It’s about midnight over on Main Street drag in Grapevine and the defendant has gone to a restaurant and a bar, Esparza’s and Tolbert’s.
As he pulls out of the parking lot or as he pulls out of the street onto the main drag, Officer Hollwedel is on patrol. And he sees the defendant pull out into the street. And you’re going to see that he has no lights on.
The officer speeds up just a little bit because he wants to make sure. And sure enough, there’s no lights. So you will be able to see. And you will be able to see Officer Hollwedel’s dashcam footage and his bodycam. So you will be able to see the defendant without his lights.
He pulls him over and he gets out of the car and he starts talking to him. And Officer Hollwedel is going to tell you he immediately smells alcohol coming off of his breath. So he asks him, how much have you had to drink? And the defendant says, couple beers.
So he’s like, okay, where you been? I was out just leaving Tolbert’s. And he asked him how much he’d had. And he says, oh, I’ve had a couple. How long have you been there? Oh, about 45 minutes. He can hear the speech is slurred. He could smell the alcohol. And so he calls for another officer to come and help. Officer Moeller, who you will also meet, came up and had the same conversation with the defendant.
Now, we talked a lot in voir dire about mental and physical faculties. Okay. We don’t have falling down drunk here.
You’re not going to see someone stumbling. You’re not going to see someone vomiting everywhere, all right? And you’re not even going to have a chance to see any of the SFST’s because when the officer asked the defendant to do it, he said that he was going to refuse. And that’s his right.
So the officer explains to him that you understand by doing this, I have to make a decision based on what I know? And the defendant says he understands. And so the defendant is arrested and we go back to the jail and he reads him his warnings.
And he asks, do you want to do blood or breath? Defendant says no, don’t think so. So the officer gets a warrant. And then we’ll get a number that comes back. And you’re going to see the defendant was almost twice the legal limit.
At the end of the trial, we’re going to ask you to look at all the evidence and we’ll ask you to take into consideration the testimony and everything you see and we’re going to ask you to find the defendant guilty. Thanks.
THE COURT: Defense Counsel
Thank you, Judge.
I’m going to tell y’all that Robert Washington is a very, very fortunate young man. And he’s not fortunate because he has me trying to help him through the worst time of his life, he’s fortunate because he has you.
Because you guys sat right out there and said I will hold the government to their burden of proof. I will demand that they bring me proof beyond a reasonable doubt. And the judge swore you in to follow the law and that’s the law and you took an oath and you said you’d do it. And that, at the end of the day, is all I can ask for; and Robert, too. So that makes him a very fortunate man that he has six people that are willing to hold the government to their burden of proof.
And I will tell you some other reason that is a huge reason that Robert is a very fortunate man. And that is that there is a videotape in this case. I am so grateful and relieved that there is a videotape in this case. You’re not going to have to take my word for it, their word for it, the officer’s word for it. Because you can see with your own two eyes exactly in real time what it was like out there for Robert. You can see his driving, you can see the officers question him, you can hear his responses and you will be able to judge for yourself. Not their opinion, your opinion on whether or not Robert was intoxicated.
And I’m going to tell you what you’re going to see is a young man who told the truth. Yep, I’ve been over there and I’ve had a couple drinks. But he wasn’t intoxicated. Okay.
He leaves — I mean, it is such a short distance from the parking lot of that place to the main drag. Now, he did not have his full headlamps on. But you’ll see when he stepped there that he’s got his turn signal on it to the left.
And as he turns onto Main Street and then the officer pulls up and initiates his red and blues, you’ll see that Robert turns his turn signal on to the right to get off. That shows you someone is thinking. They’re not intoxicated. They know they’ve got to drive safely, turn on the blinker. And he does.
And he doesn’t just pull over haphazardly on the road. You will see that Robert pulled very responsibly into a very good area that is safe for the officers that have to get out and come up there. Because there are people on Main Street in Grapevine at night. And Robert made a very good selection. And you will get to see this. Not taking my word for it.
There’s two different cameras. The officers have a dashcam and they also have a body cam. And I’m going to ask you to really pay attention to the second officer’s body cam, because it’s the best.
You will see that when they went up to Robert and they asked him for his driver’s license, that he reached right in his pocket. He wasn’t doing the drunk thing looking through, you know what I mean, trying to figure out if it’s his Visa card or his driver’s license. He produces his driver’s license just like that.
You will see a very nice young man, a respectful young man who is not slurring his speeches — his speech, like I just did.
When they asked him to get out of the car, he gets out without any problem. There is no leaning on the car, there is no swaying going on, there is no unsteady balance. There is not any of the signs that you see of a person who they claim is twice the legal limit. You see a very nice young man who is very respectful and is absolutely not showing any signs of intoxication.
You will see that when they actually arrest him and put his hands behind his back, that would be an awkward way to walk, right? We don’t walk like that. He moves with no problem. He’s not fumbling, he’s not unbalanced at that point either. He gets in the back of the patrol car and they take the short ride to the police department.
And when they pull up in the sallyport and the officer goes over and opens the door, Robert didn’t need assistance getting out. Robert was able, even with that behind his back, to get out and stand there and answer the officer’s questions.
And the officer did ask for sample of his breath. He did not ask for a sample of blood. So I disagree with the government on that issue. He asked for a sample of his breath and Robert said no, would you like for me to explain? And the officer said, oh, no. No, that’s it. He did not go on and ask Robert for blood.
And so at any rate, he tells Robert, well, this is it. We’re going to go in there. But before we do, and he opens his little flip notebook. He — here’s the best evidence for you. This is the absolute best evidence for you to determine if this is a young man that had lost the normal use of his mental faculties and was twice the legal limit.
The officer opens his notebook and he asked Robert with rapid-fire questions, okay? Rapid-fire speed. And Robert answered with rapid-fire answers. It was about his vehicle, you know, Jetta or Passat? Four door or two door? What color? He didn’t know his license plate number. But it was rapid fire.
And you have to keep in mind, ladies and gentlemen. This is a DWI officer that is doing this every single night. He knows he was on tape. He knows people are going to listen to him, see his own demeanor. And Robert was already in jail and he had the make of that car and he knew what kind of car Robert had. But he’s asking those questions so maybe he can get the deer in the headlights look. You know, what kind of car do I have?
But instead, you will see someone who absolutely without question answered those questions very, very, very well. Not the sign of someone twice the legal limit. And you don’t have to take anybody’s word for it.
So you say, well, but what about the blood test, Terri? Because didn’t they say there was one coming? And there is one coming. And I think when we slow that process down and we take a look at that — they sent the blood to a laboratory called IFL that quite frankly has fired numerous people for incompetence. There’s been a lot of problems out there. A lot of problems out there. They have lost the business of police departments in San Antonio because of their incompetence.
And so I don’t think when you hear how that lab was set up and some of the things that have happened at that lab — and you can just see how many mistakes are in the making. I mean, it’s just easy. To err is human. To err is human. And when you see how complicated a process it is, I think you will see how easy it is to make a mistake. That’s a lab work, vials have been switched. And so, you know, something happened.
And so at the end of this, you’re going to have to make a decision of what are you going to believe.
Something you can see with your own two eyes on the videotape or some lab where quite frankly I wouldn’t trust anything that came out of it. And I think the answer is not guilty for Robert Washington. Thank you.