Had a DUI jury trial on a Monday morning and we won. DUI less safe Not guilty. Driving without headlights on at night, guilty. We were in the State Court of Chatham County, Savannah, Georgia.
I knew what was coming. I dreaded it. I needed to stay calm and take it. I was ready.
I wore a a three piece navy suit, white shirt, black tie with three stripes going straight down, cufflinks made from real baseballs, and black converse with white laces. On my table was a beat up copy of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Ernest Hemingway. My iPad screen lock was a picture of UGA walking into a football game.
I asked the Judge to remove the witnesses from the court room. The judge had my investigator and Field Sobriety Expert sit in the hall until they testified. He let the cop sit at the prosecutor’s table from the beginning until the end.
First thing I said during jury selection, “Did anybody see the Georgia Florida game? I am biased, I hate Florida fans, and if you are a Florida fan then I feel a certain way about you and there is nothing you can do about it. I am going to talk to you and I’m after your true feelings. There is no wrong answer. Just honest ones.”
They routed me during jury selection and interrupted me. They wouldn’t let me use the wireless presentation I made, nor the projector, nor the Reasonable Doubt board during Voire Dire or Opening. They didn’t let me show the video of the scene that my investigator prepared.
I asked the Judge to let the Field Sobriety expert stay in the room and listen to the cop testify because there was no video of the Field sobriety tests, (a.k.a. Roadside Agility Tryouts, “RATS”.) Denied.
Had a complete cross-examination that I prepared on my iPad. But, the plan changed. The cop said things that were opposite of what he said in an earlier court hearing. So, I left my iPad on the table, and crossed him straight from the red bound transcript of the administrative license suspension hearing. I’d say: “Now today’s truth is….” and “Remember when we were in court on April 4, 2012?,” “You swore to God to tell the truth?” Let me show you on page 22, line 25, you said: “….” True? This went on many times.
I got into evidence about 10 pictures from the investigation showing the cracked up road. I got a copy of the most important page from the cop’s Field Sobriety manual into evidence. The page said that if any one of the field sobriety elements is changed, the validity is compromised.
I closed fast. Two minutes maybe. First words: “Before they can ruin your life” Objection! Sustained. They have Enormous burden of proof… Last thing: Picture of racehorse on iPad, “Secretariat won beyond a reasonable doubt.” 7 seconds later. “Have they won beyond a reasonable doubt?…….No.” “I’m not calling the cop a liar, but he told you things that were wrong. I’m not even talking about it. You saw it. Josh is an innocent man. Let him go home. Find him Not guilty.” They did.
Judgment: Soldier Not Guilty of DUI