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No decision in Wintersville policeman’s suppression hearing

Updated: Thursday, August 7 2014, 05:10 PM EDT
TORONTO, Ohio -- Wintersville Police Officer Shawn Gegick appeared in court Thursday, where the big question centered around whether or not the Breathalyzer he was administered on the morning of March 9, after he led a state highway patrolman on a high-speed chase in a Utility Task Vehicle, was working properly.
While some insight was given as to how that machine works, in the end, there were still plenty of questions and a judge was left to decide if the results should be thrown out.
Gegick sat expressionless and quiet as the prosecution and defense argued whether to suppress the results of that Breathalyzer test. Gegick has been charged with failure to control and OVI.
At Thursday’s hearing, the only person to take the stand was Lt. Joe Fetty with the Ohio State Highway Patrol post in Steubenville. Special Prosecutor Dan Padden took the court through several pieces of evidence indicating the machine used, a BAC Data Master, was working properly each time it was checked: four times in January, four times in February.
"Was this machine, on February 4th 2014, certified by Mr. Yonni as working correctly?” Padden asked.
“Yes,” Fetty answered.
It was tested again on March 4, with a second March test taking place on 11th. At that time, Fetty testified that there was an issue.
“So in other words, you would be concerned about the accuracy of the test that would be performed by that machine?” Judge Joseph Corabi asked.
“Yes,” Fetty answered.
Defense attorney Jim Abrams then kept it simple and to the point.
"They have to prove that the machine was working properly on March 9th,” Abrams said. “I don’t have to prove it wasn’t. They have to prove it was. I think there’s no evidence here today to prove that machine was working properly on March the 9th.”
“Our argument to the court is ultimately this that even with that small deviation -- .001 -- given the test result given to Mr. Gegick, the defendant in this case, the breath alcohol level would still be above the .08 level, even subtracting that or even a larger margin of error,” Padden said.
In the end, even though the judge didn't make a decision, he let the attorneys know exactly what he was thinking.
“I’m struggling with the fact that the machine was probably not accurate on March the 9th,” Corabi said. “So I am leaning very strongly toward suppressing this evidence this time. However, I have not made that decision yet.”
Gegick has pleaded not guilty to those charges. Because the case is ongoing, both sides declined to comment. From here, the defense and prosecution have a week to respond -- a response to sway the judge one way or the other.

No decision in Wintersville policeman’s suppression hearing

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