Tough Times Call For Tough Representation

Photo of Gary S. Bernstein

Well to is actually now 5 in a row, but I’ll begin with the 3 in The District Court in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.  The next Blog will be yesterday’s cases.

The first involved a client who was exhausted and missed his exit so he slowed down to 16 miles an hour on the Beltway looking to pull off.  He then resumed a normal speed.  No odor of alcohol.  No evidence of drugs.  You can be under the influence of a lack of sleep and that may be Reckless, Negligent, or even Automobile Manslaughter, but it is not any version of DUI.

The State wanted the judge to supply that which it could not prove.  “Judge he must have been under the influence of something.”  The Judge who was a former Baltimore County prosecutor suggested it was the State’s burden to produce evidence, and he couldn’t fish around for a guilty explanation in the absence of evidence so Not Guilty.

The next case involved one of Baltimore County’s best DUI officers.  He is also the nicest, kindest, most honest person you will ever meet. He told me after the case that when he saw I represented the defendant he knew it was going to be a hard Guilty.  Now he had probable cause to stop and just enough to arrest my client, but probable cause is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

At the end of the case, I said to her that my research failed to verify that Groucho said it, but I remember him saying (when Margret Dumont caught him with another woman and he immediately denied anything was going on),” Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?  (I left out the circumstances surrounding the quote). The judge who has been a practicing criminal lawyer for almost 20 years, said my client’s performance on the SFSTs was probably the best she had ever seen. I said the officer was 100% honest, but she interprets the performance on the SFSTs.  She agreed and found him Not Guilty.

Next to Baltimore City where my client is stopped by a member of the MDTA. They are all first rate officers.  I tell the judge I used this quote in Baltimore County last week and repeat what Groucho said.  My client’s SFSTs are the best this judge has ever seen.  He suppressed the arrest and found her Not Guilty.

Now a word about the judge and how good our judiciary is.  There was a second issue in the case.  The officer induced my client into taking the breath test with improper advice.  I explained to the judge before we started what the issue was and what the breath test result was. When he granted the Motion that the arrest was without probable cause, we never reached that issue.  However he did that knowing my client was guilty.  THIS IS WHAT JUDGES DO EVERYDAY IN THIS STATE.  This is what they are supposed to do. Almost every major criminal law ruling by the Supreme Court has come in a case where the defendant committed the most heinous crime. They look at the law not the criminal act.  I have been doing this a long time, but I always feel a sense of pride in being a lawyer and being in that courtroom when a situation like this arises and the judge does what he or she has taken an oath to do.

Now I have to admit I was feeling myself being on such a streak, but I let that last the ride back to the office after celebrating with a chocolate covered honey dip and a coffee from 7-11. I had 2 potential jury trials for DUIs the following week and these cases were now irrelevant.