Posted: Jan 29, 2015 6:38 PM CET Updated: Jan 29, 2015 10:05 PM CET
Defense attorneys had said Officer Brett Rehm’s lie was caught on video potentially putting dozens of drunken driving cases he has handled in jeopardy.
But Sgt. Mindy Baker, with the Public Integrity Unit, concluded earlier this month that “evidence proves there are no integrity or credibility issues regarding the conduct of Officer Rehm,” according to a Jan. 16 memo obtained by WDRB. “This case is closed.”
Dwight Mitchell, a spokesman for Louisville Metro Police, said the case has been turned over to the Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office for review.
A request for comment from the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office was not immediately returned.
In November, the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office amended two drunken driving cases in which a lapel video was introduced of Rehm appearing to tell a police officer he did not smell alcohol on the breath of a defendant — but then writing in court records that he had.
After a police officer appeared to tell Rehm last February that the case against Jorge Cejay may be dismissed because of the lack of a blood alcohol test, Rehm wrote on Cejay’s blood alcohol report that Cejay “had odor of alcoholic beverage emitting from his breath,” according to a body camera video.
But Baker said she reviewed a different surveillance video that shows the entire room – and includes audio – and concluded in her investigation that Rehm made those comments about a prior suspect who had been given a breathalyzer.
Baker said the video “clearly” shows Rehm talking to another officer about a different case and his statement matched the paperwork Rehm wrote in that case.
The body camera video of the conversation at Metro Corrections became an issue in a DUI trial in November as attorney Daniel Alvarez was questioning Rehm. Alvarez said he subpoenaed the video and showed it to Assistant County Attorney Ben Wyman during a break in the trial. Wyman then agreed to amend the case to alcohol intoxication.
Alvarez, Cejay’s attorney, Jeff McClain, and other attorneys have said the video likely would become an issue in many of Rehm’s cases, because it calls into question his credibility.
Alvarez said he was “shocked” to learn that Metro Corrections has video that shows the entire Breathalyzer lab.
“We have never been told, as defense attorneys, there is video that covers the entire lab,” Alvarez said. “I’d like to know when this was installed. How long have they had these videos? Interesting that has never been turned over by corrections nor the (prosecution) when attorneys have been requesting any videos for years.”
Defense attorney Paul Gold said he was also troubled to find out the existence of recorded videos that show the entire lab, saying he been repeatedly told such video with audio does not exist. Gold said he is unsure whether he will make an issue of the video in Rehm’s pending DUI cases.
“I may or may not believe the police investigation”, Gold said. “Until I see the video, it’s hard for me to say.”
Jessie Halladay, a spokesperson for the county attorney’s office, said “we have just recently been made aware that there are these additional surveillance videos as well.”
Halladay said the office doesn’t yet know how long Metro Corrections has been using the surveillance camera and would not comment on whether jail officials should have already informed defense attorneys and prosecutors about the videos.
She also said that while it is “good news” that police have cleared Rehm, the county attorney’s office would need to wait and see what happens with the internal Metro Corrections investigation to determine how to move forward with Rehm’s cases.
Metro Corrections officials did not return e-mails or phone calls seeking comment on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Assistant County Attorney Paul Richwalsky, chief of the DUI division, said in November that it was possible Rehm was talking about a different case.
“There could be an explanation for it, there could not be,” he said at the time. “I don’t know.”
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