Metro Corrections breathalyzer officer suspended for lying under oath
By Jason Riley and Dalton Main
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A Louisville Metro Corrections officer has been suspended for lying under oath, jeopardizing hundreds of drunken driving cases.
Officer Liliana Hernandez admitted during a DUI trial in Jefferson District Court on July 21 that she lied during her testimony.
Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton has suspended Hernandez, started an internal investigation and notified Louisville Metro Police, possibly prompting a criminal investigation.
Earlier this month, defense attorney Paul Gold sent a letter alerting Bolton to what he said was misconduct by Officer Hernandez. Bolton then forbid Hernandez from working in the breathalyzer area, Gold said in an interview.
However, during the recent DUI trial, the officer testified she was still a breathalyzer technician.
“The first thing you told the judge was that you’re currently a BA operator and that was a lie; correct?” Gold asks in the video. “Yes or no?”
“Yes,” Hernandez replies.
Also, Gold asked Hernandez to explain why what she wrote on a report differed from what was said in a video taken in the breathalyzer room. Gold said that Hernandez did not transcribe an interview properly.
“You lied, correct? Yes or no?” Gold asked.
“Yes, sir,” Hernandez replies.
The case ended in an acquittal.
BA lab technicians are required to observe defendants for 20 minutes prior to giving the test, but Gold said in his letter to Bolton that he found numerous examples where Hernandez failed to watch the full amount of time. In one case, he said video shows Hernandez brewing a cup of tea while she is supposed to be observing a defendant. In another, she is resting her head.
“If these allegations are true, this officer has done tremendous damage to her reputation and ruined her career with Metro Corrections”; said Director Bolton in a press release about the false testimony. “I am disgusted by what the Court record reveals about the Officer’s conduct in this case.”
According to a Department of Corrections release, Hernandez is a potential witness in over 200 pending DUI cases.
Gold said Hernandez had closer to 300 pending DUI cases and said it will be unlikely Hernandez will be able to testify, both because she is suspended and her credibility is shot.
"I wouldn't want to put a witness on who is accused of lying and is being investigated by her own department," Gold said.
Gold learned of the issues with Hernandez by watching videos from a camera Metro Corrections only recently revealed was in the Breathalyzer lab.
In addition, Gold claims Hernandez failed to appear in court in a least two DUI cases, prompting the judges to suppress the BA results.
"Clearly, not showing up in court, producing questionable court documents and taking shortcuts ... are examples that she doesn't care about the job or take it seriously," Gold wrote.
The Jefferson County Attorney's Office sent the following statement Friday evening:
We are aware of the situation with Officer Hernandez. Our office is working to determine the best course of action moving forward as it relates to the cases she was involved in.
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