Louisville, Kentucky Metro Corrections officer Liliana Hernandez has been suspended after being accused of lying under oath last month. According to court records, Hernandez falsely claimed on a form that a suspect refused to take a breath test, for which the suspect’s license was automatically suspended. She repeated the same fabrication while testifying in court under oath. A video recording from the jail shows that the suspect expressed an unequivocal willingness to take the test.
An internal investigation is looking into other potential misconduct, which could jeopardize hundreds of drunk-driving cases.
Metro Corrections director Mark Bolton said in a news release that Hernandez was a witness in over 200 pending DUI cases, putting the outcome of those cases at risk. He explained that the department spent significant time and resources training Hernandez, and that she has seriously damaged her reputation and has destroyed her career with Metro Corrections. Bolton concluded that he’s “disgusted by what the court record reveals about the officer’s conduct in this case.”
Suspect Andrew Stubbins was charged on October 31, 2014 with careless driving and DUI after he almost struck an officer’s vehicle. In the hearing regarding the motion to suppress Hernandez’s report, Stubbins’ lawyer, Paul Gold, asked Hernandez on the stand whether she had been truthful when she wrote that Stubbins refused the test. She at first said she had been. But after Gold showed her a recording of the proceeding several times, she admitted to lying in the report and on the stand.
At the jail following Stubbins’ arrest, Hernandez told Stubbins she was going to indicate on the form that he was refusing the breathalyzer test. According to the video, however, Stubbins said, “Absolutely not, I’m not refusing.” Hernandez erroneously recorded that Stubbins replied, “Fine.”
Hernandez also lied when Stubbins asked about her job, responding that she was a breath test operator. According to Assistant Jail Director Stephen Durham, Hernandez had been transferred to another position in the jail and was suspended from working even part-time in the breath test lab.
The judge suppressed Hernandez’s report. After a June bench trial, Stubbins was acquitted of the DUI but found guilty of careless driving.
Gold indicated that Hernandez is listed as a witness in 295 pending DUI cases in which she might be called to testify, all of which are now in jeopardy because her admission to lying in Stubbins’ case will likely be used to impeach her credibility in future cases.
A spokesperson for the county attorney’s office said the office is in the process of determining the best course of action to move forward. Bolton plans to work closely with the investigators and prosecutors assigned to the case until he gets to the bottom of it.
“This is not how we operate,” Bolton said. “And this is not how we act as sworn criminal justice professionals.”
If you have been charged with a DUI crime in Illinois, it is crucial to speak to an experienced Illinois DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Harvatin Law Offices, PC provides knowledgeable representation for those in Springfield and throughout Illinois. We have considerable experience defending individuals charged with DUI offenses. To learn more and to set up a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 217.525.0520.
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Six Hundred California Traffic Cases Under Review for Corruption, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg, July 1, 2015.
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