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DUI CASES AT RISK AS BREATH TEST WORKER ADMITS LIES


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8/11/2015
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Jeopardizing hundreds of drunken-driving cases, a former breath test operator for the Louisville Metro Corrections has been suspended after allegations that she lied on a report and in testimony under oath.

A video recording from the jail shows that Liliana Hernandez falsely claimed on a form and in court that a suspect refused to take a breath test, for which his license was automatically suspended.

The recording shows that he wanted to take the test, according to court records.

Mark Bolton, director of Metro Corrections, said in a news release Friday that he was “disgusted by what the Court record reveals about the officer’s conduct in this case.”

“If these allegations are true, this officer has done tremendous damage to her reputation and ruined her career with Metro Corrections,” he said.

Bolton said in the statement that Louisville Metro Police have been notified and that Metro Corrections is also conducting an internal investigation. Bolton also said Hernandez is a witness in more than 200 DUI cases.

The report came in a drunken-driving case against Andre Stubbins, who was charged Oct. 31 with careless driving and DUI on the Watterson Expressway, where he nearly struck an officer’s vehicle, according to a citation.

Moving to suppress Hernandez’s report, Stubbins’ lawyer, Paul Gold, asked her in a June 21 hearing in Jefferson District Court if she had been truthful when she wrote in it that Stubbins had refused the test.

She said she had been, but after he showed her a recording of the proceeding several times, she admitted she had lied in the report and in her testimony.

During the exam, when she told him she was going to indicate he was refusing the test, he said, “Absolutely not, I’m not refusing,” according to the video. Instead, she wrote down that he replied, “Fine.”

Gold also said she lied when she was asked her job and she said she was a breath test operator.

In fact, she had previously transferred to another position in the jail, then was suspended from working even part time in the breath test lab based on other allegations made by Gold, according to Assistant Jail Director Stephen Durham.

Hernandez did not respond to an email sent to her Friday morning at work.

The report was suppressed and after a bench trial June 22, Stubbins was acquitted of DUI and found guilty of careless driving, for which he was fined $50 plus court costs.

Gold said Hernandez is listed as a witness in 295 drunken-driving cases in which she could be called to testify, all of which are now in jeopardy because her admission could be used to impeach her credibility, he said.

Jessie Halladay, a spokeswoman for the county attorney’s office, said it is “working to determine the best course of action moving forward as it relates to the cases she was involved in.”

Bolton said in the statement that he will work closely with police and prosecutors.

“This is not how we train,” he said. “This is not how we operate. And this is not how we act as sworn criminal justice professionals.”



Category: DUI/OVI/Traffic


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