Case Studies

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Criminal Sexual Assault Prison Sentence Avoided

POSTED: 2:12 p.m. CST January 31, 2008

CHASKA, MN - After a hearing to address the ability of the alleged six year old child victim's competency, a plea agreement was reached to avoid any prison sentence. Jose Ramirez was charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct with maximum penalties of up to thirty years in prison and a presumptive sentence of twelve years. Based on the plea negotiations, Mr. Ramirez was released after serving less than one year in county jail.

Minneapolis Man's DWI dismissed

POSTED: 1:00 p.m. CST January 12, 2008

MINNEAPOLIS- In 2007, Law enforcement officers received a call that a vehicle was driving erratically. Officers responded and stopped the vehicle without observing any driving conduct by the defendant. The reasonable suspicion for the stop was attacked by defense attorney Maury D. Beaulier and after a probable cause hearing on the issue, the stop was deemed invalid and the charges dismissed without a trial.

Man Acquitted of 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

POSTED: 7:24 p.m. CST November, 2007

JACKSON, MN- After a three day trial Max Sweldon was acquitted of fist degree criminal sexual conduct charges. Max was facing a presumptive sentence of twelve (12) years in prison if convicted.

Max was accused by his wife of sexually assaulting their four year old daughter. the allegations came as the couple was discussing divorce and custody issues. Maury D. Beaulier aggressively challenged the social worker's interview of the minor child and relying on the testimony of an expert witness was able to have it excluded at trial as highly suggestive and incompetent. In a competency hearing, the child was also deemed too unreliable to testify. The state proceeded with physical evidence that was attacked as speculative and indicative of many possible causes. A jury of twelve members acquitted Max Swelton of all charges after only fifty (50) minutes.

Officer Fails to Make Observation Sufficient to Conduct Field Sobriety Tests

POSTED: 9:29 a.m. CST April 24, 2007

BLOOMINGTON- A Bloomington Law enforcement officer stopped a vehicle after it entered interstate 494 when the vehicle failed to signal its lane change and crossed over a lane line. The driver stopped his vehicle immediately on the shoulder and was identified as John Halzinger. While speaking with Mr. Halzinger, the officer detected what he described as "an odor consistent with an alcoholic beverage." Based on that scent, the officer asked Mr. Halzinger to step from the vehicle and perform a variety of field sobriety tests including the walk and turn, one leg stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN). Finally, the officer had Mr. Halzinger provide a preliminary breath test (PBT) which registered in excess of .08 and placed him under arrest.

At trial, attorney Maury D. Beaulier cross examined the officer with regard to his reasonable belief that Mr. Halzinger was intoxicated. Mr. Beaulier asked the officer if he understood that alcohol, in its pure form, has no aroma. After conceding that point, the officer also acknowledged that a scent consistent with an alcoholic beverage could be consistent with non-alcoholic beverages as well including near beers, virgin daiquiries and other similar beverages. Mr. Beaulier also noted that the officer failed to include any observations that Mr. Halzinger displayed a lack of dexterity when presenting his license and registration or a lack of balance when exiting his vehicle. Similarly lacking were any observations that the driver had a flushed face, watery or bloodshot eyes or slurred speech.

At the conclusion of the trial, Mr. Beaulier argued that the officer lacked a reasonable, articulable suspicion that Mr. Halzinger was intoxicated and, as a result, did not have the requisite basis to proceed with field sobriety tests or any breath testing. After a deliberation, the court agreed and Mr. Halzinger's license revocation was rescinded and his license reinstated. The criminal case for DWI was similarly dismissed.

Bloomington Man's DWI license revocation rescinded and DWI charges dismissed

POSTED: 9:04 p.m. CST March 17, 2006

BLOOMINGTON- In 2005, Law enforcement officers received a call that a vehicle was parked along a curb in a residential neighborhood and that a man was passed out on the sidewalk area near the vehicle. After responding to the scene, officers found a parked vehicle with its lights on and roused an intoxicated the Mark Haman on the sidewalk who stated repeatedly that he had not been driving and that he had received a ride to the location from a third party. Police contacted the third party who denied driving. Police cited Mr. Haman with DWI and revoked his driving privileges.

In an Implied Consent hearing, Defense Attorney Maury D. Beaulier presented testimony from the reluctant third party. He agreed that he was at a house party with Mr. Haman. He also agreed that he left the party driving Mr. Haman's vehicle, however, Mr. Haman was intoxicated and belligerent. As a result, the driver became aggravated, pulled to the side of the road and called his girlfriend to pick him up.

The driver's girlfriend also testified that she picked the driver up. Neither witness could recall whether the vehicles lights were left on. The driver testified that he lied to police when the called because he was frightened. He, however, denied drinking.

The trial court found the witnesses were not credible and sustained the revocation and the DWI. Attorney Beaulier, believing that the ruling was contrary to the evidence appealed. However, before the appeal could be heard, the Attorney General's Office agreed that the evidence was weak and agreed to rescind the revocation. The DWI criminal charges were also dismissed.

Edina Woman's DWI charges dismissed After Pretrial Hearing

POSTED: 5:00 p.m. CST March 14, 2006

MINNEAPOLIS-- Helen Eires was stopped and cited with a DWI after testing with a Blood Alcohol Content of .14.

In a pretrial hearing, the officer stated that she stopped Helen Eires as she exited a highway ramp. The officer initially observed her vehicle approaching rapidly from behind and estimated that she was traveling in excess of the posted speed. The officer pulled to the shoulder to get behind the vehicle and observe it further. The officer created a hazard. The Officer also testified that as the vehicle passed her location, it almost side swiped her car. Although the officer testified that the vehicle "must have" crossed a lane line as it passed, the officer admitted she was unable to observe it doing so and that she made no notation in her report about crossing a lane line.

The officer followed the suspect vehicle for another quarter of a mile before activating her lights and stopping the suspect. No other violations were observed. All turns were signaled.

Maury D. Beaulier argues that the search and seizure by officers violated the law and ultimately successfully sought a dismissal of all charges
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Defense Attorney Maury D. Beaulier elicited a number of inconsistent statements between the officer's testimony and her police report. Mr. Beaulier argued that the officer lacked the requisite reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle and was acting only on whim and caprice. The Judge agreed and the stop was ruled unconstitutional and charges were dismissed.

Minnetonka Woman's DWI charges dismissed After Pretrial Hearing

POSTED: 1:12 p.m. CST September 15, 2005

MINNEAPOLIS-- Police stopped Janet Majors as she was traveling through a Minneapolis suburb at 2:00 a.m. with two friends. After determining that Ms. Majors was under the age of 21 and may be under the influence of alcohol, the officer conducted field sobriety tests and ultimately arrested Ms. Majors for a Drunk Driving violation. Later, at the suburban police station, Ms. Majors provided a breath test that indicated a .17 Blood Alcohol Content. She was charges with DWI and Underage Drinking and Driving.

At a pretrial hearing, the arresting officer testified that he had stopped Ms. Majors automobile after running the vehicles license plate. The computer check revealed that the car was registered to a male (Ms. Major's father) and that the vehicle was not traveling in the most direct route to the vehicles registered location. Instead, it had turned down residential sides streets.

The officer acknowledged that the vehicle had committed no moving violations. It was also not swerving or in any other way acting in a suspicious manner.

After brief arguments, the Court dismissed all charges on the basis that the officer lack the necessary probable cause to stop Ms. Majors vehicle. Her license was also reinstated in a later implied consent hearing.

DWI Dismissed Based on Tainted Evidence

POSTED: 8:00 a.m. CST August 6, 2005

MINNEAPOLIS-- Police testified that the arresting officer had a civilian ride along passenger in his vehicle on the night that Sarah Jones' vehicle was stopped for weaving. After conducting some field sobriety tests, Sarah was arrested for drunk driving and later, at the police station, submitted to a breath test resulting in a Blood Alcohol reading in excess of the legal limit. A review of custodial videotapes by her counsel Maury D. Beaulier, revealed some procedural irregularities. When confronted on the witness stand, the arresting officer conceded that his ride along passenger had also accompanied him back to the police station and into the room where the breath test was performed.

Under cross examination, the officer also revealed that his ride along passenger was not a certified Intoxilyzer operator and that the officer had requested this civilian to press the start button on the intoxilyzer machine after it timed out and went into sleep mode, much like a computer screen saver.

In arguments to the Court, defense attorney, Maury D. Beaulier, argued that the test results were tainted by the operation of the testing apparatus by an uncertified civilian operator. The Court agreed and the breath test was suppressed ultimately resulting in the dismissal of the DWI charges.

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