Injustice Mahogany Knowledge Tree Mental Health

Lawyers Always Say To Refuse Field Sobriety Tests,

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Many years ago I was on a jury assigned to a DUI case. The defendant was an immigrant house painter with very limited English and a good distrust of the police. He was driving home from work in his van filled with open paint cans and other chemicals used by painters. He was pulled over for driving too slow (!). When told to have a breathalyzer test he refused and insisted in his broken English, “take my blood.” Apparently, he kept insisting even after he arrived at the police station where he was taken. He was never given a blood test and was incarcerated. Why they took the case to trial is a mystery. There was a lot of testimony about whether or not driving in a closed van filled with painting supplies might make you dizzy, but the main thing that we, as a jury, considered was the fact that he insisted on a blood test and was never given one. It didn’t take us long to vote not guilty.

As an aside, the case was assigned to both a prosecutor and public defender who seemed like they had just graduated from law school. The defendant’s lawyer was disheveled and disorganized while the prosecutor took to three piece suits and poses and gestures that made us think he binge watched Perry Mason. We, as a jury, had a hard time ignoring the lawyers and looking at just the testimony.

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