2016: A Year of Big Wins at Thiessen Law Firm
Between social strife, an extremely divisive election and a seemingly endless string of celebrity deaths, 2016 hasn’t been most people’s favorite year.
But for my clients, and myself, 2016 has been an incredible year full of big wins and growth at Thiessen Law Firm. Between adding Family Law to our services and winning our biggest criminal case ever, we are starting 2017 on a high note. Here are just a few of these cases where the law prevailed, the jury made the right call and justice was served.
We’re all about getting creative in the courtroom, but we took that concept to new heights in Texas v. S.S. Our client was rushing home from Dallas after a long weekend with family, and got pulled over doing 93 MPH when the speed limit was 65. The police officer was playing guessing games with the field sobriety tests and wound up arresting our client on suspicion of DWI based on 100% junk evidence. The cops obtained a warrant for a blood draw, and the results came back at .13 BAC. But the show wasn’t over yet folks!
The rookie analyst who worked with the blood sample left it unrefrigerated for the upwards of 12 hours, and couldn’t even remember the expiration date when questioned on the stand. To demonstrate just how unacceptable this was, we brought in a carton of expired milk that had been sitting at room temperature for 12 hours to see if the analyst could swallow a taste of their own medicine. They could dish it out, but they couldn’t take it and the jury wasn’t swallowing the state’s evidence. They handed down a not guilty verdict, and helped to protect our client’s immigration status in the process!
Soak It All In
How can you have a .21 BAC with absolutely no alcohol odor on your breath? You pretty much can’t. But that didn’t stop the now disgraced “doctor” Fessessework Guale from trying to convince the jury otherwise in Texas v. S.V. Her big theory? That our client used vodka soaked tampons to get drunk by inserting them vaginally. We went back and forth about how alcohol goes into the blood stream, which surrounds the lungs, and would then be detectable in the breath. The jury agreed that her theory was ridiculous and handed down a not guilty verdict in no time.
Our Biggest Win Ever
Every case we fight is important to us, but Texas v. Z.M. will always be near and dear to our hearts. Our client was a faithful, hardworking taxi driver from Eritrea, Ethiopia. He had just finished volunteering at a church event, where he had had a beer and a few sips of some Eritrean homebrew called Sewa. On his way home at 10 p.m., our client got into a horrible car accident that left four passengers dead.
Following the accident, our client stayed at the scene, called the police and remained cooperative the entire time, even agreeing to take field sobriety tests. While both parties claimed to have had a green light, an eyewitness backed up our client’s story, but fled the scene before his statement could be officially taken. The police never even investigated the traffic light to determine who truly had the right of way!
That’s not even the worst of it. Even though our client agreed to take a sobriety test immediately, the police continued to twiddle their thumbs, waiting 45 minutes to even perform the field sobriety test! It took them another HOUR to even bother administering the blood test, and then they waited until 1:45 a.m.to have him take a breath test! The results came back as .14 and .1 BAC respectively, but as a lawyer-scientist, I knew that these results couldn’t possibly tell the full story.
Based on Texas’ “Time of Driving” rules, the prosecution must prove the driver was actually intoxicated at the time of the accident. That’s where things stopped adding up. Based on the way alcohol works in the body, it is extremely common for the effects of alcohol to have a certain amount of delay in entering the blood stream. Had the sobriety tests been performed immediately after the accident, their results MIGHT have been easier to swallow. But with an hour and 45 minutes in between the accident and the breath test, the results failed to prove intoxication at the time of the accident. A witness for the prosecution tried to use junk science claiming that our client had as many as nine drinks within 30 minutes before the accident!
Just one problem. Our client never once needed to use the bathroom during the entire span of a four-hour investigation! Can you explain how someone who had nine drinks would not need to use the restroom in four hours? The prosecution couldn’t either, and the jury agreed that the evidence just didn’t add up. With enough reasonable doubt in place, the jury did the right thing and came back with a “not guilty” verdict. We are thankful to the jury for their thoughtfulness, and send our sincerest condolences to all of those affected by this horrible accident.