No arrest for DUI a rarity in UPD cases
Published: Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 10:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 10:28 p.m.
Over the past five years, the University of Florida Police Department has charged 534 people with drunken driving. Of those, 527 were arrested on site, while seven were charged via a sworn complaint.
Marc A. Dunn — the 23-year-old son of UPD Deputy Chief Tony Dunn — is the only person pulled over in that time, records requested by The Sun show, to be cited via a sworn complaint and not be a juvenile, require an additional blood test or be too injured or sick to be arrested on site.
Dunn was pulled over June 29 on the UF campus, police reported, and appeared intoxicated to the responding officers, who later issued a test that showed Dunn had a blood-alcohol level of .176 — more than twice the legal limit of .08.
Instead of being arrested on a DUI charge, Dunn instead was issued no citation and allowed to go home with his father, a decision for which the UPD chief and UF administration have faulted the officers and not the deputy chief.
And because no field sobriety tests were performed and the blood-alcohol test administered is not admissible in court, a UPD administrator said Thursday it will be difficult for a DUI charge against Marc Dunn to stand up in court.
On Thursday, in response to a request emailed to UF President Bernie Machen for comment, UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes issued the following statement:
"A review of the incident by the University of Florida Police Department indicated that Marc Dunn should have been arrested on scene for DUI.
"The University of Florida Police Department has filed a sworn complaint with the State Attorney's Office for DUI. The officers involved will receive counseling and remedial training.
"We are disappointed in the actions of our officers, but we believe the University of Florida Police Department has taken the appropriate measures to right this situation."
The bicycle patrol officers who initially conducted the traffic stop and admonished Marc Dunn with a warning were Officers Rodrigo Morales and Jordan Craven. Both officers have been on the force since late 2011 and have only positive commendations in their personnel files, according to a review by The Sun on Thursday.
After giving Dunn a warning, Morales contacted Lt. Robert Wagner, who arrived at the scene with a portable breath test and instructed Morales to administer it to Dunn. After Dunn blew twice the legal limit, Wagner called Deputy Chief Tony Dunn, who later arrived at the scene and drove his son home.
Wagner has been on the force since 1990 and is in good standing, although in 2002 he was temporarily demoted for dating a subordinate, according to his personnel file.
Deputy Chief Darren Baxley on Thursday said Morales, Craven and Wagner will have to undergo remedial training, which Baxley said is the lowest level of reprimand.
"They made a human error," Baxley said. "You can poll police officers, and some may say I'm wrong and you can use discretion in that way, but Linda (Chief Linda Stump) and I don't believe discretion should be used that way."
Morales, Craven and Wagner remained on active duty Thursday, and Baxley said their remedial training has not yet been scheduled. Morales was in Ocala on Thursday for previously scheduled training unrelated to the incident, Baxley said.
There will be no formal reprimand of Deputy Chief Dunn, who has been with UPD for more than 30 years. Multiple sources at UPD said the senior Dunn was not involved in the decision-making process regarding his son not being cited but was called to the scene "solely in his capacity as a father" to pick up his son.
Baxley said every officer involved after Morales issued a warning to Marc Dunn believed it would have been legally improper to attempt to detain him afterward for a proper DUI investigation.
Whether Marc Dunn will face legal ramifications as a result of the sworn complaint filed Wednesday remains to be seen.
When initially contacted on Wednesday, UPD spokesman Maj. Brad Barber said the complaint against Marc Dunn was filed on July 12, although it was later confirmed the complaint had been hand-delivered on Wednesday, after The Sun had inquired about the incident. Two and a half weeks had passed since the higher-level personnel in the department had been made aware of the traffic stop.
State Attorney Bill Cervone said Thursday there was no undue delay in receipt of the sworn complaint and that he was made aware of the incident in early July, although he couldn't recall the exact date.
A timeline released by the university listed July 3 as the date Baxley contacted Cervone and informed him of the traffic stop and the two concluded filing a sworn complaint would be the appropriate action.
In any event, Cervone explained, the delivery of the sworn complaint was timely in that it did not exceed the statute of limitations for prosecuting a DUI.
Cervone also said the phrase "the complaint was filed" can be loosely defined and simply meant the complaint was in process.
The sworn complaint ultimately submitted by Morales was a three-page, handwritten report and made no mention of the portable breath test results of Marc Dunn because they would not be admissible in court.
Cervone declined to comment on the probability of a successful DUI prosecution against Marc Dunn, citing the ongoing nature of the case. Numerous attempts to reach Tony and Marc Dunn were unsuccessful Wednesday and Thursday.
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