Tuesday, September 30, 2014
As a professional subject to licensing in another state, our client, TRW, had a lot riding on the outcome of this case. A drunk driving conviction would have ruined her professional reputation and haunted her for years to come. TRW's case was complicated by the fact that she refused to submit to the breath test following her arrest, leading to a separate charge that actually carries worse penalties than the drunk driving charge itself. These "Refusal Charges" as they are known, can often be very difficult to defend, since there are only a very limited number of issues that can be raised to defend such a charge. But persistence and shrewd negotiating by Attorney Liz Majerus ultimately saved the day. On the afternoon of TRW's court trial, Attorney Majerus was able to negotiate a fantastic resolution. The OWI charge was reduced to the non-alcohol-related offense of Reckless Driving and the Refusal Charge was completely dismissed. Aside from paying a fine, TRW suffered no consequences from her arrest. She never lost her license for a single day and, because she avoided the awful stigma of a drunk driving conviction, her well-deserved professional reputation is fully intact. She could not have been more pleased with this outcome.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
September 4, 2014: Client Found NOT GUILTY of All Charges in OWI-1st Case (with .11 Blood Test Result)
This was a major victory for our client, CH. As a former police officer looking to get back into law enforcement, a complete exoneration in court was her only option. The prosecutor was dead set against giving CH any breaks, not only because he did not want to be perceived as giving a former cop preferential treatment, but also because he did not want to "kowtow" (his word) to Dennis Melowski. It also didn't help matters that CH was the ex-wife of the police chief, who was hellbent on making sure CH was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The trial was very contentious from the start and it was clear that the prosecution was willing to do whatever was necessary to secure a guilty verdict. But by the close of the prosecution's case to the jury, Dennis Melowski had done so much damage to the police witnesses that there was practically no case against his client left. By the time Dennis was done cross-examining the arresting officer, his credibility had been so badly damaged that, at Dennis' request, the judge took the highly unusual step of striking ALL of the officer's testimony. The judge instructed the jury to disregard everything the officer testified to and to treat the case as if the officer never took the witness stand. Without the officer's testimony, Dennis knew the prosecutor could not prove his case. Dennis asked the judge to direct verdicts of NOT GUILTY in favor of his client, a request the judge immediately granted. All charges against CH were dismissed on the spot and she was completely cleared of both the OWI and PAC charges. It was the best outcome she could have hoped for and she broke down with tears of joy. As we have said more than once, there is no substitute for superior lawyering. It's a lesson we love to teach to overzealous prosecutors. And dishonest cops.