Denver DUI Lawyer

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Driver on heroin who fatally struck electric scooter rider in Cleveland sentenced to 8 years in prison

Driver on heroin who fatally struck electric scooter rider in Cleveland sentenced to 8 years in prison
Scott McHugh addresses the victim’s family at his sentencing (Source: WOIO) 

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) – The driver convicted of driving under the influence of drugs and fatally hitting a 21-year-old woman riding an electric scooter was sentenced Thursday.

Scott McHugh was sentenced to eight years in prison for the August 2018 incident. Sentencing for driver who hit, killed electric scooter rider in Cleveland

McHugh was high on heroin when he hit and killed Jenasia Summers in August 2018. Summers was riding an ICON G electric scooter on East 9th Street near St. Clair Avenue when she was hit by McHugh’s Chevy Cruze.

Jenasia Summers was on an electric scooter when she was struck by a vehicle and killed. (Source: Family)
Jenasia Summers was on an electric scooter when she was struck by a vehicle and killed. (Source: Family) 

Crash investigators say McHugh was driving in excess of the posted 25 MPH speed limit. He pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and OVI.

During sentencing, McHugh apologized for his actions, but acknowledged that he knows that isn’t enough to heal the family’s pain.

“I deserve every amount of time that I get,” McHugh said.

Summers’ 12-year-old niece and mother addressed the courtroom with their emotionally moving victim impact statements.

“My daughter is no longer here and as a mother, I couldn’t fix it,” Summers’ mother said while in tears. “But as the mother that I am, I always tried to fix it or make it right and this time I couldn’t.” Mother of Jenasia Summers gives victim impact statement

McHugh will also be on community supervision after his release and his driver’s license will be revoked for the rest of his life. http://www.cleveland19.com/2019/03/21/driver-who-fatally-struck-electric-scooter-rider-while-high-heroin-set-be-sentenced/

Man facing 8th OWI offense tried to drink in front of deputy

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PORTAGE, Wis. (AP) — Authorities in southern Wisconsin say a 56-year-old Cambria man arrested on suspicion of his 8th OWI offense tried to drink in front of a deputy.

According to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, a vehicle was reported in a ditch in the Town of Fountain Prairie Saturday night. The caller reported the driver wasn’t hurt, but “something wasn’t right with the driver.” The caller gave the man a ride home.

When a deputy arrived, the man had returned in another car. When the man was told he would be arrested, authorities say he tried to grab an open liquor bottle from the vehicle and drink from it.

The man was arrested on suspicion of OWI 8th offense, bail jumping, operating with open intoxicants and failure to maintain control of his vehicle. https://www.tmj4.com/news/local-news/man-facing-8th-owi-offense-tried-to-drink-in-front-of-deputy

2016 shooting haunts credibility of Troy detective

In unrelated case, defense attorney raises issue of Detective Sgt. Randall French’s actions in Edson Thevenin death

TROY — Detective Sgt. Randall French took the stand this past week in a Rensselaer County Court animal abuse criminal trial to find his 2016 fatal shooting of a DWI suspect overshadows his credibility as a prosecution witness.

Since former Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel E. Abelove rushed a grand jury presentation within four days of French shooting Edson Thevenin during a DWI traffic stop on April 17, 2016, the nearly 16-year Troy Police Department veteran has seen his career impacted by the eight bullets he fired that morning.

French has been passed over twice for promotion to captain despite his ranking first on the civil service list. He also faces a multi-million-dollar federal lawsuit filed by Thevenin’s widow. And his motives in conducting investigations are open to cross-examination when he is a prosecution witness, as the animal cruelty case demonstrates.

It’s a situation that could grow more intense now that French commands the city’s reorganized drug unit.

“It’s unfortunate that Randy is in this position because of politics,” said Officer Nick Laviano, president of the Troy Police Benevolent Association. He believes the former district attorney’s handling of the Thevenin case was warped by an effort to forestall the state taking over the probe.

“Joel Abelove wanted to flex his muscles to Andrew Cuomo,” Laviano said.

Laurie Shanks, a criminal defense attorney and Albany Law School professor emerita, said French will be haunted by the way Abelove handled the shooting for the rest of his time in law enforcement.

Abelove did a disservice to Thevenin’s family and the citizens of Troy as well as French for not having the case thoroughly and properly examined, Shanks said.

“Abelove created a situation where there was no possibility (French) could be held responsible,” Shanks said. “There will always be a cloud over (French) to the end of his career.”

Abelove could not be reached for comment. In December 2017, the district attorney was indicted by a county grand jury for his handling of the shooting, but the case brought by the state attorney general was dismissed last June by a judge who said the state had exceeded its authority.

The investigation of Thevenin’s death was complicated by the ongoing tug of war between Cuomo and county district attorneys over the governor’s executive order empowering the attorney general to probe the deaths of unarmed civilians during encounters with police. It was in that context that Abelove quickly presented the Thevenin case to a county grand jury.

French was not asked to waive his immunity when he testified before the grand jury investigating his shooting of Thevenin. That alone meant he couldn’t be charged in the case.

Last week, it was French’s far less consequential investigation of the fatal injuries to a small 13-year-old dog named Mya over Thanksgiving 2017 that opened him up to cross-examination by William Roberts, defense attorney for Gloria Carmona, the home health aide and mother of two who was charged in the case.

“This case was toxic because it was tainted by Randy, a toxic police officer,” Roberts told the jury of six men and six women in Rensselaer County Court.

Judge Jennifer Sober ruled Thursday that Roberts could question French about aspects of the federal civil lawsuit filed by Thevenin’s widow as he attempted to impeach the detective’s credibility, especially on the statement he wrote describing his December 2017 interview of Carmona. Roberts also questioned him about aspects of the attorney general’s report on his fatal shooting of Thevenin.

Assistant District Attorney Nick Dorando was able to stop part of Roberts’ attempt to question French, but in his closing argument had to remind the jury that French was not on trial.

Mayor Patrick Madden has attacked the attorney general’s report on the shooting investigation as factually inaccurate, though he has never explained his reasons for taking that stance. Last week, a spokesman said the mayor had no comment due to the pending litigation in U.S. District Court in Albany. The city is a co-defendant with French in the lawsuit.

On Thursday, French testified he had not paid attention to either the federal lawsuit or the attorney general’s findings. When Roberts asked about testimony from three civilian witnesses in the shooting, French said he was not aware of their accounts.

“It is incredible that he is taking it lightly,” Shanks said. She thinks it’s hard to believe that French would not have paid attention to the attorney general’s investigation, as it occurred at the time that he faced the possibility of being indicted in Thevenin’s death.

French testified that he felt he shouldn’t have been passed over for promotion. The PBA has sued the city over failing to promote French and two other sergeants. The city Civil Service Commission is expected to approve a new captain promotional list Tuesday. French, a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute graduate with a degree in applied mathematics, is expected to be at the top of the list again.

Roberts quizzed French on whether he “fabricated and disseminated false accounts” regarding the Thevenin shooting. French said he never did that.

Outside court after his testimony, French declined to comment on the case and his professional situation.

The only extensive remarks from French about the fatal shooting come in his deposition, quoted by the city of Troy and his attorneys in a Feb. 28 motion to dismiss the federal litigation.

In that document, French extensively describes the initial traffic stop of Thevenin, then the pursuit when Thevenin drove off. Once Thevenin was stopped again, French said he squeezed out of his patrol vehicle and his leg became pinned between his vehicle and Thevenin’s car. Thevenin’s vehicle was revving its engine and pinned him, according to French’s testimony.

“I was afraid I was going to die,” French testified about his reason for firing at Thevenin. French said he attempted to reload but couldn’t reach his reserve magazine because he was pinned. Other officers arriving at the scene testified they heard French yelling “stop” and that he was pinned.

The PBA’s Laviano called him an “excellent officer.” The PBA awarded French its Silver Shield award in 2018 for his actions in the Thevenin traffic stop.

French recently was given command of the Special Operations Section, as the reorganized drug unit is now called. French bid for the position under the PBA contract and was given the position based on seniority.

The drug unit was disbanded after its members conducted an illegal warrantless search in June 2017. Two detectives assigned to the unit pleaded guilty in the case. With French in command, a defense attorney will be able to question the truthfulness of the officers he commands, Shanks said.

On Friday, the jury acquitted Carmona of felony cruelty to animals and misdemeanor animal abuse. Two jurors, who declined to be identified, said they could not rely on the statement French took from Carmona. They also said the detective sergeant didn’t conduct a thorough investigation, resulting in a lack of evidence.

“This is just the beginning of Randy French’s problems in the courtroom,” Roberts said. “When faced with a credibility issue, juries are going to have a hard time believing Randy French.” https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/2016-shooting-haunts-credibility-of-Troy-detective-13709526.php



Former WWE wrestler back in Carbon jail

A WWE Hall of Fame wrestler is behind bars in Carbon County for violating parole on multiple DUI convictions. 

Tamara Sytch, known as Sunny during her WWE career, pleaded guilty to three separate counts of DUI in Carbon County Court in 2016. She was sentenced to five years maximum, but got immediate parole because she sought rehab. 

This week she was extradited from New Jersey for violating parole in one of her DUI arrests.

It is the second time she has been jailed here for violating parole. She served eight months in Carbon County Correctional Facility last year. 

Sytch reportedly violated her parole when she was arrested for DUI in New Jersey on Feb. 26. 

According to TMZ.com, Sytch was arrested after a traffic stop where an officer found her with an open container of alcohol. She was also driving with a suspended license.

She was extradited to Carbon County for violating terms of her probation from the three DUIs she pleaded guilty to in 2016. 

According to an order from Carbon County Adult Probation, Sytch missed a scheduled drug test on Feb. 11. The terms of Sytch’s probation from her DUI arrests included zero tolerance for missed urine screens. 

Adult probation said Sytch does not have a stable residence and failed to report her whereabouts.

Sytch pleaded guilty to three separate DUI charges in Carbon County Court in 2016.

Officially the judge in the case sentenced her to a maximum of five years in jail. However, she received credit for 95 days in rehab and got immediate parole. 

The terms of her sentence also included $2,100 in fines, a two-and-a-half year license suspension, 125 hours of community service, zero tolerance for drug and alcohol use, and court fees. 

The first arrest occurred May 30, 2015, on Route 443 in Mahoning Township. 

Two days later, she was stopped by police for crossing the double line on Route 209, and officers found an open bottle of beer. 

The third arrest occurred after a crash in Towamensing Township on June 20, 2015. 

In February 2018 she violated her parole and served eight months in Carbon County Correctional Facility. https://www.tnonline.com/former-wwe-wrestler-back-carbon-jail

Father arrested for DUI after three children call cops

John Sweeney
Wallingford Police Department

WALLINGFORD, CT (WFSB) – A father was arrested for drunk driving on Saturday after his three children called the cops on him.

Police said they received a call just after 7:30 p.m. at the Pit Stop Gas Station on Woodhouse Avenue.

One of the children called 911 to report that her and her two younger siblings were dropped off on the side of the road by their father who was drunk.

When officers arrived, they found the children shivering, crying and scared.

The children told police their father, John Sweeney, had been drinking at a St. Patrick’s Day party.

The kids asked another person to drive them home, but Sweeney insisted on driving them.

According to police, the children said they asked him to pull over due to his drunk driving.

The children walked about one mile to the gas station where they called 911.

Officers found Sweeney on North Street where he was charged with three counts of risk of injury to a minor and DUI.

He was released on a $10,000 bond and will appear in court on March 29.

The children were taken into the custody of their mother. https://www.wfsb.com/news/father-arrested-for-dui-after-three-children-call-cops/article_6c3089bc-4a79-11e9-9b44-8b39ff5f93a0.html