BANGOR (AP) – Former Green Party gubernatorial candidate Patricia LaMarche’s lawsuit alleging that a former Brewer police officer acted improperly when he arrested her for drunken driving four years ago has gone to trial in U.S. District Court.

LaMarche, 42, who now works as a disc jockey in Augusta, testified Monday that two job offers were withdrawn and she was fired from a consulting job hours after her March 10, 1999, arrest by Daniel Costain.

LaMarche claims that Costain, now a Newport businessman, lacked probable cause to stop or arrest her. She is seeking lost wages and punitive damages. To win, she must prove that given the same circumstances, no reasonable officer would have stopped her or arrested her.

LaMarche spent most of Monday being questioned by her attorney, Thomas Connolly of Portland. Coincidentally, Connolly was the Democratic candidate for governor in 1998, the same year LaMarche ran under the Green Party banner.

She told jurors that she was sentenced to 96 hours in jail after being arrested in Yarmouth in 1997 for drunken driving. She also was fired from her at a Portland talk radio station, but spoke publicly in newspaper stories about her arrest.

Despite the arrest, she said Monday, she captured 7 percent of the vote in 1998, enabling the Green Party to gain official party status.

LaMarche told the court that after spending March 9 working her consulting job in Bangor, she met friends at a restaurant and drank a pint of beer. She admitted ordering two drinks at dinner at an Orono restaurant but said she did not drink much of one because it was too salty.

Later that evening, according to LaMarche, she ordered a bottle of beer at a dance club but drank less than a third of it.

She testified that when Costain stopped her on South Main Street in Brewer, he said she failed to stop at a light and asked her if she had been drinking.

LaMarche said she told him yes. Costain, according to LaMarche, spoke to her in angry tones and intimidated her while he administered a series of field sobriety tests.

Under questioning from Connolly, she testified that Costain kept his hand on his gun when she did the tests. She said Costain placed her under arrest and took her to the Penobscot County Jail. She said that after she refused to take a Breathalyzer test and asked to call a lawyer, Costain “blew a gasket.”

LaMarche said she called a Bangor attorney who lived nearby, but refused to take the test until he arrived. Costain recorded that she’d refused to take the test. LaMarche testified that she agreed take the test from another officer, but that by the time she finished speaking with her attorney, she was told too much time had passed since her arrest for the test to be valid.

Under cross-examination, LaMarche maintained that she had been sober and passed Costain’s tests, but admitted that she did not perform them exactly as instructed.

The case is expected to go to the jury by Friday.

AP-ES-06-17-03 0216EDT



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