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  1. #1
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    Prosecutor Criticizes Rams For Supporting Little At Trial

    Prosecutors say state law hampered ability to prosecute St. Louis Rams' defensive end


    Associated Press



    CLAYTON, Mo. - Prosecutors said their inability to present the results of portable breath tests hampered the prosecution of St. Louis Rams' player Leonard Little.

    The Pro Bowl defensive end, who previously pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in a 1998 drunken-driving crash, was found innocent of drunken driving Friday by a St. Louis County jury.

    A preliminary breath test indicated Little's blood-alcohol content was 0.13 percent, well above the legal limit of 0.08 percent, when he was stopped for speeding April 24 on Interstate 64 in Ladue, a St. Louis suburb.

    But state law makes results from portable breath tests inadmissible, and prosecutors said Little refused to take a follow-up test.

    Jurors also weren't told of the alcohol-related manslaughter charge. Little served three months in jail and completed 1,000 hours of community service and four years of probation for the crash in downtown St. Louis that killed Susan Gutweiler of St. Louis County. He was also suspended without pay for the first half of the 1999 season.

    Because of the previous conviction, Little could have faced up to four years in prison along with another suspension from the NFL if convicted in the most recent case.

    "Why they gave him a break is something I cannot answer," said St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch. "I can't help think that if the jury had all the information, that he was approaching twice the legal limit, there would have been a different outcome."

    Scott Rosenblum, Little's defense attorney, said during the trial that Little had had only two beers and was not intoxicated when stopped by police.

    "It was an uphill battle," Rosenblum said. "We came in with a lot of preconceived notions against us."

    During the trial, Ladue Officer Gregory Stork testified that Little failed three field sobriety tests. Results from portable breath tests aren't admissible because the equipment involved is not considered as reliable as the fixed tests, where equipment is regularly maintained and calibrated by technicians.

    Little refused to submit to a breath analysis test at the Ladue police station.

    Rosenblum argued at trial that the officer had a goal to get a high number of driving-while-intoxicated arrests on his record. Stork also acknowledged in court that the sobriety tests he administered to Little varied from established police procedures

    "I think the state's primary witness was determined not to be credible by the jury," Rosenblum said. "He demonstrated that he was not properly administering field sobriety tests."

    McCulloch said drunken-driving cases are generally difficult to try because many potential jurors can relate to the circumstances of the defendant. He also criticized members of the Rams organization for visiting the trial and causing a stir in the courthouse.

    But Rams coach Mike Martz, who attended the proceedings as did general manager Charley Armey and several players and assistant coaches, disputed McCulloch's assertion that they were there to influence the jury with their celebrity.

    "Leonard is one of the most popular and well-liked players on our team," Martz said. "I'm very close to Leonard as are a number of people in our organization and on our team. We believed in his innocence from the very beginning and it was important to be there in support."


    My comments:

    The prosecutor made a very bad decision to make these comments publicly. It creates the impression of "sour grapes" and, more importantly, might cause future defendants to try to influence the jury by packing the courtroom with recognizable supporters.

    Also, as far as I know, the prosecutor never asked the judge to exclude members of the Rams' organization from attending the trial. While such a request may not have been granted, if he truly believed that they could influence the jury, he should have at least made a motion.

    Martz's comments are very appropriate. The team should stick together and stand behind a player that they believe to be innocent. Can you imagine if nobody showed? How would that impact the locker room when Little returned?

    The prosecutor in this case does not impress me. The truth of the matter is, if the arresting officer had done his job correctly, then either Litttle would not have been charged with DUI, or he would have been easily convicted.


  2. #2
    ramhard's Avatar
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    Not Pro or Con Little but Anti-Prosecutor

    The prosecutor stated:

    "Why they gave him a break is something I cannot answer," said St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch.

    Maybe this is the answer:

    "But state law makes results from portable breath tests inadmissible, and prosecutors said Little refused to take a follow-up test."

    He is postering as if some special legal trick was used, when it is a law. Second he failed to mention the conflicting testimony of the officers partner (and I think this is the key reason why it was dismissed so fast). If the officer cannot even get his partner to agree, why should the jury agree?

    Sounds like shoddy lawyering to me, and trying to cover his back for bring to trial a weak case (or at least not doing his homework).


    This is neither pro or con Little (in fact I think Little should not be drinking anything and driving and am not a big personal fan of LL the individual), but on the legal evidence provided, no one, including Little should have been sent to jail for 4 years.

  3. #3
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    Re: Prosecutor Criticizes Rams For Supporting Little At Trial

    I agree with Av, but one step further. The prosecution had an awfully long time before the trial to figure out that the second officer on the scene was not going to back up the story of his partner. Somehow, he either missed that little detail or ignored it, which is bad, bad legal work.

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    Re: Prosecutor Criticizes Rams For Supporting Little At Trial

    You could argue that the real lesson to be learned from this incident is that the Missouri Highway Patrol and Prosecutors' office need to improve their procedures relating to DUI. Maybe the patrol officers need a refresher course on roadside testing procedures and the prosecutors need to go to some seminars so they can do a better job in court.


    I have a good friend who spent years in the State Attorney's office in Miami and now works for an organization in Washington that provides this type of training. Maybe they should give him a call.

    If I were a motorist in Missouri, I'd sure want my law enforcement officers to do a better job than they did in this case.

  5. #5
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    Re: Prosecutor Criticizes Rams For Supporting Little At Trial

    The proescutor sounds like a sore loser whiner fan,and if I were Little I'd be very careful where and when I drive for now on.Cops are gonna be gunning for him.
    My heart beats crazy and my blood runs wild

  6. #6
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    Re: Prosecutor Criticizes Rams For Supporting Little At Trial

    Here's some Howard B on the trial...

    On the arresting officer and his back-up officer:
    He [back-up officer] was watching both the officer and Little for their safety. The backup officer siad the eye test was worthless. Said he didn't see Little swaying his arms. The police chief noted how Stork's reports are virtually identical and he doesn't own a manual. You had to see and hear most of it to get an accurate view, and having done that, I can attest to the fact that Stork came off as someone that didn't have a clue to what he was doing out there.

    On the road-side sobriety test:
    Or that anyone doing a sobriety test on rough pavement with cars flying by would be able to "walk the line" or stand on one leg. As the defense noted, "The tests were designed for the person to fail," which has happened an awful lot with this officer.

    On the prosecutor's job with this case:
    I will agree that the prosecutor did a poor job, but he didn't have much to work, with considering what the defense knew about Stork. However, I will say that race was never mentioned by the defense. The defense did say that one of the problems for Leonard Little was being Leonard Little, but that was more about celebrity than race. Something tells me that this officer just wants arrests, and he will do anything to make that happen.

    On Little's license:
    Little took the portable breath test, but refused the other, which does result in license revocation for 1 year.
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    Re: Prosecutor Criticizes Rams For Supporting Little At Trial

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    If I were a motorist in Missouri, I'd sure want my law enforcement officers to do a better job than they did in this case.
    Unless, of course, you were on your way home after "two beers".
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    Re: Prosecutor Criticizes Rams For Supporting Little At Trial

    Quote Originally Posted by NickSeiler
    On Little's license:
    Little took the portable breath test, but refused the other, which does result in license revocation for 1 year.
    So Little does lose his license for a year then.

    A preliminary breath test indicated Little's blood-alcohol content was 0.13 percent
    I am not pleased with the .13 percent, for if this test is any where close to accurate, Little was not using good judgement on that night. I was hoping that he had "two beers" but it appears those two beers had company.
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    Re: Prosecutor Criticizes Rams For Supporting Little At Trial

    That means we dont have to worry about him till 2006,if he dosent get popped for driving without a DL
    My heart beats crazy and my blood runs wild

  10. #10
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    Re: Prosecutor Criticizes Rams For Supporting Little At Trial

    I am not pleased with the .13 percent, for if this test is any where close to accurate, Little was not using good judgement on that night. I was hoping that he had "two beers" but it appears those two beers had company.
    AGREED...

    I did not really want to hear any of this; the article. I was hoping that he was free of fault and clearly innocent. Unfortunately, I have reasonable doubt. Good thing for Little that it was a local PD with an over zealous officer and not MSHP, otherwise they would have done it right and nailed him...

    Maybe it was best for him to have been pulled over anyway; before he killed someone else...

    :confused:
    Last edited by SFCRamFan; -04-05-2005 at 12:23 AM.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Prosecutor Criticizes Rams For Supporting Little At Trial

    Quote Originally Posted by UtterBlitz
    So Little does lose his license for a year then.
    Actually, I heard somewhere that his driver's license is from the state of Tennessee, and thus can't be revoked by the state of Missouri. Not sure on that one.


    Quote Originally Posted by UtterBlitz
    I am not pleased with the .13 percent, for if this test is any where close to accurate
    It is in fact concerning, but look at the situation.

    We're talking about a cop who, out of 28 officers in the department, makes 30+% of the DUI arrests... a cop who apparently doesn't even carry a DUI procedures manual with him... a cop who failed to properly administer standard field sobriety tests, which makes you wonder how many of his other arrests were under questionable circumstances… a cop whose back-up officer, Kenneth Andreski, who apparently always carries a DUI procedures manual with him, was on the scene observing and could not support Stork’s account of Little's performance in his field sobriety tests when asked about them on the stand.

    I’m sure Stork is a nice enough guy, but does this sound like the kind of guy you're going to trust to keep his field breathalyzer perfectly calibrated?

    Obviously there will be some who point to this inadmissible figure and try to make it mean something, and while the number isn't pleasing, I'm definitely not going to take it as a reliable assessment of Little's intoxication considering everything this officer did when testing Little seemed to reek with the stench of inaccuracy.

    For the prosecutor to come out with the information now seems like a pretty low smear campaign - the "I didn't beat him in court so I'm going to trash him publicly," mindset strikes me as entirely unprofessional.
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  12. #12
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    Re: Prosecutor Criticizes Rams For Supporting Little At Trial

    Very good points Nick. I just don't know what to believe. Everything is gray and adjustable. The breathalyzer may not have read .13 or it may be calibrated incorrectly.

    I hate not knowing what the truth. Oh well, this is not the first time that this has happened. :confused:

    I am done discussing this topic. It is over. It's about time that I start paying attention to the Draft guys and see who I like for the Rams. You guys have been on it for months. I have some catching up to do.

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  13. #13
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Prosecutor Criticizes Rams For Supporting Little At Trial

    The reason the test that purportedly read .13 is inadmissible is that it is not deemed reliable.


    I've said enough about this. I'm glad to have Leonard Little back as a football player. I hope, as a person, that he's finally learned his lesson and will modify his behaviour to avoid these situations in the future.

  14. #14
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    Some advice to Leonard Little

    1. Don't speed, ever.
    2. Hire a driver, you could probably find a retired guy who'd do it just for burgers and pepsi. Have him around in case you "need to speed" or want to have "two beers."
    3. Drive a durable but pedestrian car or SUV in an unexciting color. I'm think a blue Ford Crown Vic, or maybe a dark green Toyota Avalon or a Copper Chevy Astrovan or White GMC Jimmy.
    4. All of these rules count triple if you are out at 4 in the morning.

    This is a good opportunity for the local police to reexamine their practices. The jury finding under the law was correct. Nonetheless, Little did his reputation, the Rams and his fans a serious disservice with his bad judgement. The prosecutor's job is to try cases where the defendant is guilty of the crime he is charged with. If evidence is insufficient, the charges should be dropped. He can request to the legislaure, not the press, that the law should be changed.

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