Toledo Talk

Lucas Co. prosecutor suspended for dropping charge

http://www.13abc.com/story/21724392/lucas-co-prosecutor-suspended-for-dropping-charges

There has to be more to this story. If there was no special treatment why suspend him? He's a lawyer, is he going to take a hit on his record without a fight if he did nothing wrong? Something stinks here.

And were the drunk driving charges refiled on the drunk fireman? If not why?

created by Erin on Mar 20, 2013 at 04:53:28 pm     Comments: 25

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From 13abc: Lucas Co. prosecutor suspended for dropping charge From the article:
A local prosecutor is in hot water for dismissing a drunk driving charge against a Toledo firefighter.
We're told it's because dropping the charge made it look like the firefighter was getting a break. However, the city says there's no evidence the firefighter got special treatment.

Toledo Blade: DUI charge dismissed; firefighter fined $50 From the article:
The judge said the prosecutor asked that a charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated be dismissed for evidentiary reasons.
Police said Mr. Steele, a 17-year firefighter with the city, was eastbound on Sylvania Avenue when he lost control at Phillips Avenue, struck a flagpole, a stone monument, a fire hydrant, and a traffic-control box.

Toledo Blade: Police say firefighter involved in single-vehicle drunken-driving crash From the article:
In a police incident report, Sgt. Thomas Morelli reported that Mr. Steele was driving eastbound on Sylvania Avenue when he lost control at Phillips Avenue and hit a flag pole, a stone monument, a fire hydrant, and a traffic-control box. The monument and hydrant flew through the air and smashed into a large stone support pillar at Boyd's Retro Candy Store, 954 Phillips Ave., at 11:44 p.m.

Toledo Blade: Station 5 firefighters face arrests, accusations
The Toledo Fire Department suspended two firefighters in late February over accusations that they used the life squad on Jan. 19 to ferry three nurses to and from downtown’s Station 5 and a Christmas party at the Blarney Irish Pub. The firefighters were on duty, and let the women pose for pictures in fire trucks. A nurse at one point slid down the station’s fire pole, Fire Chief Luis Santiago said.

It looks like there was a problem with evidence that would prove the alcohol level in the blood. At that point the prosecution is finished, unless the accused is a complete idiot and confesses to the crime. When he's sober and off the pain killers, that is.

This guy must have really been high-balling it to cause that kind of damage. It's fortunate no one was killed.

The article talking about Station 5 seems like a stretch to me - kind of like a 'so what?' moment. Alright, the hose draggers used the vehicle as a taxi. Big deal. Then a nurse slid down the pole at the firehouse? Again, so what?

posted by madjack on Mar 21, 2013 at 10:11:47 am     #  

Then a nurse slid down the pole at the firehouse? Again, so what?

I agree. That's the epitome of an internal disciplinary matter.

But if she was nude when she did it.... LOL!

posted by GuestZero on Mar 21, 2013 at 11:00:42 am     #  

Wonder exactly what the evidentiary reasons were. Did he blow over the limit or have blood drawn? Still sounds like crap to me.

posted by Erin on Mar 21, 2013 at 07:25:59 pm     #  

The 13ABC blurb is a little short on details. The DWI charge was dropped, but he plead to the companion charge of Reckless Operation. This is actually not all that unusual. As I recall, this firefighter had a prior DWI, so it is a little surprising, but not unheard of. He did not blow and refused the field sobriety tests at the scene, by the way. It was unclear from the various news reports if a blood draw was requested, but it seems likely it was not.

On a side note, this was a Toledo City Prosecutor, not a Lucas County Prosecutor.

posted by MoreThanRhetoric on Mar 22, 2013 at 06:17:01 pm     #  

The 13ABC blurb is a little short on details. The DWI charge was dropped, but he plead to the companion charge of Reckless Operation. This is actually not all that unusual. As I recall, this firefighter had a prior DWI, so it is a little surprising, but not unheard of. He did not blow and refused the field sobriety tests at the scene, by the way. It was unclear from the various news reports if a blood draw was requested, but it seems likely it was not.

On a side note, this was a Toledo City Prosecutor, not a Lucas County Prosecutor.

posted by MoreThanRhetoric on Mar 22, 2013 at 06:17:01 pm     #  

I don't believe he has a prior OVI. He was already at the hospital by the time investigators arrived, according to court documents. Documents mark blood and refused.

posted by Nolan_Rosenkrans on Mar 22, 2013 at 06:45:50 pm     #  

My apologies, it was a prior conviction for reckless op that I got confused. Thanks for the update NR.

posted by MoreThanRhetoric on Mar 22, 2013 at 07:16:23 pm     #  

I hope at a minimum he has lost his driving privileges for all city owned vehicles.

posted by Erin on Mar 22, 2013 at 09:12:41 pm     #  

From MoreThanRhetoric: He did not blow and refused the field sobriety tests at the scene, by the way.

So if I'm pulled over on some pretext and the officer request politely that I exit the vehicle for the purpose of performing field sobriety tests and possibly being selected as one of the chosen few to consumer test their version of the breathalyzer, and I refuse to do so, what then? Am I automatically guilty of DUI?

And, to make matters more interesting, I've seen those sobriety field tests and I know for a fact that I can't pass them. I've tried and failed miserably. Now what?

posted by madjack on Mar 23, 2013 at 10:44:33 am     #  

There are days when an "football" injury of mine flares up. On those days I couldn't pass the physical portion of a field sobriety test either.

Yes, its automatically a one year license suspension if you refuse to blow.

posted by holland on Mar 23, 2013 at 11:30:49 am     #  

The purpose of the field sobriety tests are to gather evidence in order to establish probable cause to arrest the driver. The less evidence the officer has when he arrests a driver, the more of a fighting chance the driver has in court to challenge the legality of the arrest after filing a motion to suppress.

Also, the less evidence the government has, the harder it is to prove OVI beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

When confronted with such a situation, MJ, politely refuse all testing, and ask the cop one question, "Am I under arrest, or am I free to go?"

posted by JohnnyMac on Mar 23, 2013 at 12:29:11 pm     #   1 person liked this

MJ:

The general rule is as holland stated - refuse the tests and you lose your license for the year. However, you can refuse the tests/blow and still potentially retain your driving privileges. It all depends on how the court handles the case. There are many times when a prosecutor will amend a charge to reflect that the defendant did not refuse even though they did. That way, the BMV has no grounds to impose the administrative suspension. In the time between the original charge and the amendment, your driving privileges will be suspended incidentally.

And, as for JohnnyMac's advice - asking if you are under arrest is a good way to get a yes. Your best bet, if you have been drinking and the officer is going down the DUI suspicion checklist, is to provide your Driver's License, insurance paperwork and tell the officer that you will not answer any other questions without an attorney. The officer will use your answers to any questions and the manner in which you give them to determine if he believes you have been drinking. That information coupled with his observations of your appearance and driving behavior are enough to get a conviction in most courts.

posted by MoreThanRhetoric on Mar 23, 2013 at 07:19:08 pm     #   1 person liked this

And, no, MJ you are not guilty by way of your refusal. The suspension for refusal is imposed by the BMV without any consideration of guilt or innocence. It is administrative in nature.

posted by MoreThanRhetoric on Mar 23, 2013 at 07:22:01 pm     #   1 person liked this

[iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Prk8y1SP4yE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen]</iframe>

posted by BrianInFlorida on Mar 23, 2013 at 08:41:03 pm     #  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Prk8y1SP4yE

posted by BrianInFlorida on Mar 23, 2013 at 08:41:54 pm     #  

Reno 911. Funny show

posted by Erin on Mar 23, 2013 at 09:31:44 pm     #  

Alternatively, don't get behind the wheel after consuming adult beverages. Or wait it out at the local watering hole/restaurant/friend's house - let your body metabolize the alchohol before driving. Or have a designated driver.

I know the above goes without saying and/or seems simplistic but if you want to avoid the nightmare of a possible DUI charge, it's the safest bet.

It sends chills up my spine when I think back over the years how many times I got behind the wheel after drinking. Thankfully, I never caused an accident or got pulled over but I'm not about to press my luck these days. It simply isn't worth it.

It is also very helpful that my SO does not consume adult beverages so I always have a DD if needed.

I work in the insurance industry and can tell you first hand that the fines/attorney fees and court costs you will initially pay are just the beginning. That DUI will haunt you via your insurance premiums for the next five years minimum.

posted by Foodie on Mar 25, 2013 at 08:21:16 am     #  

My thanks to JohnnyMac and MoreThanRhetoric.

The suspension for refusal is imposed by the BMV without any consideration of guilt or innocence. It is administrative in nature.

Something I truly didn't know. I actually believed that refusal meant an automatic guilty plea to DUI.

posted by madjack on Mar 25, 2013 at 08:50:49 am     #  

Just an update. I saw a city crew replacing the traffic control box today. Do city crews normally work on Saturdays or are we paying them over time because of a drunk fireman?

posted by Erin on Jun 08, 2013 at 01:03:22 pm     #  

city forestry workers are currently cutting down trees on collingwood. i think saturday work is pretty common.

posted by upso on Jun 08, 2013 at 01:30:55 pm     #  

Erin posted at 02:03:22 PM on Jun 08, 2013:

Just an update. I saw a city crew replacing the traffic control box today. Do city crews normally work on Saturdays or are we paying them over time because of a drunk fireman?

Why, have they been there every Saturday since it happened?

posted by justread on Jun 08, 2013 at 02:13:06 pm     #  

There was a temp box in place. It looks like they installed the permanent one today. Of course the candy store is still missing a corner of it's building. I hope everythime that drunk fireman goes by it on a call his co-workers give him hell about it.

posted by Erin on Jun 08, 2013 at 03:49:36 pm     #  

I wanted to put a sign there that says, "Thanks Toledo FD for the remodel"

posted by hockeyfan on Jun 08, 2013 at 04:52:24 pm     #   1 person liked this

I was under the impression that it was an off-duty person in a personal vehicle. Wouldn't the thank you sign have his name on it? Or was it in a fire department vehicle and covered by the FD insurance carrier?

posted by justread on Jun 08, 2013 at 06:08:53 pm     #  

madjack posted at 11:44:33 AM on Mar 23, 2013:

From MoreThanRhetoric: He did not blow and refused the field sobriety tests at the scene, by the way.

So if I'm pulled over on some pretext and the officer request politely that I exit the vehicle for the purpose of performing field sobriety tests and possibly being selected as one of the chosen few to consumer test their version of the breathalyzer, and I refuse to do so, what then? Am I automatically guilty of DUI?

And, to make matters more interesting, I've seen those sobriety field tests and I know for a fact that I can't pass them. I've tried and failed miserably. Now what?

Get drunk and ride one of these around.

http://www.wimp.com/wheelmotorcycle/

Ohio law by definition defines a vehicle as everything on wheels (plural) and therefore when they cite you for DUI and you flunk the sobriety test and refuse to blow and they bring you into court, the judge will have to throw the case out since the law does not apply. Then you turn around and sue the cops for violating your rights since they had no grounds to actually arrest you on.

I recommend drinking out of one of these:
http://www.kleinbottle.com/drinking_mug_klein_bottle.htm
as it has zero volume and therefore cannot be considered a container, let alone an open container, since it cannot actually contain any beverage.

posted by anonymouscoward on Jun 09, 2013 at 11:52:06 am     #