BANGOR (AP) – A federal jury found that a Brewer police officer did not violate Pat LaMarche’s rights when she was charged with drunken driving after allegedly running a red light 41/2 years ago.

Jurors deliberated for only an hour Thursday in U.S. District Court before finding in favor of former officer Daniel Costain.

“If I were on patrol tonight, I would do the same thing given the same set of circumstances,” Costain, now a Newport businessman, said afterward.

LaMarche, 42, was a Green Party gubernatorial candidate when she was pulled over on March 10, 1999.

A party official testified that before her arrest, she was considered a potential running mate for Green presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

LaMarche, who now works as a disc jockey in Augusta, was seeking lost wages and punitive damages. She testified that two job offers were withdrawn and she was fired from a consulting job hours after her arrest.

LaMarche declined to have a Breathalyzer test taken on the night she was arrested. She testified that she refused to take a test administered by Costain but was willing to have another officer do it. Eventually, she said she was told too much time had elapsed.

In his closing argument, Costain’s lawyer, Edward Benjamin Jr., urged jurors to use common sense.

“This is a case about Pat LaMarche trying to have her cake and eat it too,” he said. “She refused to take a Breathalyzer test the night she was arrested, so we don’t have the printout with a blood-alcohol level to prove if she was sober or not. … Don’t reward her for refusing to take the test.”

The arrest was LaMarche’s second for drunken driving. LaMarche had contended that the officer had it in for her once he saw the red star on her driver’s license for the pervious drunken-driving conviction.

Two months after her 1999 arrest, a District Court judge effectively threw out the drunken-driving charge. Soon afterward, the secretary of state’s office ruled that Costain did not have probable cause to arrest LaMarche.

Despite losing, LaMarche said she was happy to have her say in court.

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” she said, “but this has been hanging like a burden in the air.”

AP-ES-06-20-03 1124EDT



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