State troopers put their lives on the line every day. And the act of pulling someone over on a highway can be a deadly experience for any cop not following the best protocols. But police are also under great pressure to generate ticket revenue for their cities, counties and states, and their zeal to hit revenue targets can lead them to do the wrong thing.
So says a class action suit filed against the State of Utah and a
specific state trooper who is accused of writing "driving under the
influence" tickets when they weren't impaired.
State trooper Lisa Steed was honored inside the state police force for
busting an extraordinary number of drunk drivers. But some of her
convictions were subsequently over-turned, and the trooper was
reprimanded and then fired for making false arrests.
Since Steed's performance and punishment were reported, dozens of people
who were convicted have been signing up with lawyers for a class action
suit. People convicted of DUI lost money, cars and trailers and even
jobs, according to ABC 4 News/Salt Lake City.
One such plaintiff is Thomas Romero who was arrested by Steed in 2011.
"I wasn't drunk ... I was not intoxicated. Nothing," Romero told ABC 4.
One of the representing attorneys, Robert Sykes, says he is looking at
hundreds of drivers who may have been victimized. Sykes is ambitiously
seeking that all DUI arrests by state troopers be over-turned in cases
where the trooper was the only witness.
How much could plaintiffs get? Attorneys are hoping to get Romero, for
example, at least $20,000 to cover everything he lost, including his truck and his motor home. If you add up all the cases these attorneys think
are out there, the lawsuit could potentially cost Steed and the Utah
Highway Patrol $20 million.
- Kunes Law Office
- Tifton, Georgia, United States
- Joe Kunes is a Personal Injury and Criminal DUI/DWI defense Attorney in Tifton, Georgia. He has been practicing law in Tifton and the surrounding counties since 1972. He is a graduate of Tift County Schools, the University of Georgia, 1969, B.A., and University of Georgia Law School J.D., 1972. In 40 years of practice in Tifton he has handled all areas of the law, but now restricts his practice to criminal defense and personal injury work. The majority of his criminal practice relates to the defense of drinking drivers, not only in Tifton, but all over South Georgia. His personal injury practice includes representing plaintiffs injured in automobile accidents and medical malpractice cases in Tifton and surrounding counties. He is a member of Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (Vice President in 2000), American Trial Lawyers Association (sustaining member), National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD), and the Georgia Defense of DUI Drivers (D.O.D.D.).