Another Walt Disney Special (Courtesy Of The Hollywood PD)
Looks like Hollywood Police Ofc. Dewey Pressley did a little bit of Walt Disney in another DUI case.
Pressley, the Hollywood officer who was caught on tape framing a woman for a car accident caused by a fellow cop, clearly lied under oath in a case involving a defendant named Steven Berglund. And, again, Pressley's video cam in his cruiser proved to be his undoing, according to a motion filed by defense attorney, Robert Reiff.
Specifically, Pressley is accused of testifying in a February 13 deposition that his video camera was broken and there was no tape of Bergulund's arrest. The problem was that Reiff had already seen the video. Reiff's motion allegest that on top of that, the video contradicted other statements Pressley made about the Berglund arrest during the deposition.
Reiff also claims that he was told by another lawyer, Alan Steven Bernstein, that Pressley had spoken to him about the Berglund case and that the officer said he had "his tail between his legs from the deposition."
Say what you will about Pressley, but he gives great quotes. Anyway, now Reiff is trying to throw out his client's July 9 plea and sentence in lieu of the new evidence from the Alexandra Torrensvilas case, which includes Pressley on tape admitting that he doesn't mind "bending" the truth to "protect a cop."
An excerpt from Reiff's motion (it jumps):
On August 26, 2008, the defendant, Steven Leonard Berglund, was cited by Officer Dewey Pressley of the City of Hollywood police department for the offense of driving under the influence, pursuant to F.S. '316.193 (2008).
On February 13, 2009, the undersigned counsel took the sworn deposition of Officer Pressley. At the time, the officer stated that he did not record the investigation of Mr. Berglund on his in-car video camera because the camera equipment was broken. See Deposition of Officer Dewey Pressley at pp. 16-17, attached hereto as Exhibit "A". However, having previously requested and obtaining a copy of the video, counsel knew this to be incorrect. Officer Pressley continued to give sworn testimony concerning the "facts" of the case. His version of the facts greatly diverged from what appeared on the video that had been recorded.
Thereafter, counsel had a court reporting agency transcribe the statements on the videotape in order to prove that Officer Pressley lied and/or
embellished his testimony in his sworn deposition. The transcript was prepared by court reporter Sonia Aragon. See Transcript of the Video Created By Officer Dewey Pressley, attached hereto as Exhibit "B".
Counsel was then approached by attorney Alan Steven Bernstein who has an office down the hall from counsel's Broward office and who had just taken the deposition of Officer Pressley in an unrelated matter. According to Bernstein, Officer Pressley alluded to the fact that he has recently given a deposition to counsel thinking that no video was created when one had been created. In alluding to the fact that his testimony had veered from the facts borne out by the video, Officer Pressley told Bernstein that "he really had his tail between his legs from that deposition."
The Broward State Attorney's Office was then provided copies of the deposition and the video transcript by counsel's office. After reviewing the deposition of Officer Pressley and the transcript of the DVD of the arrest that we prepared, the prosecutor's office made the following plea offer to Mr. Berglund if he were to agree to plead nolo contendere to the DUI charges:
- 3 years of probation (which could be transferred to Minnesota);
- A fine & court costs;
- 30 days in the Broward County Jail;
- A 10 year driver's license suspension;
- Use of an "ignition interlock device" on his car when he reinstates his driver's license;
- Extended DUI school.
Given that he was facing a significant amount of jail time, that this new plea offer was much lower than the 12-18 months the prosecution was initially seeking under the sentencing guidelines, and the fact that 30 days in the Broward County Jail was the minimum mandatory jail sentence that could be offered to him, Mr. Berglund exercised the difficult choice to accept the no contest plea in an attempt to move forward with his life. This plea was entered on July 9, 2009.
Indeed, had Mr. Berglund and his counsel been properly advised as to the officer's malfeasance in State of Florida v. Alexandra Torrensvilas, Broward County case number 09-004086MM10A, he would likely have not have entered his no contest plea and he would have proceeded to trial. Since the defendant was not fully advised of the circumstances surrounding Officer Pressley's other improper actions, and the internal and criminal investigations of him, his plea was not voluntarily made.
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