Watson, who is a former Newton County prosecuting attorney, had his driving privileges suspended after he was arrested for driving while intoxicated 1:15 a.m. July 2 at the 9 mile marker on eastbound I-44.
In his ruling, Curless noted several errors committed by the police officer during the stop, which was recorded on video.
Petitioner was marked on the Alcohol Influence Report as failed on the walk-and-turn test in part for raising his hands above six inches for balance, when in fact the review of the video shows that petitioner did not raise his hands as indicated.
Petitioner was not asked about his physical limitations or disabilities until after the walk-and-turn and one-leg-stand tests were administered. Petitioner's physical limitations render those tests unreliable under NHTSA guidelines.
The PBT administered to petitioner was given without sufficient time lapse to allow for the dissipation of residual mouth alcohol, rendering the PBT results void.
Based on the previously outlined deficiencies in the Standard Field Sobriety Tests and PBT, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that petitioner was operating the vehicle in an intoxicated condition.
Watson told the Carthage Press the stop occurred after he and his wife left Turtleheads after a family karaoke night after midnight. Watson said he had two drinks between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
From the Press article:
"People say, why didn't you take the test?" Watson said. "Here's the answer, I knew from the first examination that this was an officer who, I'm not going to say was not trained, but he'd already made at least two significant errors. Not only that, I'm already in handcuffs. If I would have taken the test and blown a .02, is he going to unarrest me? No, I don't think so."
The Newton County Prosecuting Attorney's office did not file DWI charges against Watson after the arrest.
Also from the Press article:
"Do I wish it had never happened?" he said. "Yeah. But I knew I hadn't done anything wrong. It's not against the law to stay out until 12:15 a.m. I had the full support of my employer and they've been good to me. On the other hand, I don't have any animus whatsoever toward the officer. Everybody makes mistakes, I make mistakes every day, so when a guy makes a mistake, you have to cut him a break. It is what it is."