MSP Trooper BAC Results Can be Used as Evidence
When MSP trooper Sammy Seymour went to trial in May of this year, on a drunk driving charge, the result was a hung jury. Deadlocked, the jury couldn’t come to any kind of agreement, and Seymour walked out of the courtroom a free man after the mistrial.
But according to the prosecutor’s office, the reason for the jury’s troubles were in part because Mason County District Judge Peter Wadel, who oversaw the trial, chose to suppress evidence. And they quickly set about appealing as much of that as they could.
Court records show that Judge Wadel did not allow the prosecution to reveal to the jury some of Seymour’s statements that were made during his traffic stop. Nor did he allow the prosecution to share the results of the eye-movement portion of the roadside sobriety tests, called the Horizontal Eye Nystagmus Test.
Along with those two pieces of evidence, the judge also excluded from the trial the following: the fact that Seymour was an MSP trooper, the fact that arresting officers had found an empty beer container in his vehicle, and the fact that Seymour asked his arresting officers for professional courtesy in their dealings with him.
But the item that the prosecution feels is going to make a difference in the next trial, is the BAC results. Although Judge Jeffrey Nellis has upheld the rulings made by Judge Wadel regarding the suppression of the other evidence, he overruled Wadel’s decision regarding the results of Seymour’s BAC test. The prosecution is, expectedly, very pleased.
Seymour, a 41-year-old resident of Ludington, was arrested on January 17th, in the city of Ludington. He was off duty at the time, but was placed on administrative duty at the Cadillac post where he worked, following his arrest.
He was initially charged with operating while intoxicated, and open intoxicant in a vehicle, although the second charge was dismissed by Judge Wadel. The new trial, which has not been scheduled yet, will include the formerly disallowed BAC evidence from Seymour’s arrest, but not any of the other evidence that Wadel chose to suppress. However, only time will tell if the end results are going to be any different.