Sure they do! Not all of them but on occasion there is a real scandal when an officer makes a habit of doing so. A few years ago, Sacramento Police Officer Brandon Mullock, who was assigned to the DUI patrol, was convicted of criminal charges and fired, after it surfaced that his written reports differed substantially from events captured by his patrol vehicle’s in car camera. More recently, a judge in Wake County, North Carolina disqualified Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Davis, a member of the DWI Task Force, for false statements in 3 cases. The Wake County District Attorney later dismissed more than 100 DUI cases, after the deputy was found to have lied on the stand. Deputy Davis was also fired by his department after a 15 year career. DUI defendants are easy targets because their recollections are always suspect because they were drinking or on drugs at the time of their arrests.
What captured my attention about this North Caroline incident is that some of the cases Robert Davis was involved in were Refusal cases, where people were accused of refusing the chemical test, which in turn caused them to lose their driving privilege for one year or more. In North Carolina it appears that people have a right to call an attorney for advice or have someone witness the test as long as there is no more than a 30 minute delay in testing.
In California there is no such right. Individuals must make the decision without assistance. There has been quite a debate and a great deal of litigation surrounding an individual’s right to refuse a chemical test since a Supreme Court ruling in 2013. Since that time we have seen judges signing warrants allowing law enforcement to forcefully draw blood in DUI cases throughout the State.
In Sacramento, we have video in the jail but no audio. This makes it impossible to determine who is telling the truth about whether or not a reported refusal is a true refusal. I’m a fan of cameras and audio in patrol vehicles and body cameras in all law enforcement contacts. It gives me, as a DUI defense attorney, a way to refresh client’s recollections or keep law enforcement from crossing the line. Either way, we get the truth.
I can’t help but wonder if people were allowed to consult with someone they trusted before refusing the chemical test as they do in North Carolina, if there might be fewer refusal allegations as well.