Why A Utah State Trooper Is Target of Class Action Suit By Drivers
Over zealous trooper wrote bogus tickets and cost drivers big money
State troopers put their lives on the line every day. And the act of pulling someone over on a highway can be a deadly experience for any cop not following the best protocols. But police are also under great pressure to generate ticket revenue for their cities, counties and states, and their zeal to hit revenue targets can lead them to do the wrong thing.
So says a class action suit filed against the State of Utah and a specific state trooper who is accused of writing "driving under the influence" tickets when they weren't impaired.
State trooper Lisa Steed was honored inside the state police force for busting an extraordinary number of drunk drivers. But some of her convictions were subsequently over-turned, and the trooper was reprimanded and then fired for making false arrests.
Since Steed's performance and punishment were reported, dozens of people who were convicted have been signing up with lawyers for a class action suit. People convicted of DUI lost money, cars and trailers and even jobs, according to ABC 4 News/Salt Lake City.
One such plaintiff is Thomas Romero who was arrested by Steed in 2011. "I wasn't drunk ... I was not intoxicated. Nothing," Romero told ABC 4.
One of the representing attorneys, Robert Sykes, says he is looking at hundreds of drivers who may have been victimized. Sykes is ambitiously seeking that all DUI arrests by state troopers be over-turned in cases where the trooper was the only witness.
How much could plaintiffs get? Attorneys are hoping to get Romero, for example, at least $20,000 to cover everything he lost, including his truck and his motor home. If you add up all the cases these attorneys think are out there, the lawsuit could potentially cost Steed and the Utah Highway Patrol $20 million.
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