Jack Stick could find out this month whether he will stand trial on a two-year-old drunken driving arrest.
After a Thursday pretrial hearing, County Court-at-Law Judge Nancy Hohengarten said she will rule before an Oct. 21 hearing whether to admit blood test results and other evidence and whether an Austin police officer had probable cause to stop and arrest Stick. Prosecutors say the result of the blood tests, if allowed as evidence, will justify the decision to arrest him.
Stick, the top lawyer for the state’s Health and Human Services Commission, contends the officer who arrested him after a traffic stop in 2012 lacked probable cause. The slow progress of the case and the contrasting attention given to Stick’s alleged transgressions and those of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg have prompted criticism.
Stick refused any form of field sobriety tests or breath test when he was stopped in Austin on Sept. 11, 2012. He said he was coming from meeting people downtown for work, where he had half a glass of wine and a few Manhattans. At the time he worked as HHSC’s deputy inspector general.
Stick’s attorney contended on Thursday that the officer, Robert Gilbert, made the arrest based on an assumption about Stick’s level of intoxication.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, focused on Gilbert's expertise. Gilbert said in his testimony that he has been a part of the Austin Police Department’s DWI enforcement unit for the past seven years. Prosecutors asked the court to allow a blood test result that came from a warrant as evidence of Gilbert’s credibility “because his suspicions were confirmed by the result.”