Tuesday, April 3, 2012

March 23, 2012: Jury Completely Exonerates Former State senator Randy Hopper of Drunk Driving Charge; Local Paper States Dennis Melowski "Dominated the Trial"

Successfully defending a drunk driving charge against an ordinary, publicly anonymous citizen is hard enough. Defending the same charge against a former public official who is largely reviled in his own community is exponentially more difficult. Not only do the allegations themselves have to be challenged, the public perception and desire for vengeance must be overcome as well. In short, the successful defense of recalled state senator Randy Hopper was no easy task. Surely, the public at large expected the jury to convict. The media had already obtained a conviction in the court of public opinion with their biased reporting in the several months preceding the trial.

But Dennis Melowski was undaunted. He truly believed in his client and was highly motivated to restore his unfairly tarnished reputation. Although there were three citizen witnesses against Mr. Hopper, on top of police testimony and video evidence, Dennis knew something wasn't right with the prosecution's case. Too many things just didn't add up. Through extensive investigation of the witnesses against Mr. Hopper, many issues were exposed that called their credibility into question, including the arresting officer's.These issues were raised throughout the trial in Dennis' relentless cross-examinations of the prosecution witnesses. The local newspaper even took note of Dennis' effectiveness, indicating he "dominated the trial" on day one ( http://m.fdlreporter.com/news/article?a=2012303240081&f=677&ref=search). By the conclusion of the trial on the second day, Dennis had thoroughly dismantled the prosecution's case from top to bottom. The buzz in the courthouse was that Mr. Hopper would be acquitted based on the fantastic job Dennis had done. After a relatively short deliberation, the jury returned their verdict of not guilty on the drunk driving charge. The jury even returned a verdict of not guilty on the charge of Operating Left of Center, showing their utter rejection of every charge brought against Mr. Hopper. He was completely exonerated (http://m.fdlreporter.com/news/article?a=2012203250444&f=677&ref=search).

Mr. Hopper's vindication received substantial media coverage, including being the lead story on the TMJ4 (Milwaukee) evening news, which included an interview at Dennis' home the evening of the verdict (http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/144057786.html). The acquittal was also reported nationally on msnbc.com and numerous newspapers and websites across the country.

Personal Comment by Dennis Melowski: I don't make a habit of providing personal commentary on our clients' victories in court, but I feel the need to do so here, given the many unique circumstances of Randy's case and the attention it has received. Over the last 6 months I have gotten to know Randy well, to the point that I would now consider him a friend as well as a client. Although we differ politically, I never doubted his innocence---not for a minute. What Randy has had to go through over the course of the last year ---the vile attacks on his reputation, the threats on his life, the threats against his children---are things that no one should ever have to experience. He is a good and decent person. He deserved this vindication and I am thankful for the role I played in providing it.