Monday, May 21, 2018

Missouri prosecutor Dan Patterson is busy talking tough about drunk driving -- except when he's hiring a convicted drunk driver, like Nicholas Jain, to his staff

Dan Patterson
Greene County (MO) prosecuting attorney Dan Patterson hired a drunk driver for his staff, so you might expect that he would be squishy soft on issues related to DUIs. But based on Patterson's tough-guy Republican rhetoric, you would be wrong -- and we suspect his talking points become particularly rugged around election time.

So, it appears that Dan Patterson talks like Charles Bronson about drunk drivers, especially if it helps him get elected -- but then he hires a convicted drunk driver, Nicholas Jain, to be one of  his assistant prosecutors. I think, somewhere in the dictionary, that's called hypocrisy.

To make matters worse, Patterson assigns Jain to prosecute DUI cases, such as the recent one involving Charles Hollis Roux, of Springfield. Together, Patterson and Jain have a habit of bringing criminal charges without probable cause -- as they did in the Roux case and in the "assault of a law enforcement officer" case involving my wife, Carol.

Our previous articles in this series about the Roux case can be read here, here, and here. Documents related to the Roux case are embedded at the end of this post.

How gross is the hypocrisy in all of this? Jain has left his position in Greene County and is running for prosecuting attorney of Dunklin County, in southeast Missouri. Jain apparently is so arrogant that he thinks he can hide his DUI from voters -- or he thinks they simply do not care about his criminal record.

What is Patterson's rhetoric on drunk drivers -- when he isn't busy hiring a drunk driver for his staff? Let's look at some examples.

This is from a 2017 county press release, published last July at

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – (7/31/17) Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson announces that Joshua Xavier Oswald, 23, of Springfield, MO was sentenced last Friday by The Honorable Thomas Mountjoy to a five year prison sentence on each of four counts of Assault in the Second Degree relating to a drunk driving crash that occurred on December 5, 2015. Probation was denied by the Court.Oswald’s charges stemmed from a motor vehicle crash that took place at the intersection of South Campbell and West Sunset in Springfield, Missouri.

So, if you drive drunk and crash into somebody, Patterson will throw you in prison for five years. If you don't crash, he might offer you a job. Here is a 2016 Springfield News-Leader article (by columnist Steve Pokin) where Patterson gripes that a drunk driver was placed on five years' probation for a crash that caused a fatality. Nicholas Jain, a member of Patterson's own staff, received two years' probation:

On Feb. 19, [Circuit Judge David] Jones sentenced [Dylan] Meyer to five years' probation. He could have sent Meyer to prison for 5 to 15 years. The prosecutor has asked for 10. Meyer had been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The sentence was a "slap on the wrist," says Dan Patterson, Greene County prosecuting attorney.

Meyer, a 2012 graduate of Kickapoo High School, took the life of Kelly Williams in the early morning of Feb. 10, 2015. He slammed his pickup into her car at Campbell Avenue and Battlefield Road. He was driving 95 mph, according to police, when he ran a stoplight.

His blood alcohol level was .266 percent, three times the legal limit — a level where many can no longer walk.

The sentence was a "slap on the wrist"? What is it when Patterson offers a convicted drunk driver a job? A kiss on the butt? From a 2011 county press release. (Notice that Patterson touts the convictions he gets in DUI cases. I haven't received a press release about the hiring of a convicted drunk driver to his staff.):

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Dan Patterson, Greene County Prosecuting Attorney announced that Jeremy William Arata, 23, of Springfield, Missouri, was convicted today by a Greene County Jury of the class B felony of involuntary manslaughter in the first degree. The jury found that Arata was intoxicated on November 15, 2007, when the vehicle he was driving struck a vehicle driven by Mr. Paul Fain. Arata’s vehicle was going at speeds near 60 miles an hour in a residential area when it collided with Mr. Fain who had just pulled out from a stop sign. Mr. Fain died as a result of the injuries he suffered in the collision. Arata’s blood alcohol level was measured at .146%. The jury deliberated for approximately three hours before returning its verdict.

The jury trial was presided over by The Honorable Calvin Holden. The defendant is subject to a sentence of a minimum 5 years to a maximum 15 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Finally, we have a 2014 press release about a plan to obtain blood samples from drunk drivers who refuse to take breath tests:

Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson announces that his office will assist local law enforcement agencies by seeking search warrants to obtain blood samples from drunk drivers that refuse to consent to a breath test after their arrest. This pilot project resulted from a collaboration of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Springfield Police Department and the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

To combat the often deadly problem of impaired driving, the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol and Springfield Police Department will kick off the “no refusal” policy with a joint DWI check point in November and will be out in force cracking down on impaired drivers. Following the kick-off event, the “no refusal” strategy will be applied to all DWI arrests by those agencies when a driver refuses consent.

It is called a “no refusal” policy because all impaired drivers arrested who refuse breath testing will be subject to blood testing for alcohol if a judge approves a warrant. The ability of law enforcement officers to submit their search warrant applications to judges electronically make this process both easy and relatively quick.

“Impaired driving remains a major public safety threat that still claims thousands of innocent lives on our roadways every year. A ‘no refusal’ policy represents one more tool in our battle against this public safety threat,” said Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson.

So, drunk drivers are a public safety threat, except when they apply for a job at the Greene County Prosecutor's Office -- and then, Patterson is likely to hire them.

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