Updated: 07/08/2014 6:26 PM
Created: 07/08/2014 4:41 AM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean
Should a person charged with drunk driving get a break if they're "honorable" and do "good work" for the city? That's what the lawyer for Rochester Dep. Mayor Len Redon is arguing.
After a hearing in court today, attorney Ed Fiandach said Mr. Redon is an honorable man who is working hard to make the Rochester community better.
"He deserves to be held accountable, right?"
"He responded (to being arrested and charged with DWI) the way a reasonable, honorable person would respond. He acknowledged the situation and I think he deserves our respect," Fiandach said.
"He also deserves to be held accountable right Ed, if he had been drinking and driving?" I asked.
"Berkeley, you always put me on the spot. You always put me on the spot," Fiandach answered. "Certainly...certainly Len Redon is not... Let me drop it, what I've said. Okay?"
Mr. Redon is charged with DWI common law (based on the field sobriety tests administered by State Police Trooper Jacob Brinson) and DWI per se (based on State Police documents saying his BAC was .13). He was pulled over on I-490 by Trooper Brinson in March. Trooper Brinson says Redon passed his marked patrol SUV going approximately 70 miles per hour (in a 55MPH zone).
In court today, Trooper Brinson testified that he detected a "strong odor of alcohol" on Mr. Redon's breath and that Mr. Redon failed three field sobriety tests including the finger to nose test, the heel to toe nine step walking test and the alphabet test. (Trooper Brinson said he told Mr. Redon to say the alphabet starting at the letter F and stopping at the letter T. Trooper Brinson says Mr. Redon got through M, "mumbled a few letters and then said X, Y, Z.")
Trooper Brinson also said Mr. Redon failed the one leg stand test. "When he put his foot down he was actually falling so I had to catch him." the trooper said.
Judge Ellen Yacknin ruled that Mr. Redon failed the field sobriety tests. She also ruled that there was probable cause for the stop and arrest of Mr. Redon and that his statements to police were done properly. Judge Yacknin denied the defense motions to dismiss the charges.
Attorney Ed Fiandach questioned Trooper Brinson.
Q: You agree he was respectful?
Q: At no time did he say I'm the Deputy mayor, can you give me a break?
Under cross examination, Trooper Brinson said Mr. Redon "struggled" to get his license out and couldn't find his registration, even though it was in the glove box. Trooper Brinson admitted Mr. Redon was coherent in his conversation and showed "reasonable balance" when he was standing.
Fiandach tried to establish Mr. Redon's behavior and character.
Q: There was no begging or pulling rank?
Q: No crying?
A: No but he was pretty disappointed with himself.
Q: But he didn't blame you?
Q: He blamed himself?
Outside court, Fiandach talked about Mr. Redon's character.
"I want everyone to see what I know to be a fact - we're dealing with a man who is devoted to this community and he responded in a way in which I think we all should be proud, as a man who is devoted to the community and we should all keep that in mind, a man who is working hard for our betterment," Fiandach said.
Mr. Redon is a former executive with Paychex and was maned Dep. Mayor by former Mayor Tom Richards.
We interviewed Assistant District Attorney Roman Misula.
Brean: His lawyer is saying that Mr. Redon is a public servant and working hard for the city. Does that mitigate any of the facts in the case?
Roman Misula, Assistant District Attorney: With respect to any offers or mitigating circumstances, again I can't comment.
Brean: Just because someone is a good guy does that mean they should not face consequences?
Misula: There are a lot of offers that go into making an offer and whatever factors are being considered here I can't comment on.
Ed Fiandach said there are no plea discussions going on right now.
Judge Yacknin set a court date for August 12th to either come up with a plea agreement or set a trial date.