DUI officer pleads guilty to forgery, cases could be affectedPosted: Updated:
If you're on trial for a crime, the officer's testimony can be crucial for the prosecution.
But one Phoenix DUI officer's integrity may be called into question, affecting dozens - maybe even hundreds of cases - because he was sentenced to jail on Friday.
After working for the Phoenix police department for more than 17 years, 38-year-old Jerry Schuiteboer resigned and pleaded guilty to two felony counts of forgery in July.
According to the police report, in January 2011, he drove his white ford F-250 truck to this desert area northeast of 291st Avenue and Sun Valley Parkway. He took out the stereo and trashed the truck to make it look like dealers stole it to transport drugs. Then he called a cab, went to a Home Depot in the west Valley, and reported his truck stolen - ultimately collecting more than $10,000.
"It's a crime of dishonesty," said DUI defense attorney Caroline Aeed.
She said she has six cases in the court system right now that Schuiteboer was either the arresting officer or the phlebotomist. She expects his conviction may have an impact on their outcomes.
"If you're not going to have the officer here that drew the blood to lay the proper foundation for the blood to even come into evidence, it's not coming in," Aeed said.
But the Maricopa County Attorney's Office said the testimony of an officer in a DUI case is only one piece of evidence, and they have yet to see if this will be an issue for them.
We paid a visit to the address listed as Schuiteboer's primary residence in the police report, but were unable to contact him. We also reached out to Schuiteboer's attorneys but have not yet heard back.
Schuiteboer was sentenced to 90 days in jail, plus two years probation. He also has to pay more than $14,000 in restitution.
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