The latest news fresh from the front lines of MADD’s "War on Drunk Driving":
DUI Cases in Jeopardy After Richmond County Deputy Admits Falsifying Readings
Richmond County, GA. Nov. 19 – The forced resignation of a deputy assigned to the DUI task force could affect the prosecution of hundreds of cases, according to those in the legal community.
Erik Norman faced mandatory resignation from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 19 after a prosecutor reported that Norman told her he had falsified readings from a hand-held alcohol-testing device.
Norman told the department’s internal affairs division that he had done it only “once or twice” but couldn’t recall exactly which cases were involved. Norman’s credibility is gone now, no matter how many times he falsified readings, said Augusta attorney Robert “Bo” Hunter, who prosecuted drunken driving cases as the Richmond County State Court solicitor from 1988 to 1996… Even worse, Hunter said, is that there probably were people charged with driving under the influence who shouldn’t have been.
Norman, hired as a jailer in July 2002, was transferred to the DUI task force in March 2009. An accurate count of his DUI convictions cannot be made through court records, but during his time on the task force, he arrested an estimated 250 to 400 people.
State Court Solicitor Charles Evans said his office has 62 pending DUI cases in which Norman was the arresting officer. Each will have to be judged on its merits to determine whether to continue prosecuting them as DUIs. If necessary, the office will bring in Norman as a trial witness, Evans said.
The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council is investigating to determine whether Norman can keep his certification, said Ryan Powell, its director of operations. Unless he is arrested on felony charges or his certification is suspended, Norman is free to work as an officer, Powell said.
Falsifying evidence is a felony – making false statements – but prosecuting Norman for it would be difficult, District Attorney Ashley Wright said. A prosecutor would have to prove in which case Norman falsified the results, and there is no way to uncover those cases without Norman’s admission. He claimed he didn’t know which cases were falsified…
Do you really think this Georgia deputy is the only cop out there falsifying breathalyzer readings to justify his DUI arrest? And by the way, notice Deputy Norman’s sterling qualifications to investigate and arrest citizens for drunk driving: He was hired in 2002 to be a jailor — and after seven years of guarding jail cells, he was transferred directly to the DUI task force. Do you still think DUI cops are highly trained and qualified?