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  1. #1
    ZigZagRam's Avatar
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    Post-Dispatch Article - Little Acquitted

    Leonard Little is acquitted of DUI
    B Y WILLIAM C. LHOTKA
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Friday, Apr. 01 2005

    A jury in St. Louis County Circuit Court acquitted Rams defensive end Leonard
    Little on Friday of drunk driving Highway 40 last year in Ladue.

    Little cried as the verdict was read in St. Louis County Circuit Court. He
    hugged his attorney, Scott Rosenblum, before collapsing to the floor.

    Rosenblum helped him up joking, "You're too big to pick up," as Little got back
    to his feet.

    Little was convicted on the lesser charge of speeding. Had he been convicted of
    the felony charge of driving while intoxicated, he would have faced up to four
    years in prison.

    Little's 2003 Mercedes was stopped at 3:44 a.m. on April 24 on Highway 40 near
    Lindbergh Boulevard. Officer Gregory Stork said he clocked Little at 78 mph.
    Little flunked three field sobriety tests, Stork claimed.

    Stork was the main prosecution witness against Little - and Rosenblum put the
    officer on trial during three hours of cross-examination on Thursday and in
    closing arguments on Friday.

    Prosecutor Mark Bishop told the jury of 11 women and one man that Little put on
    "the two beers defense. He drank so many beers that night, he doesn't remember
    how many."

    Whenever a police officer stops someone who is drunk and asks that person how
    much they had been drinking, they usually get the answer: "two beers," Bishop
    said.

    In an audiotape, Little first tells Stork he had two beers, and later he says
    he doesn't remember. Little refused a breathalyzer test at the Ladue Police
    Station that would have shown his blood alcohol content.

    In alleging Little was drunk and noting that a refusal to take the test means
    an automatic revocation, Bishop said: "He would rather give up his drivers
    license for a full calendar year than take the test."

    Rosenblum portrayed Stork as a "sheep in wolf's clothing," who appeared to be a
    nice guy but had an agenda of making as many DWI arrests as he could.

    In his testimony Thursday, Stork admitted that the sobriety tests he
    administered to Little varied from established police procedures. Using Stork's
    testimony in a license revocation hearing 19 days before Little's arrest,
    Rosenblum impeached Stork's trial testimony at least four times.

    On Friday, the only defense witness that Rosenblum called was Ladue Officer
    Keneth Andreski who was Stork's backup when Little was arrested and was
    standing five feet from the defendant when Little was given the sobriety tests.

    Stork had testified that Little was windmilling his arms and unable to stand on
    one foot. Andreski said he didn't recall seeing Little swinging his arms or
    holding them outward like airplane wings to keep his balance.

    Andreski said he didn't recall seeing Little swaying or using the Mercedes for
    support, as Stork had told the jury.

    Also testifying Friday was Sgt. Darin McClure. Under questioning by Bishop,
    McClure said he administered a breath test at the arrest scene on a portable
    machine and it showed Little had been drinking. McClure said also he smelled
    alcohol on Little's breath.

    Under Rosenblum's questioning, McClure said Little wasn't stumbling, swaying,
    losing his balance or smelling of alcohol at the Ladue police station where he
    was taken 18 minutes after the traffic stop.

    "The only crime you saw in this courtroom was what Greg Stork did out there
    that night," Rosenblum told the jury.

    Referring to McClure's testimony, Rosenblum said Little must have "magically
    sobered up" between his arrest on Highway 40 and his arrival at the police
    station. "Nothing in this case is consistent with intoxication."

    Bishop said Stork had no motive to pick on Little. The police officer has
    arrested between 300 and 350 people and all the defense could find was some
    unrelated Department of Revenue case, Bishop said. "Nitpicking little things is
    all they could find."

    "What you have here is a kid in the cookie jar with a high-priced lawyer," said
    Bishop of Little. "Find him guilty, because he is guilty."

    The trial lasted less than two days. Jury selection - to get a jury of 12 and
    two alternates from an original panel of 80 - took three days because of prior
    publicity.

    Not only is Little a Pro Bowl lineman but he was also the defendant in a
    manslaughter case in 1999 in which he admitted he was drunk. In his Lincoln
    Navigator, he ran a red light downtown and collided with a car driven by Susan
    Gutweiler, 47, of Oakville, who was killed.


  2. #2
    ZigZagRam's Avatar
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    Re: Post-Dispatch Article - Little Acquitted

    This article gives me mixed feelings. But since the arresting officer didn't do his job correctly, we'll never know what actually happened that morning.

  3. #3
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    Re: Post-Dispatch Article - Little Acquitted

    That's exactly right. We'll never know. But, until someone comes up with a better system of justice (and you can search the world's nations and you won't find one), you have to accept the outcome.


    I can only hope that Little learns a valuable lesson - albeit an overdue one - after this incident, and does something of value with the chance at freedom he has been given (and no, I don't mean sacking QBs when I say that).

  4. #4
    general counsel Guest

    Re: Post-Dispatch Article - Little Acquitted

    While i agree that we dont know for sure what happened (especially how much little had to drink), i am heavily influenced by the prior post of our esteemed law enforcement colleague Hubison who confirmed my suspicion that it is extremely unusual for one police officer on the scene not to back up the story of his partner on the scene. The fact that a second officer on the scene would not testify that little appeared intoxicated means a lot to me. This is NOT in my view a matter of little getting off on a technicality. Its not about a high priced lawyer. It has every appearance of an overzealous officer on his own personal DUI crusade. One guy out of 28 officers in the ladue police department accounting for 35% of the total department DUI arrests and his own partner wont back him up on this one? That is NOT a technicality. That is NOT about simple failure to follow procedure. That is a case of the credibility of the accuser.

    Let me put it one other way. If Little had not had the prior conviction, would there be anywhere near as much doubt in anyones mind BASED SOLELY ON THE FACTS IN FRONT OF US (especially the contradictory testimony of the two cops). There is a reason why in the american judicial system prior bad acts are not typically admissable. The prejudicial effect outweighs the probative value unless there is a pattern of behavior. A second incident seven years after the first does not constitute a pattern in my view and Little was entitled to the concept of innocent until proven guilty BASED ON THE EVIDENCE IN THE CASE, not based on what happened seven years ago.

    I agree 100% with avenger. Our system may be flawed, but for all its critics, no one on this planet has ever devised a system that works better. Ask any litigator and they will tell you that while once in a while someone fools the jury, more often than not the guilty get convicted and the not guilty go free. A large part of the criticism of the jury system arises because people dont understand the difference between not guilty and innocent. When a jury finds someone not guilty they are not necessarily saying the person didnt do it, but rather that the prosecution didnt prove its burden beyond a reasonable doubt. That is a huge bedrock of the cocept of innocent until PROVEN guilty, note the word proven.

    So much for my rambling, I am glad this is behind little and the rams. I expect leonard to get with the off season program immediately and come out this year like the holy terror of the past.

    ramming speed to all, on to the search for a right tackle,

    general counsel

  5. #5
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    Re: Post-Dispatch Article - Little Acquitted

    This is great for Little and the Rams. I'm glad for him and it sounds like that cop was just an ass in general putting himself above the law and the proper procecdures. Yes hopefully Little has finally learned his lesson and doesn't put himself in that situation anymore, but maybe this verdict brought that cop down to earth and he also learned a lesson. Just think of all the people that he's had convicted of OUI that probably weren't ???

    This is a great day for the Rams, and here's to Little crushing QB's this year !


    Maineram - :ramlogo:
    and out of the ashes rise ...The Breakfast Club !

  6. #6
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    Re: Post-Dispatch Article - Little Acquitted

    I am happy for Leonard and happy this is over. I have had a very hard time wrestling with my thoughts on this case. I have not felt the need to judge Little myself since I do not have access to the facts and speculation is just that, speculation. I try to put faith in the court system to make the correct decisions and hopefully they have.

    The testimony from the other officer that was on the scene makes me feel comfortable that Little was not completely intoxicated, but who knows what he would have registered if he would have blown. The blood alcohol rates are so very low in most states that a few can put you near the limit.

    If I was in Little's position and had his money, I would make sure that I never got behind the wheel after even one drink. Have a friend drive, or hire a driver or a limo.

    Now, Little has no distractions for this season. He can concentrate on finding his way to the QB.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  7. #7
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    Re: Post-Dispatch Article - Little Acquitted

    Well said, UtterBlitz. :smile:

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