Judge won’t toss evidence in lawmaker’s DUI case

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LONDON, Ky. (AP) — A state lawmaker will face a jury trial in September after unsuccessfully trying this week to have evidence in his drunken driving case thrown out, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

State Rep. Derek Lewis was arrested near his home at 1:55 a.m. on April 16, just a few hours after the 2020 General Assembly adjourned in Frankfort.

The arrest came after Laurel County Sheriff’s Deputy Gary Mehler spotted a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck in a ditch with the engine still running. When Lewis climbed out of the truck he was unsteady on his feet, slurring his words and smelled strongly of alcohol, according to the arrest report. Lewis was belligerent and refused to perform a field sobriety test or to provide breath or blood samples to check his alcohol level, Mehler wrote.

At a Tuesday hearing, the London Republican asked the court to suppress evidence from the arrest. One motion claimed that the deputy had no probable cause to suspect Lewis of operating a vehicle while intoxicated because state law “defines ‘operator’ as the person in actual physical control of the vehicle” and “the vehicle was in a ditch and not being operated at the time of the stop.”

In the second motion, Lewis argued that evidence of his refusing to take the blood test should be suppressed because blood tests must be administered within two hours to be scientifically reliable, and there is no evidence showing when the truck went into the ditch. Refusal to submit to a sobriety test can increase the penalty in a DUI case.

Judge W. L. “Skip” Hammons Jr. denied both motions.

“Mr. Lewis is presumed innocent,” his attorney, Conrad Cessna, told the paper. https://www.wkrn.com/news/kentucky/judge-wont-toss-evidence-in-kentucky-lawmakers-dui-case/

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