from the District Court of Ramsey County, Northeast Judicial
District, the Honorable Donovan J. Foughty, Judge.
R. Vetsch, Devils Lake, ND, for petitioner and appellee.
Douglas B. Anderson, Office of Attorney General, Bismarck,
ND, for respondent and appellant.
The Department of Transportation appeals from a district
court judgment reversing a Department decision suspending
Juan Facio's driving privileges for 365 days. We affirm,
concluding the district court did not err in finding
reasonable and articulable suspicion did not support the stop
of Facio's vehicle.
In April 2018 a Ramsey County deputy sheriff stopped a
vehicle driven by Facio and subsequently arrested him for
driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor. In May
2018 a hearing officer held an administrative hearing on the
Department's proposed suspension of his driving
privileges. The hearing officer subsequently suspended
Facio's driving privileges for 365 days.
In its decision, the hearing officer made factual findings
about the deputy's stop of Facio's vehicle:
"Ramsey County Sheriffs Deputy Christon Dallas was
dispatched from Devils Lake to Starkweather at around 11:40
p.m. on April 27, 2018, in response to an anonymous caller
reporting individuals on top of the school, running around.
There was a white Chevy pickup by the school. The
pickup's grill was described and a license plate given.
While Dallas was on his way, dispatch ran the plate and it
came back to Mr. Facio. Dallas traveled the approximate 21
miles north on Highway 20 to reach Starkweather, arriving at
around midnight. After he turned east in the direction of the
school he met a pickup fitting the given description coming
from the direction of the school. It had a Minnesota license
plate as reported. There was no other traffic in Starkweather
at the time. As the pickup pulled up to the intersection with
Highway 20, Dallas turned around on the pickup intending to
stop it to follow up on the report. After the pickup made a
proper turn to go southbound on Highway 20, at about 12:05
a.m. on April 28th, Dallas initiated a traffic stop and the
pickup pulled over and stopped appropriately."
The hearing officer found the deputy had a reasonable and
articulable suspicion to stop Facio's vehicle after
receiving the anonymous tip. The hearing officer concluded
the anonymous tip was sufficiently corroborated by the
deputy's observations, namely the vehicle's
description and license plate, the pickup's location, and
the pickup's direction as coming from the area of the
school. Facio requested review of the hearing officer's
decision in the district court.
The district court reversed the hearing officer's
decision, concluding reasonable and articulable suspicion did
not exist for the deputy to stop the vehicle solely based on
the anonymous tip. The Department timely appeals.
This Court's review of the Department's decision to
suspend a person's driving privileges is governed by the
Administrative Agencies Practice Act, N.D.C.C. ch. 28-32.
Jangula v. N.D. Dep 't of Tramp., 2016 ND 116,
¶ 5, 881 N.W.2d 639. This Court reviews the decision
under N.D.C.C. § 28-32-49 in the same manner as the
district court under N.D.C.C. § 28-32-46.
Jangula, at ¶ 5. Under N.D.C.C. §
28-32-46(2), this Court will reverse the decision if it
"is in violation of the constitutional rights of the
"In deciding whether an agency's findings of fact
are supported by a preponderance of the evidence, [this
Court's] review is confined to the record before the
agency and to determining whether a reasoning mind reasonably
could have determined the factual conclusions were proven by
the weight of the evidence." Jangula, 2016 ND
116, ¶ 6, 881 N.W.2d 639 (quoting Painte v. Dir.,
Dep't of Tramp.,2013 ND 95, ¶ 7, 832 N.W.2d
319). This Court does not make independent ...