Former Alaska Department of Fish & Game commissioner Denby Lloyd, arrested for drunken driving in August 2010, was in Juneau Superior Court Thursday for an evidentiary hearing before Judge Patricia Collins.
Lloyd’s attorney Louis Menendez alleged Juneau Police Department Officer Thomas Penrose did not have just cause to make the initial traffic stop on Lloyd, which resulted in his arrest.
City and Bureau of Juneau attorney Robyn Carlisle argued Penrose did indeed have a reasonable suspicion to make the stop downtown.
The hearing was supposed to be completed within the day, but a fire alarm required the courthouse to be emptied and then a subsequent video and audio problem resulted in only one witness being called by Carlisle and no time for cross-examination from Menendez.
Carlisle called Penrose, a two-year JPD employee, to the stand.
Menendez objected to a line of questioning asking Penrose as to the type of people and establishments that function downtown late at night. Menendez commented a person going out for a doughnut at 2 a.m. could go downtown.
Collins said she was well aware perfectly sober people drive downtown in Juneau at night.
Penrose next gave an accounting of the incident involving Lloyd. He said at about 1 a.m. Aug. 8, while in a marked patrol car, he observed Lloyd’s vehicle, a red Chevrolet pickup, driving down Seward Street near the Front Street intersection.
The vehicle signaled for an illegal turn down a one-way street. Penrose positioned his patrol vehicle so the turn could not be made and Lloyd turned correctly down Front Street and left onto Marine Way.
Penrose followed Lloyd onto South Franklin Street. During this time Penrose observed an expired vehicle registration tag and called JPD dispatch to confirm.
Penrose pulled Lloyd over near the 100 block of North Franklin Street. When Penrose went to Lloyd’s vehicle he made observations that led him to believe Lloyd might have been driving under the influence. The observations included red, bloodshot and watery eyes, slow movements and talking, and difficulty finding his driver’s license, registration and insurance cards, which required help from Lloyd’s wife.
Penrose also said he detected the odor of alcohol. Penrose had Lloyd step out of his vehicle and observed slow movements as Lloyd walked to the back of the pickup.
According to Penrose’s testimony, he asked Lloyd if he had spilled any alcohol and Lloyd said he did not think so. Penrose determined the odor was from Lloyd’s breath and asked if he were willing to submit to standardized field sobriety tests.
Penrose then described the series of field sobriety tests he administered to Lloyd. These tests were played via video and audio to the court.
The video showed Penrose turn off his emergency lights so as not to distract Lloyd. Penrose asked Lloyd if he had any medical issues that might make the tests difficult and Lloyd said no. Tests shown on the video included a horizontal gaze test that alerted Penrose to four clues of failure, including involuntary jerking of the eyes.
The video showed a walk and turn test which revealed five failure clues including not touching heel to toe, losing balance or stepping off the imaginary line, turning incorrectly, and an incorrect number of steps. Penrose stated that officer look for a total of eight clues.
In another test showing Lloyd standing with hands at sides and raising one foot six inches and counting until told to stop, Penrose said Lloyd showed three of four failure clues including swayed balance, raising arms more than four inches and putting his foot down.
According to Penrose’s testimony he asked Lloyd if he were comfortable with the alphabet and number system and Lloyd affirmed he was.
The video shows an alphabet test which Lloyd skipped the letter ‘H’ when told to recite the alphabet from ‘E’ to ‘P’ without singing.
The video showed a counting test, backwards from 69-54, in which Lloyd skipped numbers and forgot where Penrose asked him to stop.
Due to a series of technical glitches there was insufficient time for Menendez to cross-examine Penrose.
Due to conflicting court and vacation schedules by all parties, the hearing will continue April 19.
Menendez and Carlisle had no comment concerning the case, except for a brief discussion of breath test definitions from Carlisle.
Court and police documents show that on the night in question, after failing the field sobriety tests, and being arrested for driving under the influence and reckless endangerment, Lloyd was taken to the JPD where he submitted to a breath test. That test disclosed a result of 0.143. A person is presumed intoxicated at a blood alcohol level of .08.
• Contact Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.