The Xeroxing of Arrest Reports in a DWI/DUI Case
by Jamison Koehler on July 30, 2010
With two DWI trials coming up, I will be focusing myself, as well as this blog, on the science and law related to this issue. I am also consulting what I have found to be the best resource I have ever found on DWI/DUI defense: Drunk Driving Defense by Lawrence Taylor and Steven Oberman. Although I have handled hundreds of DWI cases over my career, and taken a large percentage of these to trial, there is always much more to learn.
Taylor and Oberman talk about what they call the “xeroxing” of police arrest reports. They have found that, unable to remember the specific details of an individual arrest, police officers often simply copy from one report while doing another. Red and glassy eyes? Check. Slurred speech? Check. Fumbled with wallet while producing license? Check. And so on.
Realizing that this type of thing was going on, the two authors have successfully challenged many cases by requesting copies of all the arrest reports prepared by a particular officer around the date in question. They found that in some cases all the arrest reports filled out by the officer were identical.
They then tell a great story they claim to be true. A relative of one of the authors was sitting in a bar or café with a police officer as the officer filled out multiple arrest reports. My goodness, the relative said. How can you possibly remember the details of so many different arrests?
These aren’t past arrests, the police officer replied. These are future arrests.