Gwinnett County Police Officer Caught Speeding Found Not Guilty

An off-duty Gwinnett County Georgia police officer who was arrested and charged with drunken driving after being stopped for speeding was found not guilty Friday by a local judge.

“We feel that our trooper did his job and took a dangerous driver off of the road,” said Larry Schnall, spokesman for the State Patrol. “That trooper is an instructor in how to make proper and effective DUI traffic stops.”The judge in the case, Recorders Court Judge Patricia Muise, in Gwinnett County Ga., was not available for comment.

But Muise’s judicial assistant, Kim Everett, defended the judge’s actions.

“The evidence was presented in court and she made a decision based on the evidence,” Everett said. The trial was held Jan. 29, and Everett said she watched the proceedings.

The traffic stop occurred about 1 a.m. on Dec. 28 in the Lawrenceville area of I-85 in Georgia, according to the State Patrol.

Schnall said Cpl. Kevin Brandle was driving a GMC Yukon with two other people in the car. Cpl. Charles Chapeau, a Georgia state trooper, pulled the driver over for speeding and noticed that the occupants in the car were trying to hide some items. Chapeau also saw open containers of beer in the car.

The driver, Brandle, smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, Schnall said.

Chapeau charged Brandle with driving under the influence of alcohol and with having open containers of alcohol in his car, Schnall said, and Brandle’s passengers also were cited for having open containers of alcohol.

Brandle refused to take a breath test or do a field sobriety test and told the trooper that he was a Gwinnett police officer, Schnall said.

The traffic stop was videotaped and a microphone in the patrol car captures the officer cursing at the trooper, Schnall said.

Chapeau, who made the traffic stop, is a supervisor with the State Patrol and is an instructor who teaches other troopers how to detect drunken drivers.

Christine Koehler, Brandle’s defense attorney, said her client was innocent.

“The judge reviewed all the evidence, including the videotape and made her decision,” said Koehler. “Any time the Georgia State Patrol loses a case they get upset. But [Brandle] is a superior officer who has received many awards.”

Brandle has been working for the Gwinnett Police Department for about eight years, said Cpl. Illana Spellman, a department spokeswoman.

Brandle had been working in the Special Operations department, she said, but was given a “desk job” after the arrest.

The incident is being investigated by the internal affairs department, Spellman said.

Atlanta Journal Constitution Article

Free Georgia Traffic Lawyer Help in Gwinnett County

11 Responses

  1. I know officer Brandle well and know him to be a fine policeman. He’s dedicated and honest. There are a lot of other departments that have problems with being harassed by GSP. And the act like babies when they don’t get their way. Maybe if tthe GSP tried working with other departments instead of taking frustrations out on them they may get more done for the people. When I lived in Dekalb they were having problems out of GSP pulling DPD officers over when they left work. Thats a great way to spend our tax dollars.

    • The law should apply to everyone, especially if the evidence is overwhelming (the open containers, slurred speech, refusing sobriety tests, if he was innocent, this should be no problem to comply with) no matter when it is a Gwinnett cop or a judge. I commend the G.S.P. for their effort to get drunk drivers off the road and feel officer Brandle should face the consequences like everyone else… he is sure setting a fine example to his community( drinking and driving) ask him if he has ever let a drunk driver off the hook…. I lost a loved one to a drunk driver and to hear that a cop can get away with a D.U.I. is absurd. The G.S.P. was not harrassing officer Brandle, he was doing his job. I sure hope the ruling is overturned by internal affairs.

    • Did you ever think that maybe officers leaving work shouldn’t speed? Uniform or not…the law is the law and we all have to follow the rules irregardless of our occupations.

  2. Good for the Georgia State Police ! Its a shame the laws dont apply to cops that break the law.

  3. I justed attended a seminar taught by Larry Danaher, a retired Indiana police officer and nationally recognized SWAT expert, who said that police officers should be held to higher standards than most because of their status and power in the community, He also said that “if officers make little mistakes, they will make big ones too.” Brandle is a fine officer but sometimes we all need the spirit to kick us in the butt.

    Officer Doug Maitlen
    Atlanta P.D.

  4. It needs to be said that Officer Brandle was found innocent. He was in Special Operations. A very dangerous position that he volunteered for. He is a credit to his department and this is a good thing to put behind him. And no I am not a police officer. I do however appreciate what a tough job it is.

  5. So I am wondering…My husband is a commercial who not only searches for, but pulls unexploded ordinance out of America’s waterways. He is one of the people responsible for millions of people, officers included, having power in Long Island, NY. I have watched him crawl into sewer pipes so that clogs can be unplugged in the sewer system and people, officers included, do not get sick and die. I have seen him climb into water towers to inspect them. He is one of the people responsible for the city of Cleveland in Ohio having fresh drinking water. He has helped to maintain bridges in about 35 different states. He has done numerous projects allowing military bases to function. I have video of him attaching himself to bridge pillars in rivers flowing at over 35 mph to inspect and maintain them. I literally watched him throw on his dive gear and help to clean out service pipes in Florida that were filled with water so disgusting that there were dead animals such as cats and raccoon in it. He helps make it possible for doctors, nurses, officers, teachers, grocery store owners, truck drivers, politicians, lawyers, everyone to get to hospitals safely. With out people like him our society would not be the organized thing we see today. I have watched him do things that save far more lives than any officer I have ever met. So…can my husband get back the money he had to pay 10 years ago for a DUI he received after a dinner with the bosses? This is crap. Why would I bring my husband’s paycheck to Georgia and buy a home in an affluent area paying higher taxes when there are countless stories of officers in Georgia getting away with offenses ranging from murder to this? I have found 6 of these stories in the last hour. Seems like Georgia is more lawless than Detroit…for cops. Equal treatment for everyone…PERIOD. No freebees.

  6. I was in Judge Muise court this week and she don’t go by the facts when it comes to another Gwinnett County police officer. You can have all the evidence you need but it will not make a differences she will take the side of a policeman even if they are wrong. And you know that will let the officer know they can continue to do the wrong things. Next election she shouldn’t be elected. Oh she will throw a few cases like the one that happen a few cases before my case. But we know you have to give some. Please don’t re-elect this Judge. She’s just wrong!!! God bless!!

  7. I just got out of Judge Muise’s courtroom, narrowly missing a contempt charge after letting her know that she is an idiot. She doesn’t care about anything but pulling money out of the pockets of those without lawyers. If you have a lawyer, you’ll get off with a kiss. Judges like her are why people have no faith in the government.

  8. i was just in court 2 c of this judge Patricia M.

    i asked for common law jurisdiction
    i mentioned, that i do not consent and waive the right of benefits- all from the UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE 1-207.7 &9
    so i was just applying the law……………………….
    ME:IT IS NOT MY WISH TO DO SO,i said….
    i was forced to plead not guilty,to window tint……

    enough said:” don’t give me that Jefferson junk” …….. WOW!!!//???

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