MOUNT VERNON — A high school official charged with DUI is seeking to suppress at trial evidence from the night of his arrest.
In a motion filed Nov. 20 in Mount Vernon Municipal Court, Justin Sanford, 42, Sunbury, claims that field sobriety tests and statements cannot be offered as evidence in his scheduled Jan. 3 jury trial due to procedural errors made by police. The motion was filed by Sanford’s attorney, Daniel Sabol.
Sanford is the Mount Vernon High School Activities/Athletic Director.
Sanford was arrested by Mount Vernon Police Oct. 27. According to MVPD reports, Sanford was stopped for a traffic infraction in the area of South Mulberry and West Vine streets.
The officer noted an odor of alcohol coming from Sanford and had him perform field sobriety tests. Sanford refused to give a urine sample or take a breath alcohol test.
Sanford was also cited for changing lanes without safety.
In a motion to suppress filed with the court, Sabol writes that the officer did not properly instruct Sanford on how to perform the field sobriety tests, failing “to instruct Sanford to take his steps ‘on the line’” in the walk and turn test and “did not specifically tell Sanford to keep his foot parallel” during the one leg stand test. Sabol states that “In spite of the officer’s errors, a review of the video indicates (Sanford) performed the tests well.”
The officer’s body cam shows that Sanford did not have bloodshot and watery eyes, as stated in the arrest report, and that Sanford exited his vehicle “with no indications of impairment,” according to Sabol.
Sabol further writes that there is no evidence, such as video, to indicate that the officer had a reason to pull Sanford over. Sanford further did not make a valid waiver of his Miranda rights, according to Sabol.
The suppression hearing is scheduled for Dec. 17.