12/01/05 — Ex-trooper pleads 'no contest' to DWI charge

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Ex-trooper pleads 'no contest' to DWI charge

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on December 1, 2005 1:50 PM

A former supervisor of the Wayne County district of the Highway Patrol pleaded no contest Monday to a charge of driving while impaired in Wayne County Superior Court.

But J. Douglas Booth contends that his arrest a year ago was unconstitutional and plans to appeal.

Booth had already been convicted of DWI in District Court and appealed that decision to Superior Court.

Booth, 59, was stopped Dec. 11, 2004, by an off-duty Goldsboro police officer as he arrived at his home on Trappers Run Drive in the Falling Brook subdivision, which is about a mile beyond the Goldsboro city limits.

Booth's lawyer, Geoff Hulse, said Booth was detained in violation of his constitutional rights and that is driver's license also was taken illegally.

The off-duty officer, Dave Cloutier, detained Booth until a Wayne County sheriff's deputy, Chuck Arnold, arrived to conduct at the scene.

During a hearing Monday, Hulse asked Superior Court Judge Jerry Braswell to suppress the evidence of the arrest, based on constitutional grounds. Braswell denied the motion.

Following Braswell's ruling, Booth chose to enter the no contest plea. Braswell sentenced him to 60 days in jail but suspended the sentence on condition that Booth complete a year of unsupervised probation, pay a $100 fine and $232.50 in court costs.

Hulse said he would file an appeal on the denial of his motion with the state Court of Appeals. Braswell stayed the conviction pending the results of the appeal.

Booth registered .17 percent blood-alcohol content at his arrest. The legal limit is .08.

Booth served as the district's first sergeant from 1995 until he retired in 1997 after almost 30 years with the Highway Patrol. He ran unsuccessfully for Wayne County sheriff in 1998.