Letter to Editor Setting Out the Truth on the "DRE" Challenge
Whether serving as a prosecutor or private attorney, I am a strong believer in the Constitution. A prosecutor should ensure they are not prosecuting the innocent, and certainly a private attorney must represent their clients zealously to ensure that does not happen.
Several years ago I challenged a procedure being used in the county that resulted in an innocent client of mine being arrested and charged for driving under the influence of drugs. As part of a 10 day hearing, some of the top doctors in the country from Johns Hopkins testified that the DRE procedure being used in Carroll contained scientific and medical information that is unquestionably incorrect, and would result in innocent people being charged. Even the experts called by the State acknowledged at the hearing that flaws existed and have never been fixed.
The Carroll County Administrative Judge Michael Galloway agreed in his written opinion the information used by the DRE procedure was not "valid and reliable," and failed "to produce an accurate determination of whether a suspect is impaired by drugs...." That court ruling is why the procedure is not allowed to be used in Carroll County until it is fixed.
I have lectured to defense lawyers concerning the discovery of these flaws as they too have innocent clients that are affected. I have also twice lectured to our state judges on this issue because of their concern over what was discovered, and consulted with many prosecutors around the State who recognize that the procedure needs to be fixed.
Mr. Flickinger outlines this issue better than anyone in his letter to the editor as his family was directly affected when the flawed procedure resulted in the arrest of an innocent family member.
Letter: DeLeonardo work proved innocence
Friday, May 16, 2014, Carroll County Times
In an April 27 letter to the editor, Jacob Yingling chastised State's Attorney candidate Brian DeLeonardo for the defeat of the Drug Recognition Expert program. I would like to inform Yingling that he is totally wrong.
My brother-in-law is now 55 years old. When he was 10 years only he was riding his bicycle and got hit by a pick-up truck, leaving him in a coma for many weeks. When he awoke, he was left with several disabilities, including slurred speech and unsteady walk.
Several years ago he was stopped by the police for a traffic violation. When the police heard his slurred speech and saw his inability to walk the line, they assumed he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They handcuffed him and took him to the detention center for a breathalyzer. Having passed the test, the police still were not satisfied, so they took him to the hospital for a blood test, which he also passed. They then called in a DRE expert who performed eye tests and other examinations, and it was their opinion that he was under the influence of drugs.
Now, if convicted, he could have possibly gotten a jail sentence. Hiring DeLeonardo was the best thing that could have happened. He had a number of clients, and my brother-in-law was one of them, and perhaps his best case scenario of that flawed procedure.
The hearing against the DRE lasted about 10 days. I attended about four of those days and I saw a very intelligent, competent, professional attorney in action that was helping out the innocent people by proving the procedure was flawed.
The hearing was before Carroll County Judge Michael Galloway, who ultimately ruled the procedure was indeed flawed, based on DeLeonardo's evidence and by the testimony of numerous expert witnesses. DeLeonardo kept my brother-in-law out of jail based on facts and not assumptions.
I wonder if Yingling would rather have innocent people go to jail rather than admit the DRE procedure was flawed.
The people of Carroll County would be remiss if they don't elect DeLeonardo as their next State's Attorney. My family will vote for him, and I hope those reading this letter will do the same.
I want to thank DeLeonardo for keeping an innocent man out of jail, regardless of those who like Yingling.