Man accused of drunken driving can sue Michigan police officer who misread a breath test

Oct 26, 2023, 2:15 PM

A man from Japan wrongly accused of drunken driving can sue a Michigan police officer who grossly misread a breath test and conceded during the stop that she had “no idea” what she was doing, a federal appeals court said Thursday.

The man blew a 0.02 on the breath test, but it was mistakenly read by the Fowlerville officer as 0.22 — nearly three times over the state’s blood-alcohol limit for driving.

A blood draw subsequently revealed a blood-alcohol level of 0.01. Charges of driving while intoxicated were dropped days later in 2020 when the lab results came in.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the man’s lawsuit, alleging a violation of constitutional rights, can proceed against Officer Caitlyn Peca.

The man, a 37-year-old native of Yonago, Japan, was in the U.S. on a work visa.

“It would be evident to a reasonable officer that (the man) was, quite apparently, sober,” Judge Jane Stranch said in a 3-0 opinion. “So a reasonable jury could conclude that (the) arrest was not supported by probable cause and that Officer Peca was not entitled to qualified immunity.”

T. Joseph Seward, an attorney representing Peca, said he was disappointed by the decision and believes the man’s performance on roadside sobriety tests was enough to arrest him.

The appeals court, however, said that another officer at the scene testified that the tests were administered incorrectly, which may have affected the results.

The court noted that Peca, who was a rookie officer, at one point told a colleague over the radio, “I have no idea what I’m doing.”

Seward said Peca now works elsewhere for a sheriff’s department. The lawsuit will return to federal court in Detroit for trial or a possible settlement.


Follow Ed White at http://twitter.com/edwritez

United States News

Associated Press

Montana miner backs off expansion plans, lays off 100 due to lower palladium prices

The owner of two precious metals mines in south-central Montana is stopping work on an expansion project and laying off about 100 workers because the price of palladium fell sharply in the past year, mine representatives said Thursday. Sibanye-Stillwater announced the layoffs Wednesday at the only platinum and palladium mines in the United States, near […]

1 hour ago

Facebook's Meta logo sign is seen at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on, Oct. 28, 2...

Associated Press

Meta shuts down thousands of fake Facebook accounts that were primed to polarize voters ahead of 2024

Meta said it removed 4789 Facebook accounts in China that targeted the United States before next year’s election.

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Federal judge blocks Montana’s first-in-the-nation ban on TikTok, says it’s unconstitutional

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge ruled Thursday that Montana can’t enforce a first-in-the-nation law banning the video sharing app TikTok in the state while a legal challenge to the law moves through the courts. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said the ban “oversteps state power and infringes on the Constitutional right of users […]

1 hour ago


KTAR Video

Video: How MCSO extradited Lori Vallow Daybell to Phoenix

KTAR News reporter Colton Krolak breaks down Sheriff Paul Penzone’s presser regarding how Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office extradited ‘Doomsday Mom’ Lori Vallow Daybell to Phoenix.

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Indiana man suspected in teen girl’s disappearance charged with murder after remains found

ARLINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A 59-year-old man suspected in the June disappearance of a 17-year-old neighbor has been charged with murder after human remains were found buried in a pit on his central Indiana property. Patrick Scott of Arlington appeared Thursday in Rush County Circuit Court for an initial hearing. Scott also is charged with […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Publishing industry heavy-hitters sue Iowa over state’s new school book-banning law

The nation’s largest publisher and several bestselling authors, including novelists John Green and Jodi Picoult, are part of a lawsuit filed Thursday challenging Iowa’s new law that bans public school libraries and classrooms from having practically any book that depicts sexual activity. The lawsuit is the second in the past week to challenge the law, […]

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(KTAR News Graphic)...

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.


Desert Institute for Spine Care

Desert Institute for Spine Care (DISC) wants to help Valley residents address back, neck issues through awake spine surgery

As the weather begins to change, those with back issues can no longer rely on the dry heat to aid their backs. That's where DISC comes in.



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.

Man accused of drunken driving can sue Michigan police officer who misread a breath test