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    Monday, September 12, 2005

    Another Story of American Cops

    Cops are always there when we need them.

    In the end, the conduct of two police officers accused of passing around nude photos taken from the cell phone of a drunken-driving suspect had no influence on a verdict reached by jurors Thursday.

    Six jurors deliberated only 15 minutes before finding the woman, 26, guilty on a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated.

    "All we considered is whether she was intoxicated that night," said juror Joe Ramirez, 36, an oilfield worker. "The videos and the Breathalyzer tests were strong evidence."

    Jury foreman Jade Boyd, 40, a writer, said he doubted the explanation the fired officers gave for downloading the nude photos and showing them to other officers, but he kept their conduct separate from the drunken-driving charge.

    The woman, a Houston Community College student, began crying after County Criminal Court-at-Law Judge Mark Atkinson announced a sentence agreed to by the defense and prosecution: one year probation, a $400 fine, 40 hours community service and time with victims of drunken drivers.

    "I don't deserve a DWI," the woman said.

    "It's not fair," she said, referring to the officers' use of the photos from her cell phone.

    "She is a good person, and she didn't deserve what the police did to her," Catherine Samaan, one of her attorneys, said after the verdict.

    Defense attorney Ned Gill tried to convince the jury that ex-officers Christopher Green and George Miller should not be believed because they had been fired by the Houston Police Department after an internal investigation.

    "You shouldn't believe officers that even the HPD doesn't believe," Gill said. "We have two rogue police officers here."

    Green was accused of downloading the photos from the woman's cell phone to his personal digital assistant after the Nov. 25, 2004, arrest.

    About two weeks later, Miller left a voicemail message asking the woman to meet him at a restaurant.


    Shades of this.

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