Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hague DUI trial set for February; judge won't allow breath test results


The drunken driving trial of King County Councilwoman Jane Hague has been scheduled for February -- but breath test results from her arrest can't be used as evidence against her, a judge decided Wednesday.

Hague, 61, was arrested the night of June 2 while driving on State Route 520, police said. Hague has pleaded not guilty.

She failed two breath tests of blood alcohol level, police said. A Breathalyzer registered her breath-alcohol content in two readings at .135 and .141, according to the citation. The legal limit is .08.

But County District Judge Peter Nault ruled Wednesday that the breath tests can't be used in the trail because of defects in implying Hague's consent to them, her lawyer, William Kirk, and prosecutor Lynn Moberly said. The issue has been successfully raised by defendants in other drunk-driving cases.

Prosecutors could still use physical evidence and statements made by police officers.

The deputy who pulled Hague over said she told him she had consumed two glasses of wine that night. He described the councilwoman as "sarcastic and condescending" during her arrest.

Hague later issued a statement apologizing for her behavior during the arrest.

Hague, a Bellevue Republican, was re-elected Nov. 6, defeating Richard Pope, a perennial candidate who ran as a Democrat without the party's support.

Pope made an issue of Hague's arrest in the campaign and his complaints led to the suspension of an interim judge who presided over a hearing in the case.

Nault was scheduled to preside at the October hearing but was absent.

Pope e-mailed court officials and cited the interim judge' s conviction on criminal misdemeanor charges in 2001 and 2005 and questioned his fitness to serve as a pro tem judge.

County District Court Chief Presiding Judge Barbara Linde responded by directing the court to refrain from using the man as a pro tem judge pending further investigation.

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