Patrick J. Silva - Attorney at Law
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Arrested for DUI? Find Out What Everyone Should Know Before Talking to the Judge, Hiring an Attorney, Pleading Guilty or Going to Trial.
Celebrity Chef Michael Chiarello Arrested for DUI and Drug Possession
How would a top level dui attorney beat Chiarello's charges?
First, a top level team of experts needs to be assembled. We need to start with a laboratory audit. My expert is Janine Arvizu from New Mexico. I was brought in on a 5 year old dui murder case. My roll was to be the trial attorney in charge of the blood challenge. For 5 years the DA had said she felt if she did 100 jury trials on this case she would win 100 times. By the time we were done with the lab audit she was not so confident, this allowed us to negotiate a huge reduction of charges.
Next, I would bring on my expert from Mississippi, M.D. Jimmy Valentine. Dr. Valentine has the credentials to back up his opinion and the down to earth people skills that allows him to explain in plain English WHY the blood or breath results are not scientifically reliable.
I would also bring on the team a field sobriety test expert. My expert is Deb Erickson, she is a retired CHP officer with over 4000 dui arrest in her career. She can explain how the officer failed in his administration of the field sobriety test.
Utah state trooper accused of making bogus DUI arrests
Published February 22, 2013 | Associated Press During her 10 years as a Utah state trooper, Lisa Steed built a reputation as an officer with a knack for nabbing drunken motorists in a state with a long tradition of teetotaling and some of the nation's strictest liquor laws. Steed used the uncanny talent -- as one supervisor once described it -- to garner hundreds of arrests, setting records, earning praise as a rising star and becoming the first woman to become trooper of the year.
Today, however, Steed is out of work, fired from the Utah Highway Patrol, and she -- and her former superiors -- are facing a lawsuit in which some of those she arrested allege she filed bogus DUI reports. "If we don't stand up to Lisa Steed or law enforcement, they just pull people over for whatever reason they want," said attorney Michael Studebaker. Steed declined to comment, but her attorney Greg Skordas said she denies the allegations. She is trying to get her job back. The people snared by Steed say the arrests disrupted their lives and were costly to resolve. Michael Choate, a now-retired aircraft logistics specialist at Hill Air Force Base, said he nearly lost his security clearance and job. Steed stopped him because he was wearing a Halloween costume and booked him even though three breathalyzers tests showed no alcohol in his system. Choate said he spent $3,800 and had to take four days off of work to get his DUI charged dismissed.
The 49-page lawsuit includes two defendants, but Studebaker said dozens of others are lined up and willing to tell their stories. He said they are requesting the lawsuit be broadened into a class action lawsuit. Every one of her DUI stops back to at least 2006 should be under suspicion, he said, adding that could be as many as 1,500 people. The lawsuit, filed in December, also accuses the Utah Highway Patrol of ignoring Steed's patterns of higher-than-normal DUI bookings and waited too long to take her off patrol. The agency declined to comment. Steed joined the agency in 2002, and during her first five years, she earned a reputation as a hard-worker whose efficiency led to high arrest totals. By the time she ascended to trooper of the year in 2007, she was held up as one of the agency's top stars. In 2009, Steed became a member of the DUI squad.
Her 400 DUI arrests that year were thought to be a state record, and more than double the number made by any other highway trooper. She earned special recognition at the state Capitol. "With her training and experience, it's second nature for her to find these people who are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol," her DUI squad boss at the time, Lt. Steve Winward, told the Deseret News. During a ride-along with the newspaper, Steed said it was simply a "numbers game," noting that one in every 10 drivers stopped for a violation is driving impaired. "It's a lot of hard work, but you make a ton of stops, and you're going to run into them," she said. Steed's career, however, turned. In 2012, while on the stand in a DUI court case, Steed acknowledged purposely leaving her microphone in her patrol car so that superiors wouldn't know she was violating agency policy. By April 2012, her credibility had come into question so much that a prosecutor said he would no longer prosecute DUIs if Steed's testimony was the only evidence.
In October, the Salt Lake Tribune obtained a memo written in May 2010 in which Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Rob Nixon flagged Steed's "pattern" of questionable DUI arrests. He wrote that the bulk of Steed's arrestees had no signs of "impairing drugs" in their systems. The memo said she based most of her arrests on signs of impairment such as dilated pupils and leg and body tremors. Steed was taken off road patrol in April 2012 and fired in November. She was accused of violating department policies, falsifying police reports and using questionable practices when making DUI arrests.
The lawsuit is based on two defendants: Thomas Romero and Julie Tapia. Romero was stopped after Steed said he was swerving, according to the lawsuit. After Romero said he wasn't drinking, Steed gave him a roadside sobriety test anyway. She booked him for DUI even though his blood alcohol content was 0.00. Charges were dismissed. Tapia went to pick up her ex-husband, who had been drinking. Steed approached Tapia as she got out of her car at her house, saying Tapia had been speeding, the lawsuit said. Steed said she could smell alcohol, and Tapia told her it was coming from her ex-husband. Tapia was arrested for a DUI; her ex-husband for public intoxication. Tapia's blood test showed no alcohol. Charges were dropped. Choate, who hopes to join the lawsuit, said the entire agency should be held responsible for the damage Steed caused to him and others. "They let her get away with it for a long time," he said.
~~(CNN) -- A former Massachusetts crime lab chemist accused of mishandling evidence affecting hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of criminal cases was sentenced Friday to three to five years in prison after pleading guilty to 27 counts. Annie Dookhan, 36, was arrested last year, accused of cutting corners by visually identifying alleged drug samples instead of performing chemical tests, and then altering the samples to cover up the practice. More than 300 drug convictions involving Dookhan's tests -- conducted from 2003 to 2012 -- have been set aside since last year in Suffolk County alone, Suffolk County District Attorney spokesman Jake Wark said. Dookhan also was accused of falsely claiming, while testifying as an expert witness at a criminal trial, that she had a master's degree in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts. A defendant's conviction was overturned because of this, and authorities allege he killed someone in May, after his release. Dookhan pleaded guilty Friday to tampering with evidence, perjury, obstruction of justice and falsely claiming to holding a master's degree. She said little during Friday's hearing in Boston, other than repeatedly saying, "Yes, your honor," to questions such as whether she understood the consequences of her guilty pleas. The judge also ordered that she serve two years of probation after serving the prison time. Governor: 40,000 defendants could be affected In August, Gov. Deval Patrick's administration said the cases of more than 40,000 defendants could be affected by Dookhan's tampering. Reviews of all the cases she handled are under way. Dookhan worked as a state chemist testing drug evidence submitted by law enforcement agencies from 2003 until March 2012, when she resigned, according to the Massachusetts attorney general's office. The attorney general's office began a criminal investigation in July 2012, after Massachusetts State Police were tipped off by Dookhan's co-workers, who alleged her work at the William A. Hinton State Laboratory in Jamaica Plain might be unreliable. The investigation revealed that Dookhan allegedly had tampered with evidence by altering substances in vials that were being tested at the state lab, allegedly to cover up the practice of routinely "dry labbing" samples. "Dry labbing" is a term used for visually identifying samples instead of performing the required chemical test. Authorities arrested Dookhan at her home in Franklin in September 2012. Second Massachusetts state chemist accused of tampering Authorities: Released man accused in killing Dookhan's false testimony about her credentials in a Plymouth County drug trial led to the release of a man who went on to be accused of murder, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz said. Donta Hood was convicted of a cocaine charge in 2009, in a trial in which Dookhan -- as an expert witness -- falsely testified that she had a master's degree, authorities said. Hood was released in November 2012. Cruz said he wasn't able to retry Evans on the drug charge because the evidence in the case was destroyed. Storage space had been at a premium, he said, and no one thought it would be needed again. After his release, Hood was arrested twice -- first, on a gun possession charge. While out on bail for the gun charge, he allegedly shot and killed Charles Evans in Brockton, Massachusetts, in May, authorities said. "There's no bigger pain than somebody being released that goes out and kills somebody," Cruz told CNN. Evans' family declined to comment. Chemist in Massachusetts drug sample case lied about degree Dookhan also declined CNN's request for comment about her case. At a court proceeding earlier this year, Dookhan's lawyer, Nicholas Gordon, said that she took shortcuts in the lab to get more cases done to help her career, never considering the negative consequences it could have for criminal cases. "The furthest thing from her mind is that this is going to ultimately cost millions of dollars, (And that) it's going to throw the entire Massachusetts criminal justice system into a tailspin," Gordon said in court. An investigation revealed that not only did Dookhan not have a master's degree, but she never took master's-level classes, prosecutors said. Some of the obstruction charges stem from instances in which authorities relied on tampered evidence in criminal proceedings, prosecutors said.
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