by kathy cruz
A county employee’s law student daughter who allegedly received special treatment last summer when she was charged with DWI is seeking a change of venue for her trial and suppression of the probable cause for the search warrant for her blood.
Attorneys representing Camille Dyer Matthews claim that the blood evidence should not be admitted because the state trooper who made the traffic stop did not have probable cause to request the “blood warrant.” The trooper testified that Matthews smelled strongly of alcohol when he pulled her over for speeding, swerving slightly and following too closely behind the vehicle in front of her. He obtained the blood warrant after she refused field sobriety tests.
Hood County Attorney Lori Kaspar and Assistant County Attorney Deanna Belknap participated in a hearing in Stephenville Thursday morning before Erath County Court-at-Law Judge Bart McDougal.
Kaspar is opposing the change of venue and motion to suppress. Contacted Thursday afternoon by the Hood County News, Kaspar dismissed any question of a possible plea deal.
“I’m not prepared to make any deals at this point,” she said.
Seated in the courtroom during the proceedings was Natalie Matthews, Camille Matthews’ mother. She acknowledged to the HCN last summer that she had phoned three judges on the night of Saturday, July 7, when her daughter was pulled over on South Morgan Street at about 10:45 p.m. on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Martin Castillo, one of the judges who received a call from Natalie Matthews, did an arraignment for Camille at about 2:30 a.m. on July 8. According to Sheriff’s Office records, she spent 46 minutes in custody.
Natalie Matthews recently quit her job, blaming District Clerk Tonna Hitt for publicity over the matter. Hitt denies having been the source of any anonymous communications that were received by the HCN.
Camille Matthews’ arrest was public record. Details of her arrest – as well as her mug shot – were posted on the website of the Hood County Sheriff’s Office.
The change of venue motion filed by attorney Robert Glasgow claims that Matthews cannot receive a fair trial in Hood County because of publicity.
The motion to suppress the probable cause for the search warrant that led to the blood test accuses trooper Thomas Anderson of misleading the judge who signed the warrant forcing Matthews to give a blood sample at Lake Granbury Medical Center.
It was Hood County Court-at-Law Judge Vincent Messina who signed the warrant requested by the trooper.
Anderson testified Thursday regarding details of the traffic stop. He said that he observed Camille Matthews swerving slightly, driving 10 miles over the speed limit and traveling too close to the vehicle in front of her. That vehicle was being driven by her mother.
Anderson also said that when he pulled Matthews over, her eyes appeared “glassy and bloodshot” and her speech was “slightly slurred.”
No action has been taken regarding the motions. McDougal instructed the parties to submit to his court by April 2 any additional briefs and research. McDougal said he will make a ruling on the probable cause issue on or shortly after April 3. Depending on that ruling, the change of venue hearing may be reset at a later date.
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