3 years ago Neil Rockind began representing Randolph Fawkes, who was charged with Operating while Intoxicated in the 48th District Court. For those that don’t know about the stigma surrounding the 48th District Court, it is known as one of the toughest drunk driving courts in Michigan; the judges routinely send 1st offenders to jail.
3 years ago, Neil Rockind, P.C. filed a motion challenging the stop of Fawkes’ vehicle. Judge Diane D’Agostini ultimately ruled that the stop and arrest of Fawkes was legal. Neil Rockind, P.C., believed that Judge D’Agostini was wrong and filed an appeal with the Oakland Circuit Court. Eventually Judge Nancy Grant in the Oakland Circuit Court determined that the stop and arrest of Fawkes was indeed illegal and ordered the suppression of all illegally obtained evidence, including Fawkes’ blood draw result, which was a .09 BAC. The prosecutor, not content with Judge Grant’s decision, appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals. Following oral arguments, the Court of Appeals reversed Judge Grant’s decision and allowed the evidence back in, including the .09 BAC blood result.
The case was then set for trial – 3 years after the initiation of charges. The prosecutor, in an attempt to avoid trial, offered the charge of Operating While Visibly Impaired, which is a lesser drunk driving offense. However, we were fully aware that such an offer was standard and told him that Fawkes was not interested.
On September 21st, 2010, People v. Fawkes went to trial. Jury selection took place on the 21st and the trial lasted two days: the 22nd and 23rd of September. Over the course of the 3 day trial, the prosecution called 4 witnesses: the police officer that effectuated the stop of Fawkes’ vehicle, the doctor that withdrew Fawkes’ blood, the evidence technician at the Michigan State Police Forensic Laboratory (who testified as an expert), and Felix Adatsi – the head of Michigan State Police Forensic Laboratory (who also testified as an expert).
At the end of the prosecution’s proofs, several things were extremely apparent:
- The police officer had stopped Fawkes for no reason;
- The police officer had intentionally mis-stated information in the affidavit for the search warrant to withdraw Fawkes’ blood (i.e. he stated in the affidavit that Fawkes’ eyes were bloodshot, however he testified that they were not bloodshot);
- The doctor that withdrew Fawkes’ blood had not followed protocol re: the preservation of the blood samples – resulting in tainted samples;
- The evidence technician that actually tested the blood samples had done nothing to ensure that the samples were taint-free; instead she simple assumed that they were preserved correctly; and
- Felix Adatsi admitted that it was possible that at the time that Fawkes had been pulled over he may have only had a BAC of .04 or .05.
Taking all of this into consideration, the 6 person jury returned with a verdict and uttered the two most beautiful words in the English language: NOT GUILTY!
Despite 4 witnesses, including 2 expert witnesses, 2 days of trial and and blood alcohol level of .09, which is above the legal limit, Fawkes was found Not Guilty of drunk driving in one of the toughest drunk driving courts in Michigan. And he could not have done it without Neil Rockind and his many years of drunk driving expertise.
Neil Rockind, P.C. is extremely experienced in handling all types of driving offenses, including drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs. If you or a loved one is faced with any type of driving offense, or an investigation by any policing agency regarding such a violation, please contact Neil Rockind, P.C. at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office directly at 248-208-3800 to schedule a free consultation!