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COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS HAMPDEN, ss. SUPERIOR COURT ACTION NO. 14-1309 INTY COMMONWEALTH. "SOMERTOR Count FILED ae 5 JUN ZA STANLEY RINGER IORANDI OF DEC! IN AND. ON DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO SUPPRESS Defendant Stanley Ringer ("Ringer") is charged with a fourth offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. He has moved to suppress his statements on two different grounds: (1) that he was subject to custodial interrogation before being advised of his Miranda warnings; and (2) that he was so intoxicated that his statements were involuntary.’ For the reasons that follow, the motion is DENIED. FIND! OF FACT After hearing, I find the following relevant, credible facts. On the night of October 24, 2014, Massachusetts State Trooper Sean Kenney, while patrolling Interstate 291 in Springfield, observed a Chevrolet Cavalier westbound on 291 straddling lanes. This observation caused Trooper Kenney to research the vehicle license number in his mobile data base. The search revealed that the vehicle had not been timely inspected. He followed the vehicle onto Interstate 91 southbound, over the South End Bridge and onto Route 57. He observed that the vehicle was traveling at a speed well below the posted limit and swerved from lane to lane approximately thirty times. * The motion also seeks suppression of the breathalyzer test results for failure to comply with applicable regulations. The Commonwealth stated at hearing that it will not offer the breathalyzer results 2s evidence, so that issue is moot. W Fee of AA coe forvdad fr eee Gan. + 6 lavtse ~ Trooper Kenney iated a traffic stop by activating his overti¢ad lights, The Chevrolet Cavalier pulled off the road approximately % mile after the overhead lights came on. ‘Trooper Kenney approached the vehicle and asked for the driver's license and registration. The driver, later identified as Ringer, smelled of alcohol and fumbled while looking through his wallet. He then stated in slurred speech, “I don’t have a license, Arrest me. I don’t have one.” Trooper Kenney then directed Ringer to provide the Massachusetts ID card on Ringer's lap. Ringer complied. In response to a question about whether or not he had been drinking, Ringer stated that he had four beers prior to leaving his house and four beers thereafter at a friend’s house. The Trooper then asked if Ringer was saying that he had consumed eight beers. Ringer responded “yes, but spread out.” Trooper Kenney asked Ringer to exit his vehicle. He did so, but stumbled such that Trooper Kenney had to physically steady him. ‘They moved to the front of the vehicle to conduct roadside tests. Trooper Kenney asked if Ringer had any impairments. He stated, “no, I'm a Navy corpsman.” Trooper Kenney asked if Ringer had any difficulty with his eyesight. Ringer responded that he wore eyeglasses everyday. ‘Trooper Kenney then administered the field sobriety tests. The first test was the horizontal gaze nystagmus test in which Ringer was asked to keep his head still but focus his eyes on Trooper Kenney’s finger as he moved it back and forth, Ringer stated that he lunderstood the instructions, but he failed to follow them, He continually moved his head as he followed the movement of Trooper Kenney’s finger. The second test was the one leg stand in which Ringer was asked to stand on one foot and count for approximately thirty seconds, He stated that he understood the instructions, but in three tries was unable to keep his balance on one foot. The third test was the nine step walk and turn in which Ringer was asked to take nine steps heel to toe counting as he did so, turn around and come back in the same fashion. He again stated that he understood the instructions, but did not walk in a heel to toe fashion and staggered as he walked. In the fourth test Ringer was asked to recite the alphabet. In doing so he stated, “A, BLE, F, G, M,N, 0, Q, R, §,T, U, V X, 2” in slurred fashion, Finally he was asked to count backwards from twenty-on to twelve, He responded “21, 20, 19, 13, 12.” After the roadside sobriety tests were complete, Trooper Kenney was of the opinion that Ringer was impaired. He placed Ringer under arrest and administered Miranda wamnings by reading them from a card. When asked if he understood his rights, Ringer responded that he did, He was then transported to the police station. During booking, when asked what time it was, Ringer stated 9:37 p.m. even tough it was actually [:1] a.m. He also made a different statement about the number of beers he had consumed, He stated that he had five at home, four at one {friend's house and another four at a second friend’s house, When asked if he had thirteen beers, Ringer stated “probably.” CONCLUSIONS OF LAW Ringer argues that he was subjected to custodial interrogation without the benefit of Miranda warnings and that his statements should therefore be suppressed. I disagree. Miranda ‘warnings are only necessary when one is subject to “custodial interrogation.” Commonwealth v. Jung, 420 Mass. 675, 688 (1995). The test is not what Trooper Kenney was thinking when he pulled Ringer over and began the administration of roadside sobriety tests. Rather, the test is whether a reasonable person in the defendant’s position would experience the environment as coercive. Commonwealth v. Larkin, 429 Mass. 426, 432 (1999). It is well established that persons temporarily detained during a routine traffic stop are not in custody for purposes of Miranda. Commonwealth v. Ayre, 31 Mass. App. Ct. 17, 20 (1991), citing Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420, 440 (1984) . Here the stop and administration of the roadside tests took place in public view and were relatively brief. There was nothing coercive about the exchange between Ringer and Trooper Kenney. The fact that Ringer was not free to leave during the performance of the field sobriety tests did not render the encounter custodial. Commonwealth v. MeNelley, 28 Mass. App.'Ct. 985, 986 (1990). Accordingly, I conélude Ringer was not in custody during the stop and administration of the roadside sobriety tests and any statements he ‘made during that period are admissible. Further, I find beyond a reasonable doubt that Ringer’s statements were the product of his rational intellect and free will. Commonwealth v. Davis, 403 Mass. 575, 581 (1988). Although there was compelling evidence that he was under the influence of intoxicating liquor, that does not render his statements involuntary. Commonwealth v. Anderson, 445 Mass. 195, 205 (1988). He stated that he understood the instructions and made an effort to comply with them as given. He simply failed. There was nothing about the location of the questioning, the nature of the «questions or the manner in which they were asked to suggest that his will was overbome, There ‘were no improper promises or inducements. He was not deceived or misled. This is a case in which Ringer’s drinking “has caused [him] to make remarks which he might, after sober reflection, regret, but which nonetheless are admissible at trial on the issue of guilt.” Commonwealth v. Doyle, 12 Mass. App. Ct. 786, 796 (1981). ORDER For all of these reasons the defendant’s Motion to Suppress statements is DENIED. DATED: June 24, 2015 y Kinder Associate Justice