BRATTLEBORO -- A man who was brought back from Florida to face charges for his seventh DUI offense was sentenced to 30 months in prison last week.
Stanley Wisell, 58, also pleaded guilty to failure to appear and 14 counts of violation of conditions of release.
In addition to his prison sentence, he was fined and ordered to pay a surcharge totaling $2,043.
Wisell was stopped on Putney Road on July 9, 2010, after a Brattleboro police officer spotted him driving a vehicle with an expired registration.
Wisell had a blood alcohol content of .351 percent.
At the time his license had been criminally suspended. He had previously been convicted of four DUIs in 1996, 1998, 2003 and 2006, according to court documents.
He was scheduled to appear in court following his July 2010 arrest but failed to appear.
Earlier this year it came to the attention of the Windham County State’s Attorney’s Office that Wisell was living in Florida. In April, deputies from the Windham County Sheriff’s Office traveled there to escort him to Vermont.
In May, Wisell was offered a plea agreement, but his public defender, Mimi Brill, said he wasn’t willing to accept it.
Brill told the court there was some concern over the accuracy of the DataMaster breath test because he couldn’t generate a continuous breath sample.
In June, Brill filed a motion to suppress and dismiss evidence on behalf of
Before putting the handcuffed Wisell in the patrol car, the officer did not read him his rights and a video recording of Wisell’s breath test wasn’t preserved, contended Brill.
He wasn’t given his Miranda Rights until after arrest and the sobriety tests, she wrote.
In July, the state filed its response to the motion, contending Miranda Rights don’t need to be read until a suspect is undergoing questioning.
According to Vermont precedent, "Questioning that occurs ‘during a routine traffic stop does not constitute custodial interrogation ...’" wrote Brown in the response.
Administration of a field sobriety test also does not qualify as a custodial interrogation, wrote Brown, because it is "non-testimonial."
Wisell also had the opportunity to request a copy of the video recording of his sobriety tests, he wrote, and was given 30 days to do so.
And because the officer was available to testify as to the result of the tests, wrote Brown, the lost evidence was "substantially redundant" and did not meet the threshold of being evidence favorable to the defendant.
Wisell’s plea agreement was delayed due to the challenge by Brill, said Deputy State’s Attorney Steven Brown, challenges that affected the final agreement.
"The sentence takes into account the legal challenges that were presented to the state in the defendant’s filings," he said.
Because a plea agreement was reached, the court never had a chance to review Brill’s motion or the state’s response, said Brown.
If Wisell’s case had gone to trial and he had been convicted, he could have been sentenced to up to five years behind bars.
Bob Audette can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 802-254-2311, ext. 160.