Appeal from the District Court of the Second Judicial District, State of Idaho, Latah County. Hon. John R. Stegner, District Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gutierrez, Judge
2012 Unpublished Opinion No. 691
) THIS IS AN UNPUBLISHED ) OPINION AND SHALL NOT ) BE CITED AS AUTHORITY
Memorandum opinion of the district court vacating administrative hearing officer's order upholding suspension of driver's license, reversed.
The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) appeals from the district court's memorandum opinion vacating the order of the ITD hearing officer upholding the suspension of James Darrin Broadfoot's driver's license due to failure of an evidentiary test for alcohol concentration. For the reasons set forth below, we reverse the district court's order.
On an early morning in October 2010, at approximately 2:17 a.m., Latah County Sheriff's Deputy Anthony Dahlinger stopped Broadfoot upon suspicion Broadfoot was driving under the influence of alcohol. After Broadfoot failed several field sobriety tests, he was arrested and transported to jail. Upon arriving at the jail, Deputy Dahlinger escorted Broadfoot to a small room set up to conduct a breath alcohol test. During the requisite fifteen-minute monitoring period before administration of the breath alcohol test, which is designed to ensure the absence of mouth alcohol that could affect the accuracy of the test, Deputy Dahlinger advised Broadfoot of his rights pursuant to Idaho law. Deputy Dahlinger then turned toward the breath test machine and, for approximately three minutes prior to administration of the test, focused on preparing the machine. Broadfoot's two breath samples tested .166 and .149, well above the legal limit. The entire monitoring and testing sequence was captured on video via a camera attached to Deputy Dahlinger's person.
Broadfoot's driver's license was suspended pursuant to Idaho Code § 18-8002A(4). He requested a hearing before an ITD hearing officer pursuant to section 18-8002A(7), contending Deputy Dahlinger had not properly observed him for fifteen minutes prior to administration of the breath alcohol content (BrAC) test. Broadfoot also testified he "belched silently" approximately ten seconds prior to providing the first breath sample. Taking into account the evidence presented at the hearing, including the DVD recording of the incident, the hearing officer issued an order, including findings of fact and conclusions of law, concluding there was substantial evidence that the proper procedures had been followed and upholding the administrative suspension of Broadfoot's driver's license.
Broadfoot filed a timely petition for judicial review, and following a hearing on the issue, the district court issued a memorandum opinion holding the hearing officer's order upholding Broadfoot's license suspension was not supported by substantial evidence. The district court vacated the hearing officer's decision and remanded the case. The ITD now appeals.
The ITD contends the district court erred in vacating the hearing officer's conclusion that Broadfoot failed to meet his burden pursuant to section 18-8002A(7), to show that a sufficient monitoring period was not observed prior to the administration of the BrAC test. Specifically, the ITD contends the hearing officer's conclusion was supported by substantial evidence in the record. The Idaho Administrative Code (IDAPA) governs the review of ITD decisions to deny, cancel, suspend, disqualify, revoke, or restrict a person's driver's license. See I.C. §§ 49-201, 49-330, 67-5201(2), 67-5270. In an appeal from the decision of the district court acting in its appellate capacity under IDAPA, this Court reviews the agency record independently of the district court's decision. Howard v. Canyon Cnty. Bd. of Comm'rs, 128 Idaho 479, 480, 915 P.2d 709, 710 (1996); Marshall v. Dep't of Transp., 137 Idaho 337, 340, 48 P.3d 666, 669 (Ct. App. 2002). This Court does not substitute its judgment for that of the agency as to the weight of the evidence presented. I.C. § 67-5279(1). Instead, we defer to the agency's findings of fact unless they are clearly erroneous. Castaneda v. Brighton Corp., 130 Idaho 923, 926, 950 P.2d 1262, 1265 (1998); Marshall, 137 Idaho at 340, 48 P.3d at 669. In other words, the agency's factual ...