Well I got a bit of a twofer yesterday. I was back in District Court because the docket was too crowded the last time, and this time the Clerk left time for a trial. The Court Clerks in Harford County are as good as it gets. The State offered the usual plead to everything and we will defer. I explained to the prosecutor, with whom I have had trial over the years, that I could not do worse at trial. She smiled and agreed, so a little after 11 we began and finished after 3 (there was a lunch break). The Deputy was the asshole who towed my client’s car when MVA erroneously listed him as suspended, even though he had the interlock in the car. It was cleared up while the Deputy was arranging the tow, but he refused to speak to me or the MVA Interlock Rep who was on my client’s speaker phone. I had to call the Harford County Sheriff himself (who was then only person working after 3:00 PM), and he not only released the car, but paid the towing bill. Whether he charged it back against Deputy’s salary is unknown. The Sheriff is a stand up guy, and he was pissed at this exercise of arrogance and bullying. Two days after that, yesterday’s client comes in. I see the Deputy’s name, tell her the story, and suggest he needs a good beating (in court), as a payback. Well I won because he screwed up, and it was sweet. In fact, the breath tech operator was smiling, laughing and nodding in agreement with me about the screw up as the prosecutor tried to defend the indefensible. I asked the judge to consider the actions of the tech who was still on the witness stand, and that was pretty funny as well.
My client was stopped for speeding and had a joint behind her ear. Those charges were conceded. She blew a .10. When the Deputy got on the stand, he was clearly nervous. He has probably not testified much and I am sure he remembered that I was the asshole who called his boss and got him lectured. (The Sheriff did tell me he was going to address this issue with him). Once I finished cross-examination, the fields were better than what he wrote. He did not lie, he just was not very clear in his report or in his direct. I asked the judge to find no PC for the DUI arrest, but he did. The Public Defender watching the trial thought I had it there. The Deputy completely screwed up the 20 minute observation period, and contradicted the observation time on the breath test strip. Sgt. Lane, the breath tech, was 100% honest and agreed the observation period was not met. The prosecutor wanted the judge to ignore the testimony of the Deputy and believe the Hearsay on the breath test strip that came from the very same Deputy. No judge would do that. In the end NG of all 3 DUI charges. The Deputy was back for the verdict, but gone before I remind him about the tow job. He won’t screw up with towing or breath testing again, but I am glad I got to give him his in-service training. A bully needs a beat down every now and then and hopefully learns from it.