We submit that virtually every reader of our blog at the Little Rock criminal defense law firm of Robertson, Oswalt, Nony & Associates will respond with indignation upon hearing the details of the following story.
And strongly empathize with the victim, as well.
That person is a New York resident who, while driving through a Pennsylvania town back in mid-2014, was stopped by a police officer for less-than-clear reasons.
And then handcuffed and arrested for allegedly driving drunk, despite testing negative on a breathalyzer and performing roadside sobriety tests satisfactorily.
Police officers searched the driver’s car after placing him into custody. Nothing illegal turned up.
Notwithstanding those developments, the motorist was administered a blood test. He spent the next 11 days behind bars pending its result.
Readers can guess the outcome: no trace of drugs, which a “drug recognition expert” at the police station had suggested might be present in the suspect’s system. Surprisingly, the cops demanded a second sample, which yielded the same result.
Arguably, it was certainly logical at that point to free the man from custody.
That didn’t happen, though. In fact, he spent a stunning 158 days locked up, despite — as noted in one media account of his story — “repeatedly testing free from drugs or alcohol.”
The Pennsylvania State Police paid — both figuratively and literally — for that liberty deprivation and clear violation of the motorist’s constitutional rights. He was ultimately awarded $150,000 in damages, approximately three years following his fateful roadside encounter.
Such things should never happen, of course.
And yet they do, underscoring why proven criminal defense attorneys take a methodical and aggressive approach when examining the state’s case against a client and preparing a strategy to optimally promote that individual’s legal rights and interests.