Defense Lawyer Weighs In On Deputy & DWI

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"We have a 911 call, subject out with him, he's in his squad car, he's not responding."

That transmission came over the police scanner on December 1, 2012.

(Listen to the transmission)

The unresponsive person being discussed was Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy Adam Hallett.

According to documents released earlier this week, the deputy was found slumped over the wheel of his patrol car with an open bottle of liquor inside.
 
But the reports indicate Deputy Hallett wasn't charged with driving while intoxicated and wasn't given field sobriety tests.

Instead, Hallett was given a ride from the scene.

"In that version, there would be no question that a DWI investigation should have (been) pursued," said Carthage attorney Seth Buchman.

Buchman, a defense lawyer, stresses he doesn't have any first hand knowledge of the Deputy Hallett case.

He only knows what he has seen and read.

But Buchman says he has had clients, who are not members of law enforcement, found in their vehicles, in a similar situation, but with much different results.

"You don't have to be moving. In fact, if the key is in the ignition, that could be a DWI," said Buchman.

The incident has prompted the Jefferson County Board of Legislators to seek an outside investigation into how the Sheriff's Department handled the situation.

Earlier this week, Sheriff John Burns told us legislators don't understand what goes into making an arrest.

"I don't feel that...any of the legislators understand the elements of what it takes, elements of the law, of what it takes to make an arrest," Burns told 7 News.

What it takes to make an arrest and whether the same rules apply to everyone is a big question - for the sheriff and for the county legislature.

Sunday, December 21, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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