Articles Posted in Field Sobriety Tests

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Recently, we had a trial set in which the prosecutors filed some pretrial motions.  While not uncommon for the prosecutors to file such motions, one of the items they requested I found quite interesting.  MIL

The prosecutors filed a "Motion in Limine." A Motion in Limine is the attorney asking the judge to make the opposing attorney ask permission in advance of doing something.  Some common requests are for an attorney to request the opposing attorney to ask permission during trial in advance of offering expert testimony, or something else they think might be inadmissible and don’t want the jury to hear.

Well, the State’s Motion in Liminie starts out pretty normal, but they then add in the "Biederman & Burleson" Clause.  Both my partner Troy Burleson and myself are both certified to administer Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. This is the same certification the police officer’s have.  I am an instruction in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (I can teach the course that certifies the students). I guess they State doesn’t like the jury know we have more specialized knowledge than most of the officers.

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I dont usually post video clips.  Especially because every time I see one posted, I’ve seen it 50 times already.  But here is an old one, that I have just never seen before.  From the 1983 Steve Martin movie, "The Man With Two Brains."  Enjoy.


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A great point was made recently by Jamie Spencer (through George Scharmen at the Rusty Duncan Criminal Defense Seminar put on by TCDLA) regarding the cross examination of an officer about HGN.

Jamie points out in "Nystagmus, Mostly Leave it Alone" that not a lot of cross examination is necessary.  Mark Bennett agrees in his comment that "juries are duly unimpressed with the ‘pen voodoo’ as one juror called it post-trial."

Here is my take on it:

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I spent this past weekend at a certification course to gain the same certification the police officers have in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing.  I was going to attempt a daily blog about the course, but I ended up too tired with with too  much to do each day I went home.

This course certifies the participant as a practitioner in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing.  It was put on by Lance Platt.  This is the same course that the police go through.  It also provides the students with the latest edition of the SFST manual (August 2008.)

All in all, it was a fantastic course.  Nice to learn some new information, but also particularly nice to know the exact training the officers go through… or lack thereof.  That is some of the stuff I plan on writing about.  How, although this 2.5 day course is good, it is no where near enough information I would like a police officer to have when taking away someones liberty.