Category Archives: Victories

Another Victory For Constitutional Rights And Ambrose Law Group!

On May 19, 2010, Adam D. was pulled over while driving.  Officer James B. saw Adam driving  in the left lane and turned to following him.  After about a mile, Officer B. turned on his overhead lights and pulled Adam over to the side of the road.  In Officer B’s report, he wrote that:
I was directly behind listed vehicle  and observed it to be driving with the left side tires within an inch or two of the left curb.  The vehicle then crossed the dashed lane dividing line with the right side tires and again returned extremely close to the left curb.  The vehicle then drove on the dashed dividing line two more times.

When we met Adam, reading this report, we thought that Officer B. had every right to pull him over.  Fortunately for Adam, though, we didn’t just take the officer’s word for it.  We ordered the in-car video recording.  Watching the video shows an entirely different story than the one presented in the report.  In fact, Adam never left his lane.  He moved slightly from side to side within his lane, but no differently than a normal person driving down the road.  We promptly filed a motion in the trial court for the judge to throw out the charges against Adam, because the officer had no reason to pull him over in the first place.

The trial court judge, in District Court, ordered an evidentiary hearing to get to the truth.  At the hearing, though, the officer agreed that he’d never seen Adam cross over the line, desite what he’d written in his report.  He tried to point to a couple moments where he said that Adam’s tires had touched the dividing line.  And then he came up with something new.  The officer pointed out that there is a law that makes it a traffic violation to drive in the left lane when the right lane is free on a divided highway.  He admitted that he hadn’t pulled Adam over for that charge, but argued that the stop was a legal one because of it.

Unfortunately for Adam, the trial court judge bought that story.  Fortunately for Adam, justice didn’t stop there.

We filed an appeal for Adam, asking the Circuit Court  to review the judge’s decision.  The case was assigned, and a hearing was held this morning to determine whether the judge abused his discretion.  I laid out the facts for this new judge and let her watch the video.  The prosecutor argued that the violation of the other traffic law made the stop legal.  I argued that it didn’t, because Officer B. had already admitted that he stopped the vehicle because of the alleged weaving and for no other reason.

The Judge took the time to really see what had happened, and to apply the law properly.  She overturned the trial court’s decision and threw out the charges against Adam.

Now, I’m sure that many people reading this are thinking that this wasn’t justice.  After Officer B.  pulled over Adam, he discovered that Adam’s blood alcohol content was over the limit of .08.  Without getting into the accuracy of breathalyzer machines, I’ll concede that it’s possible that Adam was intoxicated while he was driving.  If he was drunk, how can I call it justice when a drunk driver has the charges against him dropped?

It’s justice, in my opinion, because Officer B. violated the rules set down by the Constitution when he pulled over Adam.  The Constitution protects us all from illegal searches and seizures.  When the Constitution is ignored by the police, Judges are charged with the responsibility of keeping them in line.  When one Judge makes the wrong call, it takes courage for another Judge to review the decision and make the right call.  This Judge had that courage today.

Why did Officer B. really pull over Adam on that night?  It wasn’t because of his driving, because the video showed his driving was fine.  We’ll never know what was in the officer’s heart that night.  But we do know that, from now on, he’s been put on notice that violating Constitutional Rights and then lying about it in police reports will not lead to convictions.

Bill@ambroselawgroup.com

Ambrose Law Group

 

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The Younger trial through Dan’s eyes

We finally got a verdict after eight hours of deliberation. Waiting on a jury to decide your client’s life is like waiting for a doctor’s diagnosis for cancer. I think I smoked a pack of cigarettes and I don’t even smoke. We waited on Thursday until 6:30 pm. They gave a note at 5:00 that they had decided count 2, which was a criminal sexual conduct charge that would have put Joe on the sex offender registry for 25 years, and were hung on the other counts. I was a little relieved with this note because I figured no human being is going to convict a sixteen year old of this charge in 30 minutes and if they had found him guilty they would know that the rest of the charges wouldn’t matter. I went home and slept for 12 hours, I was dead tired.

I got to court at nine the next morning and continued the wait. At 2:30 the jury sent out another note, this one said they were deadlocked on count one and deadlocked on counts 3 and 4 for the lesser charges of assault and battery. The judge declared a mistrial. The prosecutor and I spoke with the jury afterward. They all felt that something happened but that Joe was way over charged and  they were offended that he had been charged as an adult. Some of the jurors thought I was too hard on Jack with my questioning. Tom saved their crappy case with his bought and paid for lies. I don’t blame him though, the prosecutor had a gun to his head. The jury said if it wasn’t for Tom they would have acquitted Joe of everything. That if Tom was there as a defendant and not as a “cooperating” witness both boys would have gone home with clean records. Instead Tom has 3 felonies: felonious assault, assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, and unlawful imprisonment. He can thank his lawyer Sarah Blaylock from the Law Offices of Ray Cassar for that sweet deal. Tom’s dad was there for the whole trial, I could see in his eyes how much he had regretted his son’s decision to plead guilty when they know he is innocent. It’s one thing to be innocent and another to have the courage to stand up for yourself, and another to have a trial lawyer standing by your side! Tom only had innocence going for him.

I hung out with the three of the jurors afterward. It was really interesting to hear about the battles in deliberations and their insights for the next trial.

About half of the jurors gave me their emails, they want to know what happens on September 20, that’s when the retrial is set for.

The prosecution may rest but we never will…. At least until Joe gets to go home for good!

Daniel@ambroselawgroup.com

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Filed under Daniel D. Ambrose, Juvenile Crime, Uncategorized, Victories