July 30, 2014

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Attorneys for Grafton mayor ask that evidence be tossed

Grafton Mayor Megan Flanigan gives a brief statement at the council meeting on Tuesday evening, just days after she was charged with drunken driving. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

Grafton Mayor Megan Flanigan gives a brief statement at the Council meeting days after she was charged with drunken driving. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

ELYRIA — Lawyers for Grafton Mayor Megan Flanigan have asked the judge presiding over her case to throw out most of the evidence gathered against her when she was arrested for DUI on Sept. 28.

In court documents filed in Elyria Municipal Court earlier this month, defense attorney Jack Bradley wrote the field sobriety tests Flanigan performed for Lorain County sheriff’s Deputy Adam Trifiletti weren’t administered properly.

Trifiletti was one of the deputies called into investigate after Grafton police Officer Anthony Camera came across Flanigan’s damaged Chevrolet SUV near the intersection of Fox Run and Hunting Hollow around 3 a.m.

Flanigan has pleaded not guilty to DUI, failure to stop after an accident and failure to control charges as well as a misdemeanor drug possession charge for a single pill that was found in the back of the patrol car after she was taken into custody. Testing determined the pill was a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, that together mimic the effects of opiates to prevent withdrawal symptoms.

A video of Flanigan’s interaction with law enforcement shows Trifiletti first having Flanigan follow an object with her eyes, a test he wrote in his report that she failed.

Bradley wrote that Trifiletti moved through the test too fast and didn’t test Flanigan’s right eye twice as required. He also wrote that the gaze test should take approximately 82 seconds and Trifiletti completed the procedure in about 44 seconds.

He also wrote that prosecutors shouldn’t be able to use the evidence of Flanigan during a one-leg stand test, during which she nearly fell twice, and a walk-and-turn test in which she stumbles twice on the video.

Flanigan had told Trifiletti that she had a sprained ankle and Bradley said because of her physical problems the two tests weren’t “reliable indicators as to whether Ms. Flanigan was under the influence of alcohol based on her physical condition.”

Without proper tests, Bradley argued, there was no reason for Flanigan to be arrested and taken for a breath test, which she refused.

North Ridgeville Prosecutor Toni Morgan, who is handling the case because Grafton Prosecutor Matt Mishak removed himself from the case due to a conflict of interest, wrote in a response filed Thursday that the tests taken by Flanigan were valid and officers had good reason to arrest the mayor.

“The video, viewed by the Defendant, indicates that the officer found the license plate and parts of the vehicle in a field in which the Defendant either denies driving in and/or has no knowledge of how the parts got there,” Morgan wrote. “She had a strong odor of alcoholic beverage about her person and heavy slurred speech. She denied drinking as well. Furthermore her performance on all field sobriety tests indicates an impaired ability to drive.”

Morgan also wrote the impact of a sprained ankle on Flanigan’s ability to take field sobriety tests was something a judge or jury would decide at trial, although she acknowledged Bradley had raised sufficient reason to hold a hearing on the results of the gaze test.

Bradley also argued that statements Flanigan made to police that were recorded on the video and her refusal to take a breath test shouldn’t be used against her.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7174 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.

  • Jeff

    wtf….really???? why is she even still mayor. all she has done is harm to the village

    • Dee Davison

      why did the citizens of Grafton elect a baby for mayor in the place???

    • Peter Aldrich

      You’re an idiot

  • Tamra Tury

    She should be taking responsibility for her bad choices instead of blaming the Officer for doing his job. By the way, who’s the judge preceding over this case?

    • Dave Sommers

      Lisa Locke Graves for this case and the drug case.

      • Dave Sommers

        Now I see a statement by Judge Graves that says “Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor has appointed retired Judge Elizabeth Wakefield to hear the case since both judges have a conflict”. This is for both cases.

  • Scott Poledna

    I would have more respect for her if she just admitted to what she did. I have no trust in her as an elected official.

  • bigmacky

    just because a test takes 82 seconds to administer – if the suspect is that bombed – the officer has the right to stop the test or any other test if he feels the suspect may get injured or is obviously so tanked further evidence or testing is not necessary – that being said – elected officials are not above the law and are held to a higher as are many public servants (yeah that’s a laugh) sorry – its time to fade from the spotlight and step down – its embarassing

  • stillsleepyeyes

    No officer……….I don’t know how or do I have knowledge on how my license plate got next to the fire hydrant………………. lol

  • Ruby Thomas Kloss

    It just gets better and better…..next she’ll say she wasn’t even in town that night, it must have been someone else.

  • Cathy Underwood-Clark Moore

    Yeah, lets just blame someone else or something else. She is an adult, and Mayor of Grafton….what an example she is setting for the kids! Money is going to win out again…….

  • T h Jackson

    Sadly this is the standard defense tactics for ovi any attorney would try with any dumb drunk. She’s not getting any special deal for being mayor. Shoulda called OSP. Then the case woulda been air tight.

  • John Davidson

    Fortunately for Megen she only hit a fire hydrant and not a human being. I am sure that she is not proud of her actions that night. All of us, or should I say most of us because I am sure there are a few you you who are flawless, make at least one or two horrible decisions in our lifetimes. Megan will suffer the consequences of her actions that night whether through the courts or those imposed by some other means. I for one do not believe that public officials should be held to a higher standard as they are also only human and quite capable of making the same lousy decisions the the rest of humanity can make. Now lets get on with our lives and try to make this area a better place to live.

  • stop ur whining part deux

    This is what makes our criminal justice system awesome. A good lawyer can make a good argument to the right judge and you turn a DUI into a couple points on your licenses and move on. Oh, and for all you, “she should step down, she is a villain, blah, blah, blah.” Yes, she got a DUI. But how many DUI’s daily in the US? And how many of those first time DUI’s get knocked down? And if you got a DUI (lets face it, everyone that has drank has at least one night they drove and shouldn’t have) would you not hire a lawyer and try thru every means necessary to get it knocked down?

    Oh, and for all, she is a leader, she should be held to a higher standard. First of all. Bhahahahaha….Bhahahahahahahahaha. Bahahahahahaha. Yea, OK.
    Second you have three leaders, A, B & C:

    Candidate A consults with astrologists. He’s had two mistresses. He chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 martinis a day.

    Candidate B was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used
    opium in college and drinks a quart of brandy every evening.

    Candidate C is a decorated war hero. He’s a vegetarian, doesn’t smoke,
    drinks an occasional beer and hasn’t had any illicit affairs.

    Candidate A is Franklin D. Roosevelt

    Candidate B is Winston Churchill

    Candidate C is Adolph Hitler

    CHEERS Ms. Flanigan!

  • Lina

    Remember this from the Chronicle initially-no mention of sprained ankle by the Mayor then…”An avid runner and triathlete, Flanigan commented on the social networking site as recently as Friday afternoon that she planned to take part in Saturday’s Akron Half Marathon”

  • Americaschild

    probation for four years and next time take a taxi

  • beety

    “Innocent people” always hire Jack Bradley….

  • DonMega

    Grafton must be hard up for a mayor.