September 25, 2015
November 20, 2015 [*].
from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
(CTF-9340-13). (Hon. A. Franklin Burgess, Jr., Trial Judge).
A. Scrofano was on the brief for appellant.
Racine, Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Todd
Kim, Solicitor General, Rosalyn Calbert Groce, Deputy
Solicitor General, and John J. Woykovsky, Assistant Attorney
General, were on the brief for appellee.
WASHINGTON, Chief Judge, THOMPSON, Associate Judge, and
NEWMAN, Senior Judge.
case was submitted to the court on the transcript of record,
the briefs filed, and without presentation of oral argument.
On consideration whereof, and for the reasons set forth in
the opinion filed this date, it is now hereby
and ADJUDGED that the judgment on appeal is affirmed.
Associate Judge :
bench trial, appellant Anthony Bell was convicted of driving
under the influence (" DUI" ), in violation of D.C.
Code § 50-2206.11 (2012 Repl.). He argues on appeal that
(i) the evidence was insufficient to support a conviction
because it did not establish that he was in physical control
of his vehicle, and (ii) the trial court applied a statutory
presumption that unconstitutionally relieved the District of
Columbia (the " District" ) of its burden of proof
as to whether he was " under the influence." We
disagree and therefore affirm the judgment of conviction.
Police Department Officer Calvin Branch testified that, in
the early hours of May 26, 2013, he was on patrol in the 2700
block of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, S.E., watching
patrons disperse from a club that was closing for the
evening. Officer Branch testified that as the parking lot
emptied, he noticed a car " sitting in the parking lot
with a subject behind the wheel and the motor
running[.]" As the officer approached the vehicle, he
could see a man (later identified as appellant) sleeping in
the driver's seat with his chin resting on his chest.
Officer Branch knocked on the window several times in an
attempt to wake appellant, with no success. Suspecting that
appellant was intoxicated, Officer Branch radioed for
assistance, and Officer Roderick Saunders responded.
Officer Saunders arrived, one of the officers opened the
unlocked driver's door and shook appellant, who then
" started to come around." Officer Branch testified
that appellant's voice was " slurred," he
smelled of alcohol, and, upon exiting the vehicle, he
stumbled and " could not quite get his balance at
first." The officers had to " grab a hold of him so
that he would not fall on the ground[.]" When the
officers let go of ...