited nature of that exception in Manders v. Iowa Department of Transportation, 454 N.W.2d 364, 366–67 (Iowa 1990). In the present case, a driver was pulled over by a DOT officer after he stopped on I-80 to make unauthorized use of a median crossover in order to turn around and head in the other direction. It turned out he had an open container in his car and smelled of an alcoholic beverage. After he refused all testing, his license was suspended for one year, but he was never charged with OWI. Adhering to our Westendorf and Manders precedents, the DOT upheld his license suspension. Notably, the driver’s only challenge to the stop was that the DOT officer lacked statutory 3 authority; the driver did not contest reasonable suspicion for the stop. The district court also denied relief, leading to this appeal. We are now asked, in effect, to expand the legislature’s post- Westendorf statutory exception and apply the exclusionary rule to all driver’s license revocation proceedings if there was any problem with the stop. For the reasons discussed herein, we decline to do so and instead adhere to the legislative boundaries of the exception when the only legal flaw in the stop was the officer’s lack of statutory authority. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the district court upholding the license revocation in this case. I. Facts and Procedural History. On May 9, 2017, at approximately 12:26 a.m., ...

Original document
Source: All recent Immigration Decisions In All the U.S. Courts of Appeals