Judge won't overturn Red Bank DUI case

Judge won't overturn Red Bank DUI case

March 8th, 2011 by Kate Harrison Belz in News

John Anthony Murray sued Red Bank for $1.5 million, claiming he was arrested illegally on a DUI charge. Murray failed to appear in court and the lawsuit was dismissed.

A DUI conviction for a man who claims he was illegally arrested by the Red Bank Police Department will not be overturned, a Hamilton County judge ruled Monday.

John Anthony Murray had requested post-conviction relief, which sought to nullify his guilty plea to the DUI and the subsequent week he sat in jail after he was arrested last April by a Red Bank police officer, Tammie Delashmitt, outside city limits.

Murray's ruling was unrelated to his federal lawsuit against Red Bank, which asks for $1.5 million in "mental anguish" damages from the arrest.

Murray's attorney, Robin Flores, had maintained that Murray's conviction warranted being overturned because the arrest occurred outside of Red Bank's jurisdiction and because arrest records were mishandled.

"It seems to set a bad precedent to let officers do what they want outside their jurisdiction," Flores said after the ruling Monday. "If [Murray] had known what was going on behind the scenes, he would have gone about the whole process differently."

In a court memorandum, Judge Barry Steelman wrote that even though Delashmitt made an improper arrest, she "at no time concealed any illegality or overstated the evidence of guilt, which is strong."

He noted that, even if Murray's conviction was overturned and his case handed over to an entirely new jury, the evidence against him would likely have resulted in the same conviction, and possibly even more time in jail.

A sobriety test revealed Murray had a 0.17 blood-alcohol level. The legal limit is 0.08.

Murray was not present at the ruling. Flores said if Murray wants to appeal, they will take the next steps to do so.

Contact staff writer Kate Harrison at kharrison@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6673.