Jury Trial in Inglewood
I just finished ajury trial in a DUI case in Inglewood after six days of testimony and deliberations. The brief facts were that my client was stopped for lane straddling, an allegation that he disputed. He admitted to consuming three "Adios Motherfuckers" from 9:30pm to 11:30pm. The traffic stop was just before 1am. He admitted to feeling the effects of the alcohol "to some degree". He consented to field sobriety testing, but declined the preliminary alcohol screening test. He initially consented to a blood test but refused to cooperate at the hospital. The arresting officer claimed that he was argumentative.
The arresting officer was evasive during cross examination and came across as arrogant. I was able to elicit a number of points from him which were consistent with my client being sober and not impaired to drive. I relied strongly on the prosecutors burden of proof in my closing argument.
The jury was deadlocked after one and a half days of deliberation. Nine jurors voted not guilty and three jurors voted guilty. This resulted in a mistrial. I made a motion to dismiss in the interests of justice which the prosecutor objected to vigorously. I expected the judge to grant my motion given the fact that nine out of twelve jurors voted not guilty. To my surprise and irritation, the judge felt that there was sufficient evidence to justify allowing the prosecution to try the case again.
I have discussed this with a number of people today including another prosecutor. Everyone expressed surprise that the judge had not dismissed the case. I firmly believe that my client is a victim of politics in that judges are so afraid now to do anything that the District Attorneys Office disagrees with and are terrified of dismissing a DUI for fear of criticism from Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
In the meantime, my client has to make a decision whether he wants to spend the money and time on trial again or whether to take a"wet reckless" begrudgingly offered by the prosecutor.
What would you do?