Case No.: 2008CT4858ASB, Palm Beach County, Judge P. Moyle, March 24, 2010
Allegations: DUI with property damage. My client is alleged to have crashed into an occupied patrol car in front of the Delray Beach police Department. Within a couple of minutes, Officer Daisey Darocha arrived to assist Officer Ferreri, who was driving the patrol car my client is alleged to have hit. Also arriving within minutes (this crash was just outside the police department on Atlantic Avenue) were about four or five other Delray Beach Police Officers and EMT/Paramedics from the Delray Beach Fire Department. Officer Ferreri accused my client of driving west bound on Atlantic Avenue in the far right lane. He said he was stopped in the center median getting ready to head west as well when he spotted my client suddenly leave her lane of travel and head straight for his patrol car hitting it's right front bumper with the left rear wheel of her car. Officer Darocha, now with the married name, “Addea,” testified that my client immediately exited her car (after it had careened off of Ferrari's patrol car and into a tree) and “spontaneously uttered,” “I usually never drink, I was out with the girls, my husband is out of town.” She said my client was ‘severely' impaired, had slurred speech, could barely stand, and admitted to drinking. She had my client whisked away to the hospital where blood was drawn resulting in a .097 blood-alcohol reading.
Tools: Jury Trial. I believed my client's version of the events from the start. I believed that Officer Ferrari was on his cell phone and caused this crash. I believed that he and the other members of the police department that were on scene manipulated the situation to blame the crash on my client and to hurry her to the hospital in order to create the predicate for drawing blood; i.e., that a breath test be impractical or impossible (there are no intoxilyzer breath machines at the hospital). During trial, I was able to convince the jury that my client's version of the events were true. With the help of an accident reconstructionist, I was able to prove that Ferrari caused the crash and covered up the truth. With the help of an EMT/paramedic, I was able to prove that my client exhibited no evidence of impairment at all, despite the testimony by Officer Darocha (Addea) that she was severely impaired. Finally, I was able to show the jury that the state's Toxicologist (who did the blood analysis) was a professional prosecutorial witness who testifies only on behalf of the state attorney's office (despite the fact that he describes himself as an independent scientist) and that his testing of my client's blood was inaccurate and unreliable (if not completely laughable – his Gas Chromatograph, a highly sophisticated instrument used to test blood samples for drugs and/or alcohol) failed on the first attempt at analyzing my client's blood (a software failure), failed on the second attempt at analyzing my client's blood ( a quality control failure) and after five days (during which my client's blood sample lay un-sealed in a walk-in refrigerator accessible by three other un-known toxicologists) allegedly arrived at a ‘valid' sample of .097. I believe a major factor in the 12-minute NOT GUILTY verdict was the fact that the state attorney failed to call the evidence custodian to fill in the 11-day gap in the chain-of-custody of the blood kit. This left in question where the blood kit was from the time Officer Darocha says she dropped off the blood sample at her police department on the night of the crash until 11 days later, when the state's toxicologist picked up the sample from his lab at the Sheriff's office. A major blunder. I also believe the jury wasn't happy with the fact that the police department investigated itself, rather than calling in an independent, uninterested, objective agency (like the sheriff's office) to investigate the crash. I believe that had I not done my job, had I not asked tough questions, had I not pursued what I thought to be a police-instigated cover-up, my client would have been labeled a drunk driver who crashed into a patrol car and had a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit. I'm glad the jury had the courage to see through it.