Judges Sets Trial After Petty Traffic Stop Leads to Serious Charges

Bizar Male

By Anika Khubchandani and Ganga Nair 

SACRAMENTO, CA –  Defendant Kevin Eugene Humphrey is facing a slew of charges, including driving with a suspended license, possession of methamphetamine and narcotics, and driving under the influence.

His legal counsel, however, argued here this week in Sacramento County Superior Court that it was not clear whether the DUI charge has sufficient evidence for the defendant to be brought to arraignment. 

The court decided the case should go to trial, based on the testimony of one police officer, who admitted it all started with a very minor traffic infraction.

Officer Brian Herrin testified that he saw a Dodge Sedan stop past the crosswalk limit line at a red light, causing him to conduct an enforcement stop. And that he said found that the defendant did not have a valid California license. 

The officer added that Humphrey spoke in a “rapid” manner, and “his eyes were red and bloodshot and he was very fidgety sitting in the driver’s seat with his legs in his hands.” 

After the defendant admitted to using methamphetamine, Herrin conducted a driving under the influence (DUI) investigation. He checked the defendant’s records, which showed the defendant’s California driver’s license was suspended, and he was on formal probation with Sacramento County. 

Officer Herrin subjected the defendant to a series of sobriety tests, including the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the modified Romberg balance test, the one-leg stand, and the walk-and-turn, all of which the defendant failed. 

Herrin said he observed the oral cavities of the defendant, and found grayish bumps and a white mucus surrounding his tongue. Officer Herrin arrested the defendant under the suspicion of a DUI, and began searching his car. 

The officer, certified in drug recognition, found a Crown Royal bag containing two canisters of a white substance in the defendant’s car, which he attributed to a usable amount of methamphetamine. He also found a glass pipe which the officer recognized from his training experience to be one used to smoke methamphetamine. 

Officer Herrin then read the defendant his Miranda rights, which were then revoked by Humphrey, admitting that the drugs were his drugs. The officer said a blood test was conducted showing methamphetamine in his blood. 

Humphrey’s defense attorney, Stephen Hirsch, noted the defendant’s medical conditions, including asthma, high blood pressure, as well as screws in his right ankle from a prior injury. He also noted the defendant did not sleep the previous night and only took “a one hour nap” in the afternoon. 

Also, Hirsch stressed the defendant used methamphetamine around eight and a half hours before driving the vehicle, arguing the concentration of methamphetamine in the defendant’s blood was likely residual. 

Since there is no way of proving that the defendant was truly intoxicated at the time of his arrest, Hirsch claims that there is “not enough evidence of impairment” for a DUI charge. 

Judge Laurie Earl decided differently, ruling there was sufficient evidence for all four charges and set defendant Humphrey’s jury trial for August 23.

Anika Khubchandani is a 4th year student at UC Davis majoring in both political science and economics. She is from San Jose, CA.

Ganga Nair is a rising sophomore at UC Davis, majoring in International Relations and Psychology. She is from Sacramento, CA and hopes to pursue a career in international law.

 


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