Pa. Attorney General's Office appealing Phila. judge's dismissal of DUI case against legislator

By Jon Campisi | Nov 25, 2011

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office announced that it is appealing a Philadelphia judge’s decision to dismiss a drunken driving case against a state legislator.

The decision to appeal to Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas comes after Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Charles Hayden denied last week the commonwealth’s motion for reconsideration in the case involving Philadelphia Democratic State Rep. Cherelle Parker, whose charges of driving under the influence were dismissed by Hayden during trial earlier this month.

Hayden ruled that the police officers who testified in the case were not credible, and he promptly threw out the evidence against Parker, who represents the 200th Legislative District in Northwest Philadelphia.

The controversial ruling made headlines after it was discovered that Hayden and Parker are “friends” on the social media website Facebook.

Hayden subsequently refused to recuse himself from the case at the request of state prosecutors.

The state Attorney General’s Office was handling the case because of the potential conflict of interest had city prosecutors been assigned to the trial; Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and Parker, a first-term lawmaker, are said to be friends both online and in real life.

During the brief trial, Hayden determined that the testimony of the two Philadelphia police officers who pulled Parker over on April 30 in Northwest Philadelphia couldn’t be believed, according to news reports.

Officers Israel Miranda, Jr. and Stephanie Allen testified they pulled Parker over after they spotted her driving the wrong way down a one-way street in the city’s Germantown section.

The officers had said Parker smelled of alcohol, had glassy eyes and had difficulty exiting her state-owned vehicle that she had been driving that night, news reports have stated.

A Breathalyzer test showed Parker to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.16 percent, twice the legal limit in Pennsylvania.

The results of the breath test were never entered into evidence because Judge Hayden found the probable cause for the vehicle stop to be insufficient, news reports stated.

Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, didn’t return a call from the Pennsylvania Record Wednesday seeking to confirm the office’s appeal.

But he was mentioned in a Philadelphia Inquirer article Wednesday confirming the same.

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