Harris County Prosecutors Using HGN Video in Trial - Good Trial Tactic?

One of the field sobriety tests that police often rely on in DWI investigations is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN).  Apparently the Harris County District Attorney's Office has recently started using a video in DWI cases that show what HGN looks like - presumably to influence jurors to give more weight to the HGN test.  

It seems that they have realized what many of us have known for years, jurors want to see it to believe it.  Jurors are sharper than most of us give them credit for.  Hearing a cop say he observed 6 of 6  clues on the HGN means relatively little to most jurors that I have spoken to.  However, if they had seen a video of the Defendant's eyes and the jerking the cop says he saw, I think they would feel much differently.  Here is a video that shows what HGN looks like.

Unfortunately for the prosecutors, the video they are showing to the jury is not the defendant or the defendant's eyes.  It seems any good DWI lawyer would quickly point this out to the jury.  It seems just as obvious another drawback for the prosecution - the technology does exist to look at a defendant's eyes and let the jury actually see the defendant's eyes.  Instead we get to tell the jury - the technology exists to record this so called HGN - prosecutor showed you that.  What he/she didn't show you was my DWI client's eyes.  Why?

Breath Test Refusal Lands Man in Prison for 3 Years?

At least we don't live in Akron, Ohio.  According to this report, an Ohio man was convicted and sentenced to 3 years in prison for Tampering with a Government Document for failing to give a breath test after his DWI arrest. 

Am I missing something here? How is refusing a breath test tampering with a government document? Doesn't it seem that you would have to actually alter, change, destroy, or manipulate a document in order to tamper it?  Even more basic, wouldn't there have to be a document already in existence or one that you fraudulently made to alter or tamper with?

After the verdict, the prosecutor apparently said, "the law is now clear that drunk drivers cannot refuse to take a breath test,  It is mandatory, and the jury agreed that Mr. Simin broke that law and deserved prison time. Bottom line: It doesn't pay to refuse to cooperate. It will increase your sentence."

Since when did our Constitution require us to aid in a police investigation?  Is the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution still around?  Funny, I thought we were all protected in our right to remain silent and not aid the Government in convicting us.

Less Resets - More Coercion with the DIVERT Program

It seems the new DIVERT Program is again changing without a real reason why.  As of last week, the county court prosecutors learned that the DWI cases that may be DIVERT eligible must now be set up for DIVERT no later than the second setting.  For the record, the first setting is generally scheduled for 1 week after the arrest.  The second setting normally will be approximately 3 weeks later.

The new policy mandates that a person arrested for a Harris County DWI must make a decision about his/her case within a month of the DWI arrest.  Mind you, no person charged with any other offense in Harris County has to make a decision within the first month - only those that may or may not want to participate in the DIVERT Program will be required to make that life altering decision this quickly.

It appears that this is more coercion by the district attorney's office to force people to take the DIVERT Program.  There are cases where we don't have the offense report or video within a month of the arrest.  Without such basic information about the case, how can a person be expected to make a rational decision about his/her case within a month of the arrest?  Wouldn't you expect your DWI lawyer to have all information about your case before having to make that major decision? 

Is it because the Harris County District Attorney's office has lost so many DWI cases recently?  Do they not want us to have the information?  Are they tired of losing so many DWI cases?

My questions to the policy makers:  What is the rush?  Why not let us properly evaluate these cases like the rest of the cases?  What are you scared of?