Court upholds man's OUI stop by park ranger outside the Charlestown Navy Yard

In a ruling rendered temporarily moot by the semi-government shutdown, a federal appeals court yesterday said a National Park Service ranger did nothing wrong by arresting a man for drunk driving even though the arrest took place off federal land.

The man, Kevin Ryan, was found guilty of "unsafe operation" but not OUI after a federal judge ruled the ranger lacked the authority to arrest him outside the boundaries of the yard, which is under federal jurisidiction. But the judge also ruled that "the arrest was not an unreasonable seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment."

The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, agreed, because the ranger had observed Ryan apparently driving while impaired on the grounds of the Navy Yard - he had driven over the center line on a yard road:

Because Ryan's arrest was supported by probable cause, it did not violate his Fourth Amendment privacy interests, and the district court was not required to exclude the evidence obtained following the arrest.

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    Important to know the park boundaries

    This guy probably never realized he was on Federal land; the boundaries of the National Park are not obvious. There's a prominent fence and gate there, and most people will assume that the area outside that fence is outside the park. But no, part of Fifth Street, and the adjoining part of First Avenue, are owned by the Feds. Meaning that failure to stop for that stop sign, or, as in this case, driving over the yellow center line, will turn a minor traffic infraction into a Federal case, quite literally.

    The mention of "evidence obtained following the arrest" makes me think that this guy got in more trouble for something the rangers found in his car after he got arrested.