The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled on a deputy sheriff’s drunk driving conviction.
On a cold night in February of last year a state trooper found Polk County Deputy Sheriff John Braswell and his girlfriend asleep in a black Mercedes that was parked outside a convenience store in West Des Moines. The engine was running and the car’s lights were on.
Braswell appealed his drunken driving conviction, arguing the test which showed his blood alcohol level at .137 should not have been used against him during his jury trial. The appeals court has agreed, ruling the test was taken more than two hours after the deputy’s arrest, despite the “concerted effort” of the state trooper to get it done. Such tests, by law, are to be taken within two hours of a drunken driving arrest.
The case now goes back to district court, for a new trial — one in which the blood alcohol test cannot be cited as evidence.
One of the judges on the Iowa Court of Appeals wrote a dissent, arguing his colleagues had come to the “erroneous” conclusion about the timing of the arrest, and he cited to “stalling” tactics the deputy sheriff may have engaged in to delay the test.