A very important and favorable decision was recently released by the Circuit Court in Carroll County, Maryland. The opinion was the culmination of many DUI cases which utilized drug recognition testimony (DRE) to assist in the conviction of drivers thought to be impaired by drugs, as opposed to alcohol.
DRE evidence is seriously sketchy evidence offered by the State and garnered by members of the local police department that are known as DRE’s. The individuals are “trained” in about one week to identify persons that are under the influence of drugs by looking at their eyes, taking their pulse, feeling their skin, listening to them speak, possibly asking them to engage in roadside gymnastics (Field Tests) and various other methods. The most important of which is asking them “what drugs have you recently taken?” After that last question, miraculously the police DRE comes up with a diagnosis of what drug the defendant is on.
Needless to say, this DRE testimony is largely a huge bucket of crap and up to this point, too many judges and or juries have been bombarded with this garbage science and charged with the responsibility to convict Defendants. Part of the DRE examination is similar to the field sobriety tests which defendants are called upon to perform late night on the roadside; also a huge load of crap and perhaps now more eyes will be opened to this junk evidence and perhaps more courts will exclude the evidence.
The Carroll County Court held a lengthly hearing on the matter hearing from many experts on both sides of the fence. All the best was brought to bear by both the State and Defense. The Court, after considering the case for an extended period of time and hearing from all the experts came up with the only logical conclusion possible, this DRE evidence is crap and should not be allowed to persuade our juries. It will be interesting to see if Maryland’s higher Courts are called upon to review the matter, which would only further crystalize this wonderful and long awaited opinion. For more information see State of Maryland v. Brightful, et al.