Easton, PA- An Easton, PA woman who was acquitted of DUI by a jury, was convicted mere minutes later by a Northhampton County Judge.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Northampton County Judge Michael Koury convicted Jessica Trump, 25, last week of a lesser general impairment DUI count shortly after a jury cleared her on a drunken driving charge. Trump's lawyer has vowed to appeal the decision.
During the trial, Trump testified that she wasn't the driver of the car police spotted double-parked in Freemansburg, PA in July. Trump and other witnesses testified that she had gotten into the driver's seat to retrieve some bags while the designated driver for the evening was unlocking the house. The Northampton PA County jury found Trump's and the other witnesses testimony credible and ultimately found Trump not guilty of DUI.
Apparently, Judge Koury had other plans for Trump and convicted her of general impairment DUI, a minor misdemeanor. Under the law, those accused of general impairment DUI offenses which is punishable by a maximum of six months in prison, are not entitled to a jury trial. Judge Koury said the charge fell under that provision because it can bring five days to six months in prison, and a suspended license of a year.
In a move that was even criticized by the prosecution, Trump's case gained noteriority because Judge Koury took the unprecedented step in suspending Trump's driving privleges and liscense as a condition of her bail. A licensing suspension is typically not imposed until an individual is found guilty of DUI or refuses DUI blood or breath testing. As former prosecutor John Waldron put it,
"Twelve people heard the witnesses, 12 people deliberated, and 12 people came back unanimously and made the call," Waldron said. "In my experience, judges usually follow what the jury did."
As Trump's case makes clear, having an experienced and knowledgeable State College DUI defense attorney representing you is imperative.