Bob Genetski declared guilty of operating while intoxicated
Bob Genetski’s attorney, Mike Nichols, speaks to reporters after the verdict in his case Tuesday.
Since state Rep. Bob Genetski was arrested about eight months ago on MSU’s campus, he has been living with the after-effects of fighting operating while intoxicated charges — he hired an East Lansing lawyer who requested about 300 pages of lab reports to evaluate, he underwent a two-day jury trial in which nearly every detail of his blood alcohol content test was scrutinized and he has been restricted to driving only to and from work and court appointments.
Tuesday afternoon, any hope ended for his charges being dropped as a six-person jury in East Lansing’s 54-B District Court declared him guilty of the crime.
Genetski likely will not be sentenced until November, his attorney Mike Nichols told a crowd of reporters after the verdict was read.
Genetski, a Saugatuck Republican and chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education, could face a penalty of a 93-day jail sentence.
But Nichols said the punishment is usually just probation for first-time offenders in East Lansing.
For the past two days, Nichols mainly argued there could have been contamination during his blood alcohol content tests and that he was not impaired by alcohol while driving on the morning of Jan. 19.
State Rep. Bob Genetski, R-Saugatuck, listens as he awaits a verdict on his operating while intoxicated charge in East Lansing’s 54-B District Court on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. The U.S. Supreme Court will decide in June 2013 whether it is constitutional for police to obtain a blood test, like the one Genetski took, for suspected drunken drivers without a warrant. Julia Nagy/The State News
Nichols collected more than 300 pages from the Michigan State Police Forensic Science Laboratory and hired two experts to pick apart the lab’s protocol.
He questioned the ethanol alcohol levels of a control group vial, arguing Genetski’s blood sample could have been contaminated.
Nichols brought in multiple experts, including Janine Arvizu, who were critical of the lab’s practices of testing blood alcohol content, or BAC, levels.
Arvizui said on the stand Monday there could have been carry-over of alcohol from another test between two instruments.
Tuesday, the prosecution brought Geoffrey French, supervisor of the lab’s toxicology unit, back on the stand to explain the level of errors.
French said the lab already had accounted for the errors Arvizu had suggested the lab overlooked.
Genetski’s BAC, which was .088 in two tests, only was reported at .08 in the charge to account for any possible mistakes in the lab.
Once questioning had ended, the attorneys turned to the jury, hoping to appeal to them through closing statements.
“Ask yourself if the government’s proof is so reliable, consistent, insurmountable that it erases the fair and honest doubt that you start with in the jury room,” Nichols said in his closing statement.
Church’s closing statement encouraged the jury not to fall for Nichols’ emotional appeals.
“Mr. Nichols appealed to your emotion that this would create some sort of a stain on Mr. Genetski — that happens any time a person comes before a jury — but the instruction says you can’t allow sympathy to affect your verdict,” Church said.
When the jury read their verdict, Genetski’s face remained stone cold.
After the announcement, Nichols said he was not surprised by the jury’s decision.
Nichols could not comment on what effect the guilty verdict could have on Genetski’s political future.
“We tried this case with class, and we’re going to live with the outcome — that’s the way it is,” Nichols said.