Gary S. Bernstein, P.A.

Call Toll-Free: 866-435-2795

Locally at: 410-415-9219

Posts Tagged ‘Harford County Criminal’

Harford County Not Guilty- Video Schtick

Client was acquitted today of all charges including the minor traffic charges. It was an interesting case as there was CCTV from the Sheriff's Office video-taping my client leaving a restaurant and walking to his car.  He meanders along is a zig zag pattern so they believe he is drunk and an officer goes out to catch him before he leaves the parking lot.  He is too late so he follows my client who drives exceptionally well with only a drift onto the turning lane when there was no other traffic on the road and the same to the shoulder.  Both of these occurred on curves.  The officer approximated his spped at about 50 in a 40.  He used radar but the prosecutor could not get that into evidence except for probable cause.  There was a battle over the radar, that was a complete waste of time because the case was about the DUI not the speed.  Some fights are not worth it.  The prosecutor is relatively new so I understood why she fought everything, but in the future she will move on.  He pulled into a parking lot where the right rear tire of his truck climbed the corner of the sidewalk.  It was a narrow entrance and snuck on him as the officer turned on his emergency light bar.

Now we had talked about the case because I expected to be trying a jury trial in Harford County starting yesterday but that case was postponed.  We agreed my client did well on the SFSTs and I thought his walking outside the car and standing during the tests rebutted any inference that his zig zagging was alcohol related.  The video did not show the extent of the swaying or slurred speech that the officer testified wrote in his report and testified to on direct. The State decided not to use the video.  The judge asked me if I was putting it in, but I said not yet.  

Because on direct examination- for the third time in recent acquittals- the State left out SFST evidence that was crucial, the judge dismissed the DUI and most of the minor charges, but held in the DWI based on what the officer described about the entire episode from CCTV to the SFST performance.  I called the police officer as MY witness.  I introduced the video and asked him ONLY about the parts where he said my client swayed or his speech was slurred.  He said the swaying was there but the judge didn't see it and the video is the best evidence.  I then had the audio played (it did not work during the SFSTs) when the client was in the police car as the in-car audio worked.  His speech was clear, intelligent, and there was NO slurring of any kind.  Now the State got to cross the officer.  She tried to go into the areas she missed on direct examination that I had pointed out on my Motion at the end of the State's case and the judge sustained my objections because I NEVER came near those areas and her questions were beyond the scope of what she was allowed to ask.  

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Cecil County Not Guilty

It is extremely rare when a judge takes a case away from a jury and acquits the defendant.  It happened last week in the Circuit Court for Cecil County.  This was a DUI involving a high breath test.  The client's career depended on the outcome.  He suffers from an extreme medical condition where whenever he eats, he regurgitates the food and has to chew it again and again. He was just coming from dinner when stopped for speeding.  The receipt from the restaurant showed one beer and all that he and his family had eaten.  He explained his GERD issue to the arresting officer, who told him it was not an issue.  Well, it is an issue!  We hired Ronald Henson, PhD. to testify that the breath machine would basically add the alcohol coming from his stomach into his esophagus to the alcohol from his deep lungs and give an unreliable and high reading.  The mouth alcohol detector, if working, would not differentiate because of the constant amount of alcohol interfering with the deep lung air.  

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Where is the Anne Arundel County Car Video

Hide the ball trick does not work.  Three years ago I wrote a Blog about a police officer who I caught lying in his FIRST CASE!  I have kept the video from that case on my IPad and the original tape and written report in a binder waiting to see if I would get a "return match" with this officer.  Well a few months ago a new client comes in and I recognize the officer's name, walk over to file boxes across from my desk, grab a blue binder sitting on top of them, and open it to the first stack of papers and tapes and it is the same guy.

There is no mention of a video in this client's paperwork but I KNOW there is one.  We get to court 2 weeks ago and when the officer arrives I ask him where is the video.  He tells me he and his supervisor looked for it, but the DVD in the car must have been full and the stop was not recorded.  I remind him who I was and he remembered his first case.  I don't believe him and move to dismiss the case and explain to the Judge, the prosecutor, and a courtroom of police, lawyers, and defendants that I have him on video and on paper committing perjury in 2014 and I don't believe for a moment that the video in this case does not exist.

After 2 recesses and the Judge ordering the prosecutor to personally speak to the supervisor, THERE IS A VIDEO!  However it is housed in a building that will require an hour to drive to and find.  The case is reset to today to give me my video.  Did anyone reading this get it?  I didn't either. Instead of the officer bringing it to court, a supervisor somewhere else emailed the State that he had it and would get me a copy next week.  The judge was too through with this bullshit, and gave the State 40 minutes to get it to court as she had ordered 2 weeks ago.  The new prosecutor on the case calls the supervisor who sent the email, but he is no where to be found, nor is the video.  

Without the video she is going to give me an inference that the video would be  favorable to my client.  Now the police report description of my client's field tests was not bad and incredibly vague (meaning he did really well).  At that point we agree to plead to 2 payable citations and pay $115.50 fines and costs.  The officer is probably happier than my client as he dodged a blood letting on cross-examination.  I blogged before to make sure you retain a lawyer who will watch the video.  Make sure you retain one who will DEMAND the video.

You Pay Peanuts You Get a Monkey

That is a phrase my former partner used years ago when he set a fee and the potential client said he or she knew a cheaper lawyer.  I started writing this a couple months ago but thought I would finish it today.  The particular case that generates this was an Ex Parte involving an allegation of Child Abuse.  The mother filed it in Somerset County as that is where it allegedly occurred.  The mother lives in Howard County.  The judge found no abuse and dismissed the Petition.  The statute allows ONLY for an appeal to be filed in the County where the original Petition was heard.  You cannot  file a valid new Petition elsewhere, only Somerset County has jurisdiction- it is in black and white in the statute.  The mother files a NEW Petition in the Circuit Court for Somerset County and it is heard and Dismissed by the trail judge as only an Appeal is allowed.  The mother then files an Appeal.  The Appeal will the be heard in Circuit Court, unless you have paid peanuts.

The mother now files a new Petition in Howard County. The mother also hires a lawyer in Howard County.   Instead of dismissing the improperly filed Howard County Petition (that is virtually verbatim of the Somerset County Petition) and taking his lazy ass to Somerset County to try the Appeal which is de novo ( meaning a new trial), he dismisses the Somerset County Appeal.   I emailed the lawyer the night before and explained the law to him and he emails back stating he did not need me to educate him.  Apparently he did.  I wanted to save my people from driving all the way from Somerset to Ellicott City. We show up and the judge dismisses the Howard County petition because she has no jurisdiction to hear it- jurisdiction is in Somerset County for the Appeal only that he dismissed! 

It gets worse, we walk out of courtroom and try to make arrangements for the return of the child, and the lawyer says he is filing a NEW PETITION based on newly discovered evidence.  Well we come back a week later and not only is there no newly discovered evidence, the evidence he claims he had was bizarre and unbelievable.  Before I could move for dismissal, he does.  All he had to do was go to Somerset County and he could have retried the Appeal with the original evidence and anything else he thought he might have.  My guess is he did not want to drive there.  He is one of the low fee advertising lawyers.  I took him to task years ago for not doing his own work and relying on the list serve to save his clients.  He even called me at home incredulous that I had given him a public spanking.  He deserved it then and deserves it now, but I will not use his name.  Just remember my former partner's admonition.   

 

DUI Dismissal in Baltimore County

Another Body cam video that added nothing for the State.  The client was charged with a DUI based upon an accident.  No one could testify if he was the driver or the passenger.  The Body Cam did not show anyone in the car after the accident.  The investigation did not reveal who was operating the vehicle at the time of the accident.  I refused a lesser offense of DWI because you can either prove it or you cannot.  The charges were dropped.

Once in the hallway waiting for the paperwork, another criminal defense lawyer came up to my client and his father.  The lawyer told the father and the client that I am the lawyer other lawyers hire when they get a DUI.  It was very nice of him to say that.  My client and his dad responded that another lawyer had referred them to me.  It is nice when one of your peers goes out of his way to compliment you. 

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  • Gary S. Bernstein, P.A.
  • 29 W. Susquehanna Avenue, Suite 700
  • Towson, Maryland 21204
  • Toll Free: 866-435-2795
  • Locally: 410-415-9219
  • Fax: 410-823-0610

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