An officer with the Utah Highway Patrol was relieved of duty after allegations surfaced that she falsely arrested more than 40 people for driving under the influence. The New York Times reports that a lawsuit stemming from the allegations was filed on December 14 in Salt Lake City’s District Court. The suit accuses Corporal Lisa Steed of arresting drivers who weren’t even drinking. In some cases, those arrested were people who claim they don’t actually drink alcohol at all. Robert Sykes, one of the lawyers on the case, says in many cases, his clients were arrested even after passing a sobriety test.
In those cases, the charges were either dropped or reduced, but not until the accused had paid bail, had their vehicles impounded and racked up court fees in excess of $1,000.
According to the report, Steed had been a rising star within the UHP – she was even named trooper of the year in 2007. But she was fired in November amidst allegations of wrongdoing, though she is currently appealing her termination. Greg Skordas, Steed’s lawyer, said the allegations were overblown, arguing that most of her arrests had stood up in court. Even so, Davis County attorney Troy Rawlings has said he will dismiss any case where Steed was the primary investigator or witness. Three years ago, a Highway Patrol sergeant reviewed 20 of Steed’s marijuana-impairment arrests and found that the drivers had no traces of the drugs in their system.