Long-delayed DUI trial set to finally begin in Williamsburg
If all goes according to plan, one of Whitley County's longest running driving while under the influence cases will draw to a conclusion Tuesday with a jury trial in Whitley District Court.
On May 9, 2010, Williamsburg Police Officer Brandon White charged former Whitley County Deputy Jailer Lloyd E. "Oscar" Davenport, with careless driving and driving while under the influence.
At the time Davenport was a deputy jailer, but he is no longer employed at the jail.
Davenport allegedly crossed the centerline four times between Wal-Mart and Main Street, and twice from Main Street to Becks Creek Road, White wrote on the arrest citation.
After stopping the 2003 red Toyota, White allegedly smelled the odor of alcohol on Davenport, who failed field sobriety tests, according to the arrest citation.
Davenport allegedly refused to submit to a portable breath test, and told police that he would blow over the limit if he took it and that he had drunk a few beers, according to the arrest citation.
Davenport also allegedly told White that White would "get what was coming to" him, White wrote.
"He said he would pay a visit to my father - I felt this was a threat," White further wrote on the arrest citation.
The case was continued multiple times until White agreed to dismiss the charges during a Dec. 11, 2011 hearing where Davenport's defense attorney, Jane Butcher, informed the court that she hadn't received discovery evidence from former Whitley County Attorney Paul Winchester, according to court records.
At the time, interim Whitley County Attorney Don Moses recused himself from the case, and the prosecution wasn't represented during the hearing.
Williamsburg police, who were upset by the ruling and the fact that the commonwealth wasn't represented during the hearing, asked Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway to appoint a special prosecutor in the case.
On Dec. 15, 2011, Conway appointed Commonwealth's Attorney Allen Trimble as special prosecutor.
Trimble filed a motion to set aside the order of dismissal on Dec. 21., 2011. White granted the motion on March 7, 2012.
Since that time, the case has been continued for multiple reasons. It was set for trial last month but was postponed because Officer White had a family emergency.
Butcher later said that she received no usable discovery evidence in the case and has noted that other videos she received were not viewable.
Williamsburg police reportedly have video taken of the incident from a dashboard camera on a police cruiser but the video has no sound.
Prior to the start of the trial Wednesday, Judge White has several motions that he will have to rule upon.
Butcher has asked that Officer White be prohibited from mentioning alleged threats Davenport made at the time of his arrest, such as White's claim that Davenport said he would "pay a visit to my father."
"Further, the officer should be prohibited from alleging that he felt threatened by the defendant," Butcher wrote.
Butcher has also filed a motion to have the arresting officer barred from testifying about field sobriety testing he had Davenport perform when he was arrested.
"As grounds for said motion, the arresting officer failed to conduct the field sobriety tests in the proper manner and the validity of the tests is severely compromised," Butcher wrote.
"The tests performed by the arresting officer were not administered in compliance with the administrative regulations promulgated by the secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and their validity is compromised."
If results of field sobriety tests are admitted, Butcher has asked that the arresting officer be prohibited from making references about "pass/fail" in testifying about the procedures.
"Said procedures were not administered under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards nor the Kentucky safety standards adopted and used by Eastern Kentucky University Training Center for law enforcement and should be excluded from trial," Butcher wrote.
Trimble has objected to Butcher's motions and maintains that whether the officer administered the tests appropriately is a question for a jury to decide.
As part of his response to the motions, Trimble filed a type written account about what happened, which was prepared by Officer White.
"Since the Defendant refused to cooperate with the officer, he should be allowed to explain to the jury as to what happened. A silent tape should be allowed to be explained to the jury by live witnesses, who were there and actually heard what was going on," Trimble wrote.
"The motions of the Defendant should be dismissed and the matter proceed to trial."
White's written statement echoed what he wrote on the arrest citation but goes into more detail about the tests administered and Davenport's refusal to take a portable breath test.
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