Ex-cop’s DUI trial ends in hung jury – Rutland Herald
The two-day trial of a former Vermont State Police trooper accused of responding to a crash while under the influence of alcohol in 2015 ended in a hung jury.
Eric Rademacher, 29, of Mendon, was assigned to the State Police barracks in Rutland in 2015 when he was cited.
Rademacher was arraigned in Rutland criminal court of a charge of driving under the influence in April 2015.
A few days later, Rademacher resigned from the State Police, although his attorney, David Sleigh, said the resignation should not be considered an admission.
Rademacher has consistently denied the charge since it was filed.
His case was heard last week by a jury that failed to reach a decision. The Vermont attorney general’s office has the option to retry the case or dismiss it.
John Treadwell, assistant attorney general, said Wednesday no decision had been made yet about whether to continue prosecution.
“We are certainly ready and able to retry the case,” he said.
Treadwell said it wasn’t unusual for a case like Rademacher’s to be passed to the attorney general’s office. He said the office often prosecutes cases involving law-enforcement officers to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
A status conference has been scheduled in the case for March 6. Treadwell said he expected a decision will be made by then about whether to go back to trial.
Sleigh said the defense had effectively demonstr ated the Vermont Forensics Laboratory doesn’t meet current national standards for handling forensics evidence.
He said he and Rademacher were disappointed the jury hadn’t acquitted his client in what Sleigh called an “ appallingly weak” case.
“ We hope the state won’t waste another two days of court time,” he said.
The defense attorney said the jury voted 8-4 to acquit.
Before the trial, Sleigh raised a number of objections to the prosecution. He said Rademacher was getting harsher treatment because of his position as a trooper with the State Police.
Sleigh said that, unlike other drivers accused of drunken driving, Rademacher didn’t have a choice about complying with the request for a breath sample because it came from a superior officer.
A police affidavit said colleagues’ suspicion that Rademacher was under the influence of alcohol started with the investigation of a domestic dispute on March 2 in Shrewsbury.
Trooper Seth Richardson said he and Rademacher were following a suspect over rough, snowcovered terrain.
“ The trail led behind the house and the walking was somewhat exhausting …. After a few minutes, both Trooper Rademacher and I began to breathe heavy,” Richardson said in the affidavit. “At this point, I could smell a strong odor of intoxicants,” he wrote. “…. I could determine the odor of intoxicants was coming from Trooper Rademacher.”
Richardson said Rademacher admitted he had been drinking but said he had his last beer about 10 hours before the incident in Shrewsbury.
The charge that was heard in court last week, however, was based on Rademacher’s response to a crash in Killington earlier that day, around 5: 20 a. m., when prose cutors maintain he must have been under the influence, due his blood-alcogol level later in the day.
An evidentiary test of Rademacher’s breath given at the Shrewsbury scene found his bloodalcohol content was 0.043 percent.
The Vermont Forensics Laboratory, calculating back to the time Rademacher responded to the Killington crash, said his blood-alcohol content at the time would have been between 0.104 percent and 0.227 percent.
The legal limit for driving in Vermont is 0.08 percent.
The two drivers in the crash later told police they didn’t notice any impairment or smell intoxicants while speaking to Rademacher.