Metro Corrections fires former breathalyzer officer who admitted lying under oath
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A former breathalyzer officer for Metro Corrections who admitted lying under oath, jeopardizing more than 200 DUI cases, has been fired.
A day after Director Mark Bolton met with Officer Liliana Hernandez, her lawyer and a union rep on Aug. 4, according to a press release, he sent a harshly worded letter notifying her of her termination.
"You have no place working in any position where you could have such negative impact on any citizen or the criminal justice system," Bolton wrote.
The firing comes after courtroom video showed the officer admitting to lying about a defendant refusing to take a breathalyzer test.
"You never put the suspect's true words in your report," Bolton wrote in the termination letter. "In your report you knowingly failed to tell the truth and nothing but the truth."
Bolton turned the case over to Louisville Metro Police for potential criminal charges.
An attorney for Hernandez could not be immediately reached for comment.
Last month, defense attorney Paul Gold sent a letter alerting Bolton to what he said was multiple examples of misconduct by Officer Hernandez. Bolton then forbid Hernandez from working in the breathalyzer area, Gold said in an interview.
However, during a July 21 DUI trial, the officer testified she was still a breathalyzer technician.
And 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 lied about whether a defendant was refusing to take a breathalyzer test.
“You lied, correct? Yes or no?” Gold asked.
“Yes, sir,” Hernandez replies.
On Wednesday, Gold praised Bolton for not only firing Hernandez, but doing so swiftly.
"It is remarkable that he took it this seriously and did the right thing," Gold said in an interview.
As for her pending DUI cases, which Gold said numbered around 300, Gold said she has little incentive to testify and, in fact, her attorney likely will advise Hernandez of taking the stand so she doesn't incriminate herself in case police decide to prosecute her.
"Her credibility would be zero," Gold said. "I can’t imagine the county attorney would want to put her on the stand for any testimony, even if they could."
Jessie Halladay, a spokeswoman for the county attorney's office, said prosecutors would review each case involving Hernandez "on a case by case basis to determine the appropriate steps going forward."
In the meeting with Bolton, Hernandez claimed she inadvertently misquoted the defendant on whether he was refusing to take a Breathalyzer because he was "mumbling" and she could not clearly hear what he was saying, according to the termination letter.
And she lied about the incident under oath because Gold led her "down a rat hole," Bolton wrote.
"What you want me to believe is that the only time you lied under oath is when you confessed to Judge Burke that you lied," Bolton said of her testimony. "To be clear, there is no confusion about any of that."
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