At about 2:00 AM on February 4, 2014 the Andover police noticed a car parked on a street near downtown Andover. The car was running and the lights were on. MG, a 41 year old man from North Andover was alone in the car, in the front seat, slumped over the steering wheel. He appeared to be either asleep or passed out. The police banged on the car and rocked the car in an attempt to get his attention – no luck. The police then smashed the rear driver’s side window and gained access to the car and unlocked the door. MG was alive and breathing but efforts to wake him were progressing slowly. According to the police report a strong odor of alcohol was coming from him and the car. In addition the police found a beer carton in the back seat with a number of empty beer bottles in the carton. Finally the police were able to awaken MG. According to the police report MG was disoriented, was slurring his speech, and had bloodshot and glassy eyes. The police ordered him out of the car. The police report indicates he was swaying when he stood. The police asked MG to perform field sobriety tests and he refused. The police arrested MG for operating under the influence of alcohol and he was brought to the police station where he was booked and he refused to take a breath test. For refusing the breath test MG lost his license for 180 days (mandatory loss of license for a breath test refusal if you have no prior DUI offenses). MG hired Attorney Robert Lewin.
Attorney Lewin met at length with MG to go over the facts and prepare the case. Attorney Lewin also made a demand of the Andover Police Department (through the DA’s Office) for a copy of any video recordings made in the police station book area of MG. The “official response” from the DA’s Office was that there was no video. On April 7, 2014 MG’s case went to a jury trial in Lawrence District Court. The arresting officer testified pretty much as set forth in his police report. The booking officer took the stand and this is where the state’s case began to crumble. The booking officer, in response to a series of questions asked by Attorney Lewin, described the video system in the Andover Police Station, and in particular in the booking area. He described how there is a video camera that points directly at an arrested subject. He also testified that to his knowledge there is a recording made. He testified that to his knowledge no effort had been made to locate the video of MG. Attorney Lewin asked to approach the Judge with the DA and Attorney Lewin moved for a mistrial on the grounds that he had asked for the video, was told there was no video, and now it appeared that there may very well be a video. The Judge denied the request for a mistrial and permitted the trial to continue. MG testified that he had got up on the morning of February 4 at 5:00 AM; that he drove from North Andover to Andover to the commuter rail station; that he parked his car on the street; that he took the train to work and worked until ~ 5:30 PM; that he then walked from his office in Boston to a sports pub in Boston where he met a good friend for dinner; that he had dinner with the friend and had two beers during dinner plus water and a diet coke; that at 8:15 PM they both then left; that he returned to work and worked until ~11:00PM; that he then walked from work to North Station; took the commuter train back to Andover and walked to his car. He testified that it was very cold and his windows were frozen over. He got in his car, started the car up, put the front defroster on and the rear defogger on, and then fell asleep. The next thing he remembered was being woken up by the police. He testified that he had fallen into a deep sleep and it took him a minute to wake up; he also testified that he was sober. His friend with whom he had dinner also testified.
The trial had started at about 10:00 AM and the case went to the jury at 2:55 PM; twenty minutes later at 3:15 PM the jury came in with a verdict of not guilty. Attorney Lewin then filed a Motion for Return of MG’s License which the court granted. MG was arrested on February 5, 2014 and found not guilty by a jury on April 7, 2014 and has his license back. As MG and Attorney Lewin left the Lawrence District Court MG gave Attorney Lewin a firm handshake and a big thank you.

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