Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Supreme Court has thrown out evidence used to convict a Rock Valley man of drunk driving.
Leon Kooima had been at a charity golf event in Okoboji and was driving home with five other men when they decided to stop at the Doon Steakhouse.
When Kooima and the other men decided to leave, another customer at the establishment called police. The caller told the dispatcher that the men were “big money Rock Valley merchants” and said he knew they were drunk. Rock Valley police were alerted by the dispatcher and two officers followed Kooima’s vehicle as it came into town. The officers did not spot any violations, but pulled over the Suburban based on the tip from the caller. Kooima tested over the legal limit for alcohol and was charged with second offense O-W-I.
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the stop of Kooima was unconstitutional. The court said the person who called police simply said he knew the men in the vehicle were drunk, and even after being asked by the dispatcher, did not say he had actually seen any evidence that Kooima was driving while drunk. There were also no traffic violations witnessed by officers prior to the stop. The ruling said the justices do not condone drunk driving, but have to uphold the U-S Constitution regarding illegal search and seizures. The court ruled all evidence from the traffic stop cannot be used in the case.