Archive for February 21st, 2008

The Thin Blue Line Exception

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Just the most recent example of the double standard applied when cops, prosecutors or judges are busted by honest officers for drunk driving:


Officer Found Not Guilty of OUI Charge

Northborough, MA.  Feb. 19  –  A judge has cleared a town police officer of drunken driving after throwing out his blood alcohol reading because it was taken at the hospital without his consent.

Earlier this month James Scesny, 38, of Clinton, was found not guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol and not responsible for a charge of marked lanes violation by Fitchburg District Court Judge Andrew Mandell.

The charges stemmed from a May 2007 accident in Clinton in which Scesny and his girlfriend were injured when the car he was driving struck a telephone pole.

The case was headed toward a jury trial, but at a Feb. 1 hearing Scesny's attorney, Michael Erlich, requested a bench trial. Two weeks earlier, a Clinton District Court judge allowed Erlich's motion to keep the blood alcohol test out of the trial.

Two blood samples taken by Clinton Hospital staff were tested by the Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab and both found a 0.168 blood alcohol level, according to a crime lab document in the court file.

Erlich argued that police took the samples without his client's permission, and that authorities did not follow proper chain of custody protocol before sending them samples to the crime lab.

Erlich said his client refused to be tested when asked by three Clinton Police officers at the hospital.

 


So the drunk driving case was thrown out because…there was no breath test?  Hmmm…so what do they do in roughly 25% of DUI arrests where the suspect refuses to take a breath test?  Just let him go?  Oh, right, they charge him with drunk driving anyway — and prosecute based on evidence such as witnesses, driving symptoms (weaving, accidents), personal symptoms (slurred speed, bloodshot eyes), field sobriety tests, incriminating statements and the arresting officer's opinion….Unless the guy's a cop.


(Thanks to Andre Campos)

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