Thursday October 25, 2012

Pittsfield man acquited on one OUI charge but still facing another seperate count

PITTSFIELD -- A 54-year-old Pittsfield man was found not guilty of second-offense drunken driving on Tuesday following a one-day Jury of Six trial in Central Berkshire District Court.

But Richard Parker of McArthur Street still has one more trial to go for a separate case involving a similar charge.

A jury of four men and two women deliberated for about 20 minutes before finding Parker not guilty of drunken driving.

Parker was pulled over by Pittsfield Police Officer Jef frey Coco on Feb. 28 on Onota Street.

After his arrest on the charges, he was released on personal recognizance and again arrested on a drunken driving charge, this time by the state police, before going to trial on his first set of charges.

On Tuesday, Coco told the jury that when he spoke to Parker during the February stop he could smell a strong odor of alcohol. The officer said that Parker's speech was slurred and he had bloodshot glassy eyes.

The officer testified that he hadn't formed an opinion as to whether Parker was drunk until after Parker failed several field sobriety tests.

Parker, who took the stand in his own defense, told the jury that he had three beers at a city bar over the course of three hours, wasn't drunk and failed the tests because he has a severe back injury that affects his balance.


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This was reiterated by his attorney Robert D. Sullivan Jr. during the lawyer's final summation.

"[Parker] was asked to do something he was unable to do," said Sullivan.

Parker told Coco about the injury and the officer said he took this into consideration when determining if Parker was too drunk to drive.

Sullivan argued that the officer wasn't "capable" of determining whether it was Parker's injury or the alcohol that prevented him from passing the tests.

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Gregory A. Bartlett argued that the Parker's back problems wouldn't have prevented him from walking 10 paces instead of nine as the police officer requested and that Coco had taken the man's injury into account when determining he was intoxicated.

The jury came back with a not guilty verdict.

Following the trial, Parker pleaded guilty to driving with a suspended license and driving with an expired registration and was sentence to time served.

Parker already served more than the maximum 10-day sentence for those crimes awaiting the outcome of his trial.

He was released from custody after posting $100 bail.

Sullivan will once again be representing Parker on second-offense drunken driving charges next month.

Parker was pulled over on Union Street in Pittsfield in August by a state trooper, arrested and charged with the same set of charges he was just acquitted.

When Parker had his bail revoked, he was held without bail for close to 60 days.

The defendant admitted drinking "several beers" that evening and told the trooper he was heading elsewhere to drink more, said police.

Parker "showed signs of impairment" during field sobriety tests, appeared intoxicated, and was subsequently arrested, according to the police report.

According to court records, an earlier drunken driving charge filed against Parker was continued without a finding of guilt, before it was dismissed in 1981. He was also charged with drunken driving in 2004.