We previously reported on a Highway Trooper in Utah who was under investigation for reporting a failed field sobriety test in a DUI arrest, despite video footage showing that no such test was conducted. Now, two cases have come out of Louisville, Kentucky where police officers have been caught providing false testimony in DUI cases. How can you tell if the police officer in your DUI case files a false report, of is lying under oath?
First came Officer Liliana Hernandez. She worked as a breath test analysis operator with Louisville Metro Corrections. DUI defense lawyer Paul Gold was reviewing some camera footage related to a DUI arrest of one of his clients, when he saw something troubling. He wrote a letter to the director of the corrections facility, Mark Bolton, to voice his concerns.
The letter identified some apparent violations in police procedure. Hernandez did not appear to be giving suspects the correct implied consent warnings before conducting a chemical breath test. The officer also failed to observe the suspects for the full 20-minute period before conducting a breath test, as was required. In some cases, she left the room during the 20 minute period. The letter asked Bolton to investigate Hernandez.
Hernandez was suspended from breath test analysis, pending an investigation. However, during that time when she appeared as a witness in a DUI case, she said under oath that was currently a breath test operator. The defense lawyer questioned her on this, until she admitted that she had lied. The lawyer later asked about why the video evidence was inconsistent with her written report, she again admitted to lying.
Bolton said he was disgusted by the courtroom testimony, and she has since been terminated after an investigation revealed that she had lied under oath. Now hundreds of DUI cases where Hernandez conducted a breath test may have to be dropped by the prosecutor.
If Louisville Metro wasn't in enough trouble, another officer in their department provided false testimony during a drunk driving case. In a ruling by a District Court judge, Officer Jeff Eberenz gave false testimony that the judge found extremely troublesome. The judge determined the traffic stop was improper, and the case was thrown out.
In a case that started with alleged speeding, and escalated to a DUI charge, Eberenz testified that he checked the calibration of his radar gun daily at the beginning of his shift. However, records showed it had not been certified in the last almost three years. Eberenz also said the driver did not use their turn signal, but the video evidence did not support that claim either. The judge wrote, “It is almost without question that Officer Eberenz knew his statements were false.”
At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people charged with a DUI in the East Bay. With over 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how a DUI conviction can affect your future, and how to fight to keep a conviction off your record. If you are facing a DUI, contact the local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.