LAFAYETTE — A state district judge ruled Wednesday that there was no basis for the Jan. 18, 2010, traffic stop that ultimately led a state trooper to arrest state Rep. Bobby Badon on a first-offense DWI.
The decision means any evidence collected as a result of that stop cannot be used against Badon, D-Carencro, Judge Herman Clause ruled Wednesday.
The trooper stopped Badon for improper lane usage after Badon took a wide left turn and crossed over the fog line about 11:30 p.m. at the intersection of La. 746 and La. 182 near Carencro.
Following the stop, Badon was taken to Troop I headquarters, where he submitted a breath sample, which showed his blood alcohol content was 0.125, police have said.
Badon’s attorney, Barry J. Sallinger, argued in court Wednesday that video of the stop and the trooper’s own observations clearly demonstrate that his client did not commit the improper lane usage violation.
Sallinger said his client followed the law and did “exactly what he was supposed to do.” He cited La. R.S:101 A(2), which provides that a vehicle will enter the intersection to the right of the center line and leave the intersection to the right of the center line. He said Badon did just that.
Clause said he had reviewed the video and the officer’s report and agreed with Sallinger’s argument. The only thing Badon did wrong, Clause said, was that he turned too widely.
Sallinger cited other court cases that involved examples of improper lane usage, cases that involved making an illegal U-turn across double yellow lines; and crossing a fog line multiple times; straddling the center line of the roadway.
“The manner he did so was ultra-safe,” Clause said, adding that there were no other violations before the stop.
The judge’s ruling essentially means “it’s over,” said prosecutor Greg Williams. “The case right now is dead.”
Afterward, Badon released the following statement through Sallinger:
“I am very pleased with the outcome and am relieved to put this ordeal behind me. Even though I was ultimately vindicated, I have learned a tough lesson from this experience. I won’t forget it. As a member of the Legislature, I believe that I should set a standard for appropriate conduct in the community. I have worked hard to set a higher standard since the incident and will continue to do so.”
While Williams was unable to get a DWI conviction, he said the incident provided a potential positive, in that Badon, who may have been impaired at the time, was removed from the streets on the night of the offense.
He said he hoped it also meant that Badon would think twice before getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking.
In a statement issued after his arrest, Badon admitted that he exercised poor judgment and “drove my vehicle after consuming alcohol.” He said he would neither seek nor expect any favorable treatment as a result of his arrest.
Badon had been cited once before for a DWI in 1995. Because the charge was more than 10 years old, it could not be considered an enhanceable offense at the time of his arrest.
Badon was elected in 2007 to represent Lafayette, St. Landry and St. Martin parishes.