Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summary 2011 WY 110

Summary of Decision July 14, 2011

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Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court

Case Name: State v. Juarez

Citation: 2011 WY 110

Docket Number: S-10-0260


Original Proceeding Petition for Writ of Review from the District Court of Carbon County, Honorable Wade E. Waldrip, Judge

Representing Appellant (Petitioner): Bruce A. Salzburg, Wyoming Attorney General; Terry L. Armitage, Deputy Attorney General; D. Michael Pauling, Senior Assistant Attorney General; and Justin A. Daraie, Assistant Attorney General.

Representing Appellee (Respondent): Robert T. Moxley of Robert T. Moxley,, Cheyenne, WY.

Date of Decision: July 14, 2011

Facts: The State of Wyoming challenges the district court’s order granting Appellee’s motion to suppress for an illegal traffic stop. The State contends that the district court erred in ruling that Juarez was not required to signal his merge from an entrance ramp onto an interstate highway.

Issues: Whether the district court erred in holding that Wyo. Stat. 31-5-217 is ambiguous and does not require motorists to signal when merging onto an interstate roadway; a ruling which led the court to find a traffic stop was illegal and to suppress the evidence subsequently discovered.

Holdings: There is no reason to believe the Wyoming Legislature necessarily intended the use of a turn signal when entering the interstate from a designated on-ramp. As with most traffic-related statutes, Wyo. Stat. 31-5-217 is intended to promote safety and there is no basis to conclude that a motorist is absolutely required to signal to enter the interstate in every instance. The intended course of such vehicles is known and obvious to other motorists; such drivers have no other choice but to enter the interstate. Their course does not require a lane change or a turn, or even necessarily right to left “movement.”

There was no error in the district court’s order granting Appellee’s motion to suppress for an illegal traffic stop.


J. Hill delivered the opinion for the court.

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