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Client Testimonial

Case #42

I selected Mr. Barone’s firm to represent me after a fair amount of research, including interviews with several other attorneys specializing in DUI defense. I felt it important to retain the best lawyer I could as I had a lot riding on a positive outcome. I was hardly disappointed; as impressive as his resume is, it does not begin to describe how artful and compelling Mr. Barone can be before a jury.

I was stopped for speeding and arrested for DUI after a roadside breath test. Complaining of heat exhaustion at the scene, I was taken by ambulance directly to a local hospital for examination, and blood was drawn several hours later for testing by the state police laboratory in Lansing. While the police video of my field sobriety tests wasn’t particularly incriminating, it seemed to me that the blood test result was: 0.09% BAC. In spite of this, Mr. Barone felt that a solid defense could be mounted at trial. As skeptical as I was, this came as music to my ears owing to concern that a conviction might well jeopardize the sweetheart employment contract I then enjoyed.

To be frank, I found Mr. Barone’s opening remarks to the jury somewhat unsettling: “Ultimately this case will turn on how much weight you choose give to the blood test results.” Exactly where Mr. Barone was headed with this statement I wasn’t sure.

As my trial progressed, the prosecutor and the state’s expert witness argued that – because of the delay in performing the blood draw – my actual BAC just prior to arrest was actually much higher than 0.09%. On detailed cross-examination by Mr. Barone, however, that same expert was compelled to admit that his findings assumed what I drank that evening had been absorbed into my bloodstream and subsequently metabolized in a typical fashion. Mr. Barone went on to establish that in certain instances, some individuals absorb and metabolize alcohol at a far slower rate than average and, theoretically at least, my BAC at the time of arrest could have been as low as 0.06% – well below the 0.08% UBAL threshold in Michigan. This admission by the state’s own expert witness, a trained forensic scientist, utterly dumbfounded me.

Things got better even from there. Earlier in the trial, when Mr. Barone asked the arresting officer what he had done with the two vials of blood after they were handed to him by the hospital physician, the officer testified that he “returned them directly to the test kit and sealed it.” “You did nothing else with them?” pressed Mr. Barone. “No, I placed them right in the test kit,” responded the officer. Mr. Barone, belaboring the point: “Are you sure?” “Yes,” the officer replied adamantly.

In his closing argument to the jury, and with corroboration from state’s blood expert, Mr. Barone postulated how the officer’s apparent failure to slowly invert the containers of blood several times before placing them upright in the test kit might well have compromised the sample. Previously, the state expert had observed that this procedural step was necessary in order to thoroughly mix preservative stored in the top of vials with the blood held in the bottom.

Drawing on an undergraduate education in biology and his subsequent toxicological experience, Mr. Barone was able to describe to the jury how the officer’s presumed failure to faithfully follow standard blood handling procedures might well have prevented any unpreserved blood sugar in the samples from later fermenting prior to testing. In earlier testimony Mr. Barone had established that alcohol of the type found in “adult beverages” is a natural byproduct of sugar fermentation – an observation that appears not to have been lost on the jury whom, after two full hours of deliberation, returned their unanimous verdict: “NOT GUILTY.”

Postscript: At the very outset, Mr. Barone cautioned me that the consequences of a possible DUI conviction would be best mitigated were I able to demonstrate to the court an earnest desire and proven ability to make better choices in the future. Prior to my trial, I completed a six-week, in-patient treatment program. I have not used alcohol since. Ultimately, justice was served.