When Judges Protect Their Own

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on February 2nd, 2009

I’ve posted stories over the past week about what happens to cops, prosecutors and judges when they’re arrested for drunk driving — or, more accurately, what doesn’t happen.  Following is yet another example of the prevalent DUI double standard:

Plenty of Blame to Go Around in Tarrant Judge’s DWI Case

Dallas, TX.  Jan. 29 – Tarrant County Judge Elizabeth Berry was stopped for speeding last year in Alvarado, south of Fort Worth. She refused to take a field sobriety test, a breath test or a blood test, so a municipal judge signed a search warrant authorizing a blood test against her wishes.

Last week, after a three-hour hearing, Judge Robert Dohoney ruled that the results of the blood test can’t be used against Berry because the arresting officer’s supporting affidavit was too vague.

Too vague?

It said Berry was driving 92 miles an hour, appeared confused and unusually quiet, had eight beer bottles on the floorboard of her SUV and the smell of alcohol on her breath…

No comment necessary.

(Thanks to Ken Sharp)

  • ruReadyMyFriend

    They would have used that affidavit and evidence to throw the book at any other regular citizen! This Judge probably didn’t even get the speeding ticket. I’m trying to fight a DUI right now and keep getting told nobody wins, since I failed the breath test I’m toast, just take the deal. Taking the deal in the past has come back to bite me in a very bad way. Guilty pleas never go away and just give the prosecutor more ammo! Fighting a DUI seems to be impossible! Finding a forensic expert to testify about mouth alcohol, the breathalyzer or any other possible DUI defense I can come up with has proved to be losing battle. I can’t find anybody willing to take the stand for the defense in a DUI case in Boise, Idaho and this regular citizen can’t afford the $10,000 to fly someone in so the prosecution can cross-examine the expert.

  • Justin

    If you are going to take a case in Boise Idaho — you need to consider what the facts are… since this state is (dare I say) Mormon.

    If you blew above a .08 you are guilty. I rarely… RARELY.. ever see a victory come due to that in jury trials. People are just sheep. Ask for a judge to rule. The law is .08 + or – .02 on the 2-4 blows you blow and averaging the blows. So if you got anywhere from a .06-.099 you could very well not be legally drunk (This again all depends on the judge). There are cases (backed by MADD) of studies done at .05 showing that you are impaired. That is not the law it is only a study done by a biased group.

    If you did not blow the judge will ask you be considered guilty the jury does not have too though.. and you actually have a better chance (if you did not blow and ask for a judge you are probably going to be found guilty). If the cop is a real dick (like Officer Handcuf (yes this isn’t his real name he changed it)) and people on the jury know who he is they will have a strong point of view against or for him (he’s Boise’s super DUI cop).

    A lot of people do not like the police in Boise due to dealings with them and a lot of people would have a hung jury due to just who the cop is.

    If you blew something below a .08 and they are prosecuting you have a good chance but don’t ask for a jury ask for a judge to rule. The case law is that a .08 or below in court is not a DUI conviction.

    If you were arrested due to just “swerving” or something inane and fictitious you may lose to a jury (so get a judge) then ask for an appeal. Appeals cost a lot. If you aren’t ready to shell out a lot of money you are not going to win in this state.

    What people are recommending which is to just take the guilty please and move is very common. DUI’s usually don’t get taken off your record – and you may or may not get to expunge it still as expunge laws have become far more restricted.

    I know you can get an expert named Bailey for around 100-300 dollars. He is basically the only one in Boise and a very nice guy all the DUI lawyers know him. Expect to pay 1000-3000 dollars for an attorney to rep you in court though.

    What I’ve learned about Boise is to _never_ do the bar scene. If you did not notice on new years the 75 police lined up outside the bars just WAITING to arrest people for public intoxication you are blind.

    Also don’t drive during St. Patties Day weekend (at all) as police will be out in full force here and yes they received another grant.

    You cannot challenge the machine in this state either.

    DOT is unrelenting in this state as well you will get a 90 day ALS and a 90 day Conviction suspension. 1 year unsupervised parole, 10-15 days in jail (max) or 100-150 community service hours (1 day to 10 hours) minimum (Usually your pick on CSA or Jail).

    1000 dollar fine 500 suspended. 8-24 hours alcohol education class. Victims panel (ranging 30-50 dollars depending on where you go) you could get a breath-machine put in your vehicle depending on situation – this will cost you about 1000 dollars. You may get anger management classes depending. If you had a kid with you are REALLY screwed. I think that is a felony you’d have to talk to an attorney.

    So, expect to do SILD or CSA pretty soon. Expect to lose your license for a while (despite what DOT says regarding suspensions and losing your job is false) everyone I know who has a DUI lost their job if they weren’t self-employed or a contractor.

    Especially in this economy.

    If you do take the “deal” make sure you use your withheld judgement.

    DUI’s are getting harder and harder to get expunged due to inane legislation.

    Lesson is – don’t drink and then drive at all in this state especially not at 6 PM to 4 AM.

    And don’t drive on the suspended license cops will stake out your home during “peak” leaving hours to arrest you. Too many misdemeanors is a felony.