On July 14, 2012 at approximately 3:20 a.m., a white Ford E-350 van was driving northbound on the Nimitz Freeway, also known as Interstate Highway 880 located in the Bay area.
Two California Highway Patrol (CHP) Officers observed the van weaving in and out of it’s lane of travel. The van nearly collided into other vehicles traveling within the adjacent lanes. The CHP officers executed a traffic stop on the van near near 67th and Shellmound streets in the city of Emeryville. Lynch was identified as the driver.
The CHP officers observed signs of intoxication and Lynch perform field sobriety tests. Lynch failed the field sobriety tests. The CHP officers placed Lynch under arrest for suspicion of DUI and was transported to the Oakland CHP office for processing. Lynch performed a breathalyzer test which resulted in an alcohol blood content level exceeding the .08 legal limit.
Lynch has retained local attorney Ivan Golde as his defense counsel. Golde is an Oakland native who’s father was a Judge in Superior Court for 25 years. Golde appears to be well-connected within the legal circles of Alameda County.
A hearing is scheduled for May 22nd regarding the case. Golde is expected to argue that the case should be dismissed against Lynch along with a motion to suppress evidence in the matter.
The CHP cruiser’s mobile video/audio recording system (MVARS) was inoperative during the incident. Golde has told TMZ that the traffic stop was predicated upon the race of the driver. I assume that Golde will argue that the CHP officers (both of whom were white) stopped Lynch because of his race and not because of his driving behavior. Therefore, any evidence discovered (i.e, breathalyzer results) should be suppressed because it is the proverbial “fruit of the poisonous tree”. Essentially, the case would be dismissed if Golde won his argument before the judge. If not, a jury trial is scheduled for June 21.
I find Golde’s claim of racism highly unlikely to work on a judge without any other factors. Basically it sounds like this; Lynch is black, the officers were white, and the cruiser’s camera was not working so it must be racism.
Although this defense may not work before a judge, it may be a valid tactic before a jury of Lynch’s peers. It could cast a shadow of a doubt.
The End Result
If Golde is successful in having the case dismissed or if Lynch was found not guilty, he still has to face the NFL Commissioner. Journalists have reported that if case against Lynch was not proven or dismissed, Roger Goodell could still impose a 2 game suspension against Lynch under the League’s substance abuse policy.
In my opinion, Goodell would not impose the suspension against Lynch unless he was found guilty or enters a plea of no contest. If Lynch was found guilty, then he would certainly receive the 2 game suspension. Lynch has nothing to lose by taking this case to trial.