Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Attorneys Dee Wampler and Scott Pierson shred credibility of arresting officer in DUI case brought by Missouri's drunk-driving prosecutor, Nicholas Jain

Dee Wampler
Missouri's drunk-driving prosecutor, the one with a DUI in his own background, pushed for conviction in a case that involved an 88-second traffic stop in Greene County, court documents show.

Nicholas Jain argued, apparently with a straight face, that a stop of 88 seconds was sufficient to determine Charles Hollis Roux was impaired -- even though the arresting officer did not observe Roux driving erratically and administered no field-sobriety tests.

You might think a prosecutor who is a drunk driver himself might be understanding of those who are charged with the same offense. But not Nicholas Jain; he is Mr. Tough Guy, even when the trial-court judge has granted the defense's Motion to Suppress and found was no probable cause for arrest.

Perhaps this should be no surprise since Jain and his boss, Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson, brought an "assault of a law enforcement officer" charge against my wife, Carol, and it clearly lacks probable cause. Jain and Patterson seem to make a habit of bringing charges where there is no probable cause for arrest, much less prosecution.

What does this say about Patterson's judgment? Well, he either knowingly hired Jain and his DUI conviction, or he failed to check into Jain's background for a very obvious criminal record, in a case that involved two years on probation.

Did the arresting officer in the Roux case, Deputy Flora, conduct his 88-second query in a highly professional manner? Not exactly, according to a document styled Cases in Support of Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence, filed by Roux's attorneys, Dee Wampler and Scott S. Pierson. (Documents related to the case are embedded at the end of this post.) From the "Cases in Support" motion:

Deputy Flora took roughly eighty-eight seconds to place Mr. Roux under arrest. During that time, Deputy Flora made contact with Mr. Roux, who admitted to drinking two beers earlier that night. Deputy Flora did not escort the Defendant back his patrol car, as he testified in the motion hearing. Instead Deputy Flora requested that Mr. Roux follow him back to his patrol car. Before Mr. Roux had fully exited his vehicle, Deputy Flora was pulling the PBT (Portable Breath Test) machine from the back seat of his car. Once at the patrol car, Deputy Flora requested that Mr. Roux provide a breath sample. 
In administering the PBT, Deputy Flora never checked Mr. Roux's mouth or inquired if he had anything to drink within the last fifteen minutes.

This paints a picture of a deputy who is not terribly competent. But more importantly (as shown in the highlighted section above), it's a deputy who made a false statement under oath.

Scott B. Pierson
Why did trial judge Margaret Palmietto grant the Motion to Suppress and find the arrest was made without probable cause? Probably because she heard the following testimony that is outlined in the motion from Roux's attorneys:

Most concerning are the facts that Deputy Flora knows nothing as to the workings of the portable breath test machine. He testified he was unaware of when his personal PBT machine had been last calibrated. He further admitted it had been months before use in this case that his personal PBT machine had last been calibrated. He testified that he had used this PBT machine since he had switched over to a general department practice of no standardized field sobriety tests. He admits he was unsure how long that period of time had been and how many times the machine had been used before this case. He did not know how the machine worked, but did know that it will at times indicate the presence of alcohol other than ethanol alcohol. He further admitted the the PBT is only a tool for showing the presence of alcohol and is not to be used to determine a level or degree of impairment.

The defense attorneys apparently shredded the officer's credibility and helped reveal the poor training and supervision that is present in the Greene County Sheriff's Office. Here's more from the "Case in Support" motion:

Mr. Flora also testified that there were multiple indicators that Mr. Roux was not impaired. There were no indications of slurred speech or for that matter any issues with speech. No issues with walking, balance or evidence of swaying. The Defendant properly pulled over, and there were no driving issues.

Missouri taxpayers have paid for an arrest that never should have been made and a trial that never should have been conducted. That's all because of Nicholas Jain, the drunk-driving prosecutor with a DUI of his own -- and boss (Dan Patterson) who was clueless enough, or negligent enough, to hire him.

(To be continued)

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