The Verdict Is In!
After a long and tumultuous trial that made headlines every time the court reconvened, a verdict has been reached in the drunk driving case of Eric Mays.
Mays, a Flint Councilman whose role in politics has been hotly contested by other city officials, chose to represent himself in court. This resulted in a trial that came to be known more for it’s deviation from standard procedure than it’s effectiveness in executing the law.
Presiding Judge Nathaniel Perry III and prosecutor Michael Gildner were outspoken in their frustration for Mays’ lack of familiarity with the legal process. On numerous occasions throughout Eric Mays trial, Mays was admonished by the judge for speaking out of turn and for his conduct in court.
Mays’ defense strategy hinged on his assumption that all of the charges against him are part of a larger conspiracy, engineered by his political enemies to force him out of office. He has been unable to prove this theory, however, as the judge refused to allow him permission to call as witnesses political figures who are in no way related to the case, or the events on the night of his arrest.
During the trial, Mays had accused police officers of lying in their testimonies. He took out his dentures at one point in an attempt to prove his perspective on Breathalyzers, and has attempted to call as witnesses people who were not present at the scene on the night in question.
And in keeping with the theme of the trial thus far, even the jury was unable to complete their duties without some drama. They first told the judge that they were unable to reach a verdict as a result of being deadlocked on all counts, but were sent back to deliberate further.
On Thursday, June 26th, the jury finally handed down a verdict that captures their struggle with the trial. Mays was found to be not guilty of three misdemeanors – operating a vehicle while intoxicated, possession of marijuana and refusing to be fingerprinted. But the operating a vehicle while intoxicated charge was replaced with a lesser charge, driving while impaired, for which Mays was found guilty.
But with regard to the fourth and final charge – failure to report an accident – the jury remained deadlocked and was completely unable to reach any kind of agreement. Sentencing for the driving while impaired charge has been scheduled for Friday, July 18th.