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Court records reveal details about DWI cases
by Joe Baker
Mar 31, 2011 | 2453 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Although County Attorney Robert Busselman has chosen not to comment on details related to seven DWI cases that were dismissed in early January, documents on file with the county clerk’s office reviewed by The Karnes Countywide last week reveal new information about the evidence in some of these cases.

All of the seven cases were dismissed due to lack of evidence, according to information in the motions to dismiss signed the county attorney and county judge.

The charges in all seven cases were filed by Herb Hancock, assistant county attorney. None of the cases was filed by Busselman.

The arresting officers in six of the seven cases were DPS troopers and in one case was a Karnes City Police Department officer.

The arrest information available in the files is listed below, in order of oldest to most recent:

DWI case #1:

No information about this arrest was in the case file – an arrest was made by a DPS trooper on Oct. 21, 2007.

DWI case #2:

Documents show an arrest made for 3rd offense DWI. The arrest was made by a DPS trooper but no details about the arrest were in the case file.

DWI case #3:

Documents show an arrest made by a Karnes City police officer. The driver was pulled over for failure to use turn signal. The officer detected the odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath and the officer observed that the driver was swaying from side to side and had difficulty keeping his balance. The driver said “yes” when asked if he had alcohol. According to the officer, the person failed all Standard Field Sobriety Tests, including the HGN test.

DWI case #4:

Documents show an arrest made by a DPS trooper for 3rd offense DWI.

The driver was pulled over for failure to drive in a single lane and failure to signal lane change. The officer detected the odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath. The officer, while administering a field sobriety test, noted several clues that indicated the driver was intoxicated. At the jail, the driver refused to give a breath sample. A check of the driver’s driving record revealed that the the driver had two prior DWI convictions on his criminal record.

DWI case #5:

Documents show an arrest made by a DPS trooper for DWI. The officer was responding to a motor vehicle crash and when the officer spoke to the driver, a strong odor of alcohol was detected, and the drivers’ eyes were glassy. The driver admitted to drinking earlier that night. A preliminary Blood Alcohol test showed a 0.094 BAC (Blood Alchol Content). The driver refused a blood test after being transported to the hospital.

DWI case #6:

Documents show an arrest made by a DPS trooper for DWI. The stop was made because the officer observed the driver weaving on the roadway, and driving on the improved shoulder several times. The officer observed that the driver’s eyes were glassy, speech was slurred, balance was unsteaqdy and the smell of alcohol was detected on the driver’s breath. The driver admitted to having consumed four beers earlier. The driver failed several field sobriety tests and a test administered with a preliminary breath test instrument indicated a BAC of 0.132. The driver was tested twice at the sheriff’s office and the results there were 0.126 BAC and 0.120 BAC.

DWI case #7:

Documents show an arrest made by a DPS trooper for DWI. The stop was made because the officer observed the vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road. The officer observed the driver’s balance as unsteady, eyes bloodshot and glassy, odor of alcohol on breath. The driver admitted consuming four beers earlier at a Kenedy bar. A total of 10 clues observed during a field sobriety test indicated the driver was intoxicated. Preliminary breath test result was 0.093 BAC. Two BAC tests administered at the county jail resulted in 0.103 BAC and 0.089 BAC.

The Karnes Countywide showed copies of the documents to a local practicing attorney in order to get an independent expert assessment of whether or not there was sufficient evidence in these cases to prosecute.

The attorney, who spoke on the condition that identity not be revealed, said that based on the information in the case files, all of the cases appear to be strong cases, not “borderline” DWI arrests. The attorney said they all appear to be prosecutable cases.

The Karnes Countywide requested an interview from an officer who made one of the arrests, but the officer declined to be interviewed.

Former Assistant County Attorney Herb Hancock, who filed the charges in each of these seven cases and who also recently resigned from his position as assistant county attorney, also declined a request for interview.

The Karnes Countywide has filed open records requests with DPS and the Karnes City Police Department in order to examine the complete and more detailed arrest reports as well as video evidence collected in association with these seven arrests.

As of press time on Tuesday, the copies of these open records had not yet been delivered.

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