Jury acquits Lake Tahoe man of DUI | SierraSun.com

Jury acquits Lake Tahoe man of DUI

Rachel Spacek

A jury found a Lake Tahoe man innocent of a charge of driving under the influence on Friday evening.

Daniel K. Gorman’s trial began Monday with the selection of six women and six men to serve on the jury. The group deliberated for 90 minutes before returning the not guilty verdict.

Gorman, 25, was originally arrested in March 2015 on charges of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana.

According to court documents, a deputy was patrolling in the Stateline area around 2 a.m. when he noticed a gray pickup truck cut off a vehicle and change lanes without using its turn signal. In court documents and in his testimony, the deputy said he saw into the vehicle as it passed him and saw a single occupant, the driver.

Gorman’s defense attorney, Maria Pence, argued the deputy was not able to see clearly into Gorman’s car given the conditions. Gorman and Pence alleged that Gorman’s friend had been driving the vehicle and Gorman, who admitted to being drunk on scene, was sitting in the passenger seat.

In her opening argument, Pence said the driver and Gorman argued while they were in the vehicle. The argument escalated to a point where Gorman’s friend got out of the car to avoid hitting Gorman. The man allegedly parked the car in Harrah’s parking lot and ran to go catch a cab near Mont Bleu Casino.

According to the deputy’s report, he saw the vehicle pull into the Harrah’s Casino parking lot and saw a man get out of the car. The deputy then made a U-turn and pulled behind the vehicle.

The deputy made contact with the man who said he was running into the CVS to grab beer. The deputy believed Gorman was intoxicated.

Gorman told the deputy he had one beer four hours ago with a friend. The deputy asked Gorman to complete the standardized field sobriety tests. Gorman allegedly responded that he wouldn’t be able to complete them since he was drunk. He eventually completed them and the deputy believed he was impaired.

Gorman allegedly told the deputy he was drunk and was not driving, the deputy did not listen and arrested Gorman.

In a preliminary hearing, Gorman’s attorney Maria Pence, questioned whether the deputy was able to see that Gorman was the driver of the vehicle and that he was in fact, the only one in the vehicle. Pence said according to the information provided, the deputy would have had to see into the car at the distance of about a football field while traveling in the opposite direction of Gorman.

The state, represented by Peter Handy, called four Sheriff’s deputies to testify. All had experience patrolling the Stateline area at night. A few of them testified saying it would be difficult to see into a vehicle from more than 15 feet away.

The jury found there was reasonable doubt that the deputy recognized Gorman as the only occupant.

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