Man in drunken-driving case sues officer County also named in $500,000 suit

January 08, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A man convicted of drunken driving has sued the county and a Howard police officer, claiming the patrolman provided "false testimony" during his trial nearly two years ago.

Ronald P. Fedoryk of Gaithersburg also contends in the lawsuit that the officer violated his constitutional rights after stopping him along Interstate 95 in December 1989.

Mr. Fedoryk, 40, says Officer Michael Martin falsely testified about the outcome of the field sobriety tests he took after being stopped by the patrolman, according to the 12-page suit filed in Howard County Circuit Court on Dec. 24.

Mr. Fedoryk says that Officer Martin violated his rights by unlawfully searching his vehicle and refusing to allow him to take a test to determine the amount of alcohol in his system.

Assistant State's Attorney Bernard Taylor, who prosecuted Mr. Fedoryk, said the plaintiff raised few of the issues listed in the suit at his criminal trial.

"[The suit] is extraordinary in that it's frivolous," Mr. Taylor said. "It was a run-of-the-mill, garden-variety [traffic] stop."

Mr. Fedoryk, 40, was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol following a jury trial in Howard Circuit Court in April 1991. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail, with all but 16 days suspended.

Mr. Fedoryk is seeking $500,000 in damages from the county and Officer Martin, according to the suit.

"Among the injuries suffered by [Mr. Fedoryk] was his perception and realization that he was being subjected to gross injustice, with no immediate remedy and no means of terminating the injustice," the suit says.

Mr. Fedoryk's attorney, Glen Fallin of Ellicott City, said he will present court documents, police reports and testimony to support his client's claims.

"Basically, it's a question of credibility," Mr. Fallin said. "I don't know of any other way that's going to be resolved."

He said some legal points were set aside at Mr. Fedoryk's trial to avoid a "credibility contest" with Officer Martin in front of the jurors. Mr. Fallin did not represent Mr. Fedoryk during the criminal proceedings.

County Solicitor Barbara Cook declined to comment.

Officer Martin and Mr. Fedoryk could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Fedoryk requested a new trial, but Judge James Dudley denied the request. The judge also denied a request for a modified sentence.

Mr. Fedoryk went to the state Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court in Baltimore seeking a review of his case, but the courts denied the requests. An appeal is now pending before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.

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