U.S. Capitol building

Classic D.C. Trial Transcript: Thomas Key on William St. Ledger, Part I

Jamison KoehlerDUI and Driving Offenses, Trial Advocacy

In 2010, Thomas Key and Bryan Brown almost single-handedly dismantled the Metropolitan Police Department’s DUI program through a series of remarkable revelations about the inadequacies of the program.

In 2011, the two defense attorneys set their sights on the program run by U.S. Capitol Police.  Here is Thomas Key cross-examining U.S. Capitol Police Officer William St. Ledger on a sign that was posted in each of the rooms containing an Intoxilyzer.  (Tomorrow’s entry will reproduce a different part of the transcript.)  The judge is Frederick Sullivan.  Peter Saba is the prosecutor.


Q:  Officer St. Ledger, you’ve been running the program for how long?

A:  I’ve been part of the program since 1993.

Q:  Okay, at any time since 1993 when you’ve been part of the program, was there at any time a sign in any one of the rooms where those machines were located that said anything along the lines of, do not record bad cal checks?

A:  I believe so.

Q:  You believe so.  All right, when was that sign first there.

A:  That I don’t know.

Q:  It’s been there a long time, right?

A:  It’s been there a while, yes, sir.

Q:  Okay, approximately when did it first get there?

A:  I can’t answer that?

Q:  Was it there in 2000?

A:  I don’t recall.

Q:  Okay, is it still there?

A:  I don’t really know.  I don’t really –

Q:  I thought you said you were in those rooms each and every day?

A:  I am, but I don’t look at all the paperwork on the –

Q:  There’s a –

A:  — walls and stuff.

Q:  — big sign over the machines that tells the officers not to record certain data and you’re saying you don’t know whether it’s there today?

A:  Correct.

Q:  Okay, why would there be a sign – we’ll strike that.  So, there’s a sign that says when there’s something negative from the machine don’t put it in the log, right?

A:  No, if the cal check falls below a 0.09 take the instrument out of service.

Q:  That’s not what it says.  It says, don’t record the cal check that showed that it fell below a 0.09.  Isn’t that what it says?

A:  No, it says basically – I don’t know what it says, but what it means is you take the instrument out of service.

Q:  I didn’t ask you what it meant.  I asked you what it says, and does it say –

A:  I don’t recall what it says.

Q: — not to –

MR. SABA:  Your Honor –

THE COURT:  Do you know the exact verbiage?

MR. KEY:  Does it say –

THE COURT:  Do you know the exact verbiage?

THE WITNESS:  No, sir.

THE COURT:  All right, he doesn’t know.


Q:  Okay.  Okay, so in general it says – well, could you go and get us a copy of it?  Is there any reason why you couldn’t go and get us a copy of it?

MR. SABA:  Your Honor, objection.  That’s not even a question and it’s too late –

MR. KEY:  What do you mean, it’s not a question?

MR. SABA:  — for Mr. Key – Mr. Key asked a question and he has answered.

THE COURT:  Well, why do we need a copy of it?

MR. KEY:  Well, if he doesn’t seem to recall exactly what it says.

THE COURT:  Well, I mean, I don’t think we send witnesses off to get things when they don’t remember.

MR. KEY:  We certainly can when he doesn’t recall.  That would refresh your memory –

THE COURT:  Well, but Mr. –

MR. KEY:  — by looking at it.

THE COURT:  I’ve never seen – practiced 35 years – I’ve never seen a witness leave the courtroom and come back with a sign, something that he didn’t remember, go home and get it and tell us what it is.  I mean, he told he doesn’t remember, that’s it.


Q:  Okay, so you don’t remember exactly what it says, but you agreed that it basically said, don’t record negative cal checks, right?

A:  Don’t record a cal check below 0.09.

Q:  Okay, so when there’s a cal check below a 0.09 that shows that something wrong with the machine or something wrong with the solution, right?

A:  Yes.

Q:  Okay, and that could be recorded in the log, right?

A:  No, we –

Q:  The log is supposed to record every test that that machine does, right?

MR. SABA:  Your Honor –

THE COURT:  Hold on –

MR. SABA:  — I object.

THE COURT:  Hold on.

MR. SABA:  I would ask Mr. Key to allow the witness to answer the question.

THE COURT:  Yeah, yeah, let’s not argue with the witness too much.  All right.

MR. KEY:  Is the log –

THE COURT:  All right, ask a question.


Q:  The log is designed to record every simulator or every actual test, right?

A:  No.

Q:  Okay, on the log form itself it doesn’t say anything about don’t record cal checks that are below 0.09, does it?

A:  No.

Q:  Okay, so the logbook that you give us would lead us to believe that there’s never a cal check below a 0.09, wouldn’t it?

A:  I don’t know if you would come up with that conclusion or not.

Q:  Well, if they’re told not to record them on the logbook when it’s below a 0.09, then they wouldn’t be in the logbook, would they?

A:  No.

Q:  And so you don’t generally tell people that there’s a sign that tells people not to record bad information about the machine, do you?

A:  It’s not bad information about the machine.

Q:  You don’t generally tell people about this sign, do you?

A:  Tell what people?

Q:  You haven’t disclosed to any defense attorney before that there’s a sign up, have you?

A:  No.

MR. SABA:  Your Honor, that’s an improper question.  He doesn’t –

MR. KEY:  It’s not –


MR. SABA:  He doesn’t – Officer St. Ledger doesn’t disclose –

THE COURT:  No, I – wait a second –

MR. SABA:  — things.

THE COURT:  — hold a second, hold a second, hold a second.  This police officer can take care of himself.

MR.  SABA:  Okay, all right.

THE COURT:  Go ahead, ask the question.


Q:  Okay, so you haven’t told any other defense attorney, by the way, the reason there’s no simulator checks below 0.09 or above 0.11 is because I told them not to record those, have you?

THE COURT:  Well, that – now that has a lot of facts in one question and you’ve got to break it up, all right?

MR. KEY:  Certainly, Your Honor.

THE COURT:  He can’t answer yes or no to that question.


Q:  Have you ever told any other defense attorney about this sign?

A:  No.

Q:  Okay, the sign’s been there a long time, right?

A:  Yes.