Police Lie: Driver Not Impaired
not impaired! not guilty
Summary: L. H. was driving from Anchorage to Palmer on the Glenn Highway. She had picked up a hitchhiker in Anchorage, and was giving him a ride to Palmer. L. H. was stopped on the Glenn Highway, south of Palmer for speeding 73 in a 55 mph zone. The trooper noted signs of intoxication and administered field "sobriety" tests. In the trooper's opinion, L. H. did quite poorly on the field sobriety tests. A preliminary breath test was administered with a result of .145. L. h. was arrested and taken to a trooper station where an Intoximeter 3000 breath test was administered with a .138 result.
state of alaska vs. L. h., district court palmer, Alaska
hiring a very experienced dui defense attorneys pays off
In preparing the case for trial, Attorney Fred Slone discovered that the breath test machine had been altered by the troopers turning down the circuitry that was designed to detect interfering substances on the breath which might be read as alcohol. Their explanation was that circuitry was not working properly, and their modification did nothing to affect the accuracy and reliability of the machine.
state police trooper testify suspect intoxicated
A pretrial motion was filed to suppress the results of the breath test. The trial court ultimately denied this motion, setting the case on for trial.
At trial, two troopers who were at the scene testified that L. h. was clearly intoxicated, and the breath test result was admitted into evidence.
defense calls hitchhiker passenger to testify
Attorney Fred Slone was able to locate the passenger who was with L. h. at the time she was stopped. L. h. had not seen this man since her arrest. The passenger was called by the defense to testify at trial. He testified that he was picked up by L. h. while hitchhiking just outside of Anchorage. Although L. h. was only traveling as far as Fort Richardson, she agreed to give him a ride all the way to Palmer. In stark contrast to the officers' testimony, this witness testified that L. h. did not smell strongly of alcohol, did not have slurred speech, and appeared perfectly normal. Although he had been riding with her for approximately 30 miles, the witness testified that he saw nothing unusual about her driving, and noted no signs of intoxication.
police video tape impeaches police witness
Additionally, a video tape of L. h. at the trooper station was played for the jury. In contrast to the arresting officers' testimony, the video tape did not indicate that L. h. was clearly intoxicated, and the field "sobriety" tests that were performed on the video tape at the station were done quite well.
jury returns not guilty verdict
Despite the .138 breath test result, and the troopers' testimony that L. h. was intoxicated, the jury found L. H. "NOT GUILTY" of drunk driving, and L. h. was completely exonerated.