The DWI trial just ended in a guilty verdict, and it didn't take long. I feel like I'm the only one shocked.
Basic facts: It all starts at a convenience store in Boyd around 1:00 a.m. My client buys a coke and cigarette and, as she leaves, the clerk turns to three cops standing around and says, "Did you smell alcohol?". (The clerk will testify that it was just an observation and "never thought she would end up being arrested." She said it was the perfume that got her attention with an underlying scent of alcohol.) A Boyd cop follows her for about a half of a mile and stops her for speeding (36 in a 20.) There were multiple turns with no traffic violations along the way.
The toughest part for me (post verdict) are the field sobriety tests. She did fantastic. Although the officer detected some clues and thought he had probable cause for an arrest, the prosecutor would have to concede that the jury could not convict based solely on the tape. It was that good. The State's expert in breath testing, amazingly, said she performed "very well."
At the Sheriff's office, she agreed to provide a sample of her breath and the results of the two tests were .203 and .202. (The legal limit is. 08). That makes no sense to me. I've seen hundreds of videos of field sobriety tests, and compared them to the breath test results. She should have been hammered on the video. Note: This is a DWI-First with no criminal history whatsoever for a middle-aged woman.
I pointed out through testimony every known flaw the breath test machine has and the case boiled down to this: Do you believe your eyes or do you believe the machine? (Here's my stream of consciousness closing argument notes that I typed out.) The jury believed the machine. Quickly. They didn't even deliberate 30 minutes.
I'm always a pessimist down deep while I wait for a jury's verdict. But somehow I fully expected a "not guilty" verdict on this one. Maybe I was the only one. But if there was ever a chance to beat a high breath test, this was the case. Great video. Good jury (five men/one woman). Presentable and well spoken client. And technical malfunctions in the courtroom throughout the trial that I couldn't have scripted when asserting a "don't trust technology" defense.
And now I'll second guess myself.
Edit: Hey, don't bag on the jury. They paid attention, and they ultimately get to set their own standard of "reasonable doubt." Jury trials are always the ultimate crapshoot.
Edit: And I won't post personal criticisms of my client. Couch it in terms of general observations and I'll let it go. I am, as always, fair game.