Opinions Vary On Lewand's DUI Arrest

Bill BrickweddeContributor IJune 29, 2010

Tom Lewand, Detroit Lions Executive VP and COO, speaks at the Welcome to Detroit press conference at the Super Bowl XL Media Center at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan on January 30, 2006.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Opinions vary widely on the release of the dashcam video of Lions President Tom Lewand's arrest for DUI.

Here is the video of Lewand getting arrested:


Jason Moss quote from mlive Lions forum says: “Watching the video, the Officers do not perform ANY of the Field Sobriety Tests correctly.

I am not criticzing the Officers, or trying to imply that they are "bad" Officers... I am just merely pointing out that they are human and are likely to make mistakes/forget proper procedure. In the Academy, the Officers were taught a very specific method/instructions for administering the standardized field sobriety tasks. Adherence to the method is vital as the tests have been deemed "scientific" by Michigan courts. With any scientific test, if the procedures are compromised the results become unreliable. Deviation from proper instructions can result in all the SFST's being suppressed during the course of litigation. The Officer failed to properly administer the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test. Proper testing requires a minimum of 12 passes, 6 per eye. The Officer made 3 passes, none of which were done properly. The Officer failed to properly instruct Mr. Lewand on the One Leg Stand test. Because of that failure certain "clues" that the officer is looking for must not be used against Mr. Lewand. (I.e., proper instructions would have included the Officer telling Mr. Lewand to keep his hands at his sides, and not to raise them for balance). In the video Mr. Lewand raises his arms as if to ask, "Am I done yet"... however, it is likely that the Officer noted this in his report as a failure to maintain the "proper position" and scored it as a clue of intoxication.During the Walk and Turn test, the Officer failed to get Mr. Lewand into the "starting position" and fails to properly instruct him on the test (fails to instruct him on the turn and incorrectly instructs him to take 7 steps back towards the car instead of 9). The remaining tests were not standardized and therefore not reliable/admissible to prove intoxication. Mr. Lewand performed and passed every field sobriety task he was given with only minor deviations. I give Mr. Lewand credit for indicating that "I think I passed all the test you asked me to take". The next thing he should have asked is, "Am I free to leave now?"Ultimately if an Officer asks you out of the car... he's going to arrest you. There are no "right" answers to the FSTs. All the Officer is looking for is what you did wrong. The truth of the matter is that Mr. Lewand was going to be arrested if he took the PBT or not. Refusing the PBT means that the officer have to rely STRICTLY on Mr. Lewand's performance on the FSTs to establish probable cause for the arrest. Plainly, based on a review of the video, the Officer did not have probably cause to Arrest him As a fan this is disappointing and I don't defend his decision to get behind the wheel... as an attorney, Mr. Lewand has a great case should he decide to fight it.

Jason Moss"

On the same forum Rochfootball comments:

"Regarding your earlier questions about the state law and refusing a breath test. You are required by law when you receive your license to take a PBT when asked by a peace officer. It is included on the agreement you sign when you get your license. If you refuse to take the PBT, you are then subject to a fine and an automatic suspension of your license for a period of six months. That's because you broke the agreement you signed with the State of Michigan when you sign for the license. Further, the blood test is a requirement, because the only way it can be authorized is for the officer to get a search warrant for one's body prior to. Trust me when I say, there is no judge in this country who when he is woken up at 2:30 AM to sign a search warrant for some drunk guy's body that is going to say no. Once that warrant is signed (due to probable cause given to the judge from the officer that a blood draw is necessary to prove drunk driving), the person has no right to refuse.

So, it is much better to just admit your mistake and take the arrest and the punishment. You refusing only leads to not only the same arrest and penalty, but additional ones because of your stubborness (not trying to say "you", but you get the idea).

Lastly, the sheriffs in this video did a great job. He saw Lewand weave in and out of his lane, initiated the stop, and was extremely patient throughout. I would have slapped the handcuffs on the guy the second time I asked him to take the PBT and he danced around the subject. Great job by the sheriffs and here is to praying that Lewand finally gets the help he needs. If this is a relapse in his life, let's hope it is his last one."

Sounds to me that the first comment was from a lawyer, and the second one was from a police officer.

From the Free Press zpatagus wrote:

I certainly don't condone drunk driving but WOW, the press sure is making major case out of this. Interviewing bar owners and cops about a routine OUI arrest? Come on. His arrest is a good thing in that hopefully it will shock him into taking his recovery seriously but the press making a big deal out it is just plain ridiculous.

Gregg Moe on the Detroit News forum writes :

"I still believe he was set up by the police man sitting outside the bar and waiting for him to pull out. I'd be questioning the "crossed the lane" motive of the police man.

Bottom line drinking and driving doesn't mix.