State v. P.I.

Not Guilty

State v. P.I.

Harris #13

9/10/19

Attorney: Mark Thiessen

.215 BREATH TEST!! For 19 months and 13 days we fought for this client’s freedom. And I have known this client for 20 years so it was a very emotional trial. While I don’t want a friend to go anywhere else because I know no one will care for them better, it’s hard having their freedom and future in your hands. Client is a local restaurant and bar owner. One morning at 3am after closing one of his bars he was pulled over doing 85mph on I10. He pulled over safely and timely. The officer stated that he smelled alcohol, because client admitted to consuming 5 drinks over his 15 hour shift, with the last drink being with his team as they closed up for the night. The client was cooperative, polite and coherent the entire time. He looked normal on his field sobriety tests. We knew the number was off due to calibration records and our expert was ready to testify as such. However, she did not have to because the officer violated the 15 minute observation period prior to administering the breath test. The technical supervisor admitted this was a violation of the Texas Administrative code that requires strict compliance. As such, the result and slip were properly suppressed by Judge Rodriguez according to TCCP 38.23: Texas’ Exclusionary Rule. At this point we thought he ADA would honor his gentleman’s agreement that he made prior to trial to dismiss the case if the breath test was suppressed. Prior to trial he admitted that he did not have much of a case without the breath test. Keep in mind for weeks I had heard this ADA was excited about our trial and an opportunity to try a case against me. I even told him I heard that prior to our agreement. He promised he was only out for justice and not trial experience and would do the right thing. Well when push came to shove, he reneged on our deal and refused to dismiss. My intern even heard the Pre-Trial discussion. The Judge and entire court heard my tirade against the ADA for his lack of character. After an hour lunch he said I could complain to his boss. I told him, I didn’t need his boss doing the right thing, it was his character that I will never trust again and told him to get back in the court and finish closing this case. Thankfully the jury held the State to their burden and returned a swift two word verdict. They agreed the State failed to exclude any and all reasonable doubt, as outlined in their jury charge, and they had tons of doubt. They also agreed the client appeared normal on the standard field sobriety tests after hearing how meticulous the tests were. It was a sigh of relief to return the client to his daughter without being labeled a criminal. Thank you to the Jury for remaining true to your doubts and holding the State to their burden. Thank you to the Judge for running a fair and just trial. And thanks to God for bringing all these pieces together at the right times. Justice is never served by risking a person’s freedom and good name by trying a weak case just so a DA can get trial experience. His name and reputation is forever tarnished in my book.