Flint Councilman Gets His Day in Court
Eric Mays, the Flint councilman who has been charged with drunk driving, has been engaged in a drunk driving trial in the Flint District Court that will be remembered for it’s eccentricities, if nothing else. Mays elected to represent himself in court, choosing to forgo the counsel of two separate attorneys prior to trial, much to the dismay of Judge Nathaniel Perry.
Mays chose not to make an opening statement to the jury, but did take the opportunity to berate the judge for undermining his ability to defend himself and “ripping the heart out of his strategy” by ruling that potential exhibits and witnesses Mays had hoped to include, were not relevant to the charges against him.
On numerous occasions throughout the trial, Mays has been called out by the judge, who warned of contempt charges, ordered him to “stop soap-boxing”, and told him that Mays just didn’t understand what the rules of a courtroom were. Such are the hazards of being your own defense attorney.
According to Genesee Township police reports, Mays was found at about 3 am on November 30th, talking on a cell phone next to the car he had been driving. The car was damaged, with a broken axle and fluid leaks, and was facing the wrong way on I-475. It had two flat tires and two missing tires. The Flint police were also called to the scene as the incident appeared related to a reported wrong-way driver and accident that had occurred in Flint.
Special Prosecutor Michael J. Gildner told jurors that Mays admitted to police officers that he had been drinking and driving that morning. This information was corroborated by two officers who later testified during the trial.
Former Genesee Township police Officer Alexander Knopp gave testimony, saying that Mays had initially been polite and cordial when police arrived at the scene, telling them that he had been celebrating his election. Officers noted that he had slurred speech and was rambling in his conversation, saying that he had “messed up” and needed help to keep the incident quiet.
However, when Flint police arrived a short time later and patted him down, Mays allegedly became angry and hostile, cursing at the officers. Mays challenged this testimony during cross-examination, along with the testimony of other officers who also testified at the trial.
A Flint Police sergeant, with 19-years of experience as a police officer, was also cross examined by Mays. The sergeant testified that she had observed him for 15 minutes prior to the administering of his Breathalyzer test. She stated that, with her experience, she was able to determine that he was “highly intoxicated” by his demeanor, mood swings, and agitation during the arrest.
Mays removed his dentures while cross examining the sergeant, asking if she had known that he wore dentures, and whether or not it was possible for dentures to affect a Breathalyzer test by providing a false reading.