This article is in response to Lance Richardson’s recent explanation which you can read at the bottom of this page.
You can easily find this Blood Alcohol Level information on the internet:
At .15 the person is obviously drunk. Staggering, weaving, irrational behavior begins at this level. The equivalent of a half pint of whiskey is circulating in the bloodstream.
At .25 – .50 The person is very drunk and may lose consciousness.
Mr. Gray admitted to the police to consuming three glasses of wine in forty five minutes. According to bloodalcoholcalculator.org/ that would have put him at .058 for his size. His preliminary test was in the “very drunk and could lose consciousness” level. Could he have been lying to the officers? Do you think, at a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .25, trained officers were uncertain of Gray’s sobriety?
Mr. Richardson states that most drunk driving cases typically have three main components. These include the manner of driving, field sobriety tests, and a breath or blood test. Richardson’s use of the word “most” is significant because he knows full well that you don’t need all three factors to get a conviction. A large number of drunk drivers in accidents have been convicted of DWI that were too stinking drunk to comprehend any field sobriety test. There are many more scenarios resulting in convictions without satisfying all three of his criteria.
But let’s deal with the first of Lance Richardson’s criteria, manner of driving. The negligent driving charge was not the result of Gray running the stop sign. As I understand, it was the result of Gray almost sideswiping the officer’s patrol car which initiated the officer’s pursuit. Mr. Richardson would have known this had he cared enough to interview the officer. The second violation was running the stop sign.
Richardson’s standard number two is field sobriety tests. Having a steel plate in your leg didn’t affect the following observations of the well trained officers (Did I mention that there were three of them on the scene?): “strong odor of alcohol, eyes blood shot, showed a nystagmus at 45 degrees, eyes lacked smooth pursuit, took thirteen steps instead of nine, stated that he had been drinking, blew a .25 which is over three times the legal limit.” Sorry Mr. Richardson, these observations “would have carried the day” and you know it.
Richardson’s third condition is the breath or blood test. At the State Police Barracks Mr. Gray was given three chances to give an adequate sample for the alcohol concentration test. He was informed that if he did not blow hard enough it would result in a refusal to blow. He failed. At no time during this process was it indicated that Gray had any respiratory problems. Perhaps at .25, which is considered “very drunk” and “in danger of losing consciousness” it was just too difficult to do.
Now after stating that “this case wasn’t even close”, Mr. Richardson makes the declaration that it was Mr. Gray’s first offense as if that matters. If Lance drops every first offense, then there’s never a second offense, is there? But Lance goes on to provide another defense for Mr. Gray because the road on which Gray was ultimately stopped “had never been dedicated to the Town of Centreville”. I refer you to the following:
Maryland Transportation Section § 21-101.1.
(a) The provisions of this title relating to the driving of vehicles refer only to the driving of vehicles on highways, except:
(1) As provided in subsection (b) of this section; and
(2) Where a different or additional place specifically is provided for.
(b) (1) A person may not drive a motor vehicle in violation of any provision of this title on any private property that is used by the public in general, or, in Calvert County, on any private road located within a residential subdivision or community.
(2) A person may not drive a motor vehicle in violation of any provision of this title on any property that is owned by or under the control of this State or any of its political subdivisions, county boards of education, or community colleges and that is open to vehicular traffic and used by the public in general.
(3) Any person who violates any provision of this subsection is in violation of the law to the same extent and is subject to the same penalty as if the motor vehicle were driven on a highway.
Brilliant defense, Mr. Richardson. Shouldn’t you know the law? I believe that you do but choose to forget it when you’re giving lame explanations to the public.
As to treating everyone fairly, not so fast Mr. Richardson. I did a little research and just last February a seventy year old man was stopped for speeding on Rt. 50. No erratic driving at all. He had bad knees, asthma and emphysema and when he tried to take the breath test, he medically could not. Two months later you introduced field sobriety tests and tried to convict him. Did I mention that he too was a first offender? He most certainly was not wealthy, unlike Cal Gray.
I will conclude with this. On December 17, 2012 you were asked under oath if you were involved in a nol pros involving Mr. Gray. Under oath you asserted, “No.” You were also asked if you authorized a stet docket for Mr. Gray to which you replied, “I don’t know if I authorized it.” But you knew that “the accused submitted to an alcohol evaluation”, that “he truly is a good man and a gentleman”, and that he “agreed to pay the negligent driving citation because he rolled the stop sign”.
In fact, you did sign Gray’s stet, you did speak with his attorney, and you did have full knowledge of the case as this recent explanation of yours bears out. If you felt that Mr. Gray was indeed innocent why didn’t you just drop the charges rather than put them on the stet docket where you could bring them back at any time? You took Mr. Gray’s gift and contribution. Do you really think that anyone believes there’s a chance you would ever bring those charges back?
Is your integrity in question? Yea, I’d say so and so have a lot of others!
Richardson’s response to last week’s post
As a prosecutor my job is to prosecute matters in the interest of justice. A trial is a search for the truth for me, for the State. The truth requires me to evaluate all evidence and information-something that the individuals attacking me have no interest in doing. The blogs and attacks on me really don’t warrant a response but I figured I would tell you the truth. The gentleman in question, and he truly is a good man and a gentleman, doesn’t deserve to have his good name besmirched. Yes he was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. The important fact that the individuals who are rushing to judgment fail to understand is the nuances of the admissibility of evidence. Lay people often believe that they know much more than they truly understand about the rules of evidence and trial work. Most drunk driving cases typically have three main components. These include the manner of driving, field sobriety tests, and a breath or blood test. In the matter in question there was no breath test. The individual attempted to submit to a breath test to determine blood alcohol concentration but he was unable to give a sufficient breath sample because of a medical condition. The driving was also inconsequential- the accused rolled a stop sign. He wasn’t weaving or driving erratically. The best evidence in the case was the battery of field sobriety exercises. What the general public fails to appreciate or understand is that field sobriety exercises are NOT recommended for individuals over the age of 65, or obese people or people with physical disabilities, just to name some of the factors to consider. The field sobriety manual that law enforcement training is mandated by is from NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). The accused in this case was 70 years of age. I am leary to divulge this information but in an attempt at complete disclosure the accused had a variety of back, knee and other physical impairments that precluded him from being able to successfully complete such tests. He attempted the FST exercises but the probative value of said exercises was greatly outweighed by the physical limitations of the accused. Thus, forget the FSTs- they would not carry the day. A trier of fact would not be able to differentiate poor performance due to impairment by alcohol versus physical limitations. Criminal cases require proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This case wasn’t even close. The gentleman would have been acquitted. Additionally it was a first offense- if it had not been then it would have most likely been a trial and a not guilty verdict. Regardless, the accused submitted to an alcohol evaluation which revealed that he did not have an alcohol problem. This gave my office peace of mind that this gentleman did not have an alcohol problem which translated to a low risk of possibility of being charged again in the future. He still agreed to pay the negligent driving citation because he rolled the stop sign. Ultimately if the matter had proceeded to trial I was also faced with yet an additional challenge to the initial stop- the road in question had never been dedicated to the Town of Centreville. If the initial stop had been ruled unlawful the trial would have been over at that juncture. I simply wanted to set the record straight for those who have only heard one side of the story which is replete with half truths. Yes this gentleman had contributed to my campaign. That wasn’t a consideration. I couldn’t prove the case. Whether I respect a person or dislike them, I treat them the same- fairly. If the people attacking me are alleging some bribe then logically shouldn’t that have come before the trial, not after? Sure I like the Ravens. My dad has season tickets so I go to games all the time. There was nothing improper with my financial disclosure statement either, as alleged. If there had been then I would be answering to the State Ethics Commission. I assure you I won’t be. Feel free to share this message with anyone else who questions my integrity.