CT DUI Law: The Connecticut Appellate Court upholds of evidence regarding defendant's ability to perform field sobriety tests in view of prior knee injury for Farmington police officer

2013-01-24 | Peter K. O'Keefe
pkokeefe@jacksonokeefe.com

Category: DUI Drunk Driving Accidents

Peter K. O'Keefe

CT DUI Law: The Connecticut Appellate Court upholds of evidence regarding defendant’s ability to perform field sobriety tests in view of prior knee injury for Farmington police officer;  Appellate Court holds exclusion did not violate defendant’s constitutional right to present defense

 

The Appellate Court’s opinion states in part:

“After receiving a report of the incident from the Burlington police department, Officer Stanley Murak of the Farmington police department stopped the defendant’s car after observing the vehicle swerving. Murak noticed that the defendant smelled of alcohol and that his speech was slurred. Murak gave the defendant three field sobriety tests: the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn test and the one leg stand test. Murak arrested the defendant after he failed all three tests. When asked, the defendant told the officer that he had consumed one twelve ounce beer and that he took prescription anti-anxiety medication. Following a jury trial, the defendant was convicted of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence and sentenced to three years incarceration, execution suspended after one year, and three years probation. This appeal followed.

* * *

“The defendant next claims that the court violated his constitutional right to present a defense when it did not allow him to introduce certain demonstrative evidence. We disagree.

“The defendant testified that five years prior to his arrest, his knee was badly injured in a dirt bike accident and thus he was not able to perform properly some of the field sobriety tests. At this point, defense counsel requested that demonstrative evidence be presented. Outside the presence of the jury, defense counsel stated that he sought to have the defendant perform the “heel to toe” and “one leg stand” tests in front of the jury. The court denied the request to admit such evidence, reasoning that it would be inappropriate for the defendant to demonstrate what he thought occurred on the night in question. The court stated that it would give the defendant “every leeway” to describe the events through his testimony.

 

 

For more information and resources on CT DWI DUI and drunk driving accident lawyers, see our information page here:  http://www.jacksonokeefe.com/personal-injury/ct-drunk-impaired-drugged-car-accident-lawyers.htm

 

Jackson O’Keefe handles Connecticut motor vehicle accidents involving DWI DUI drunk driving accident cases throughout the State of Connecticut, including clients in West Hartford, Farmington, Avon, Simsbury, Old Lyme, Ellington, Tolland, North Haven, Wallingford, Wethersfield, Rocky Hill, Cromwell, Bethlehem, Moodus, East Haddam, Hadlyme, Madison, Middletown, Hartford, Southington, Plantsville, Griswold, Hartford County, New Haven County, Middlesex County, New London County and Litchfield County.

Jackson O’Keefe has the knowledge and experience to help if you or a loved one has been the victim of a motor vehicle accident involving a drunk or drugged driver. In addition to assessing and pursuing the legal responsibility of third parties for the loss, we know that sometimes an underinsured or uninsured claim may be necessary against your own insurance company and have the knowledge and experience to pursue such claims for full compensation as well.

The firm understands that the injuries suffered in a car accident can be financially and physically devastating. Jackson O’Keefe has the experience, knowledge and resources to help you recover full and fair compensation for all your losses. If you have suffered a personal injury because of the negligence or carelessness of another person, Jackson O’Keefe can take care of your legal concerns while you heal physically and emotionally. Contact the firm to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your personal injury claim. Jackson O’Keefe handles catastrophic injury claims involving traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury and paralysis, as well as claims for wrongful death.

To view the full opinion see:

http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROap/AP139/139AP90.pdf

 

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