Saturday, January 21, 2017

Judge restores Mercy McCune-Brooks administrator's driving privileges

Citing errors made by a Joplin police officer during a traffic stop, Judge Charles Curless restored the driving privileges of Mercy McCune-Brooks Hospital Administrator Scott Watson.

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.

The horizontal gaze nystagmus test given to the petitioner was not conducted in accordance with NHTSA guidelines in that the petitioner was facing oncoming traffic on Interstate 44 at night, therefor subjecting the petitioner to optokinetic nystagmus, which renders the test void and unreliable.

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.

Watson said he submitted to four field sobriety tests, which the officer said he failed. He said the officer put him in handcuffs in the back of the patrol car before asking if he would take the Breathalyzer test, which he refused.

"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:

Watson said the incident was a learning experience, and he was heartened to see how his friends and co-workers stuck by him.

"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."


Anonymous said...

Seriously....on all these grounds I should have never received one either....I just didn't have the money or influence he does I guess.

Anonymous said...

Yes 744, the document he had to file to do this cost a whole $35.

Anonymous said...

The issue was not money or influence but, rather, knowledge of the law earned by decades spent in a courtroom.

Anonymous said...

The good old boys strike again.

Concerned citizen said...

He is a good person.

Anonymous said...

Getting off "scott free" - is knowing how to circumvent the law and being politically connected. The irony is how many drivers has Scott prosecuted for the same offense? The information from this article was from the "Carthage Press" not the "Joplin Globe" that protects the "community elitists." The Newton County prosecutor - did not file any charges (what a shock)!!!

What a "privileged dbag"!!

Anonymous said... said this was handled by a prosecutor Don Trotter who is not from Newton County.

Anonymous said...

Total bullshit

Anonymous said...

I know who I'll be retaining if I ever get into any criminal trouble. Judd McPherson, that's who.

Anonymous said...

This was not a get out of jail free card play. Scott suffered the cost to his reputation as well as the cost of his defense and the inconvenience of defending himself from a charge which should have never been brought in the first place. This does point to a serious problem in our legal system, namely the field sobriety test. Since these tests are all based upon balance, coordination and spacial acuity, I guarantee you that the average person could not pass one stone cold sober. Add to this the compounding factors of age and/or physical restrictions and you do not have a prayer of passing one. Now, when that arresting Officer lays his hands on you, it is time to stop cooperating, no exceptions. That Officer has already judged you as guilty so to continue the farce will only add points of probably cause to the charge. Additionally the average breath testing machine is rarely calibrated correctly and you have the probability of a false positive. Moral of the story, start the process immediately by refusing to take the field sobriety test. You will immediately be arrested but you will not be fighting points of probably cause based upon a test you cannot pass regardless of whether you are drunk or sober.

Anonymous said...

@1:31 You are exactly right, his case was sent to a special prosecutor Don Trotter. Some people on here think they know everything. His case wasn't handled in Newton County at all, By the way JPD has a reputation for this kind of non-sense, If you ever find yourself in same situation Just Call Judd....

Anonymous said...

yeah right...I'm sure the good ole boy system had nothing to do with it. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Of course curless let him off! He's as big a drunk as there is! Please stay out of Dade Co Mr. overrated!!