"From left: Mike Walker, AT&T and MADD Sponsor, Deputy Justin Branning, Harrison County Sheriff’s Office (308 DUI arrests), Trooper Charles C. White, Troop F, New Albany MS Highway Safety Patrol (206 DUI arrests), Officer Daniel Soto, Ridgeland Police Department (313 DUI arrests), and Tricia Raymond, Executive Director, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Mississippi."
Copy of file
Daniel Soto. MADD's own special child. WLBT reported nearly a year ago he was MADD's top police officer of the year: "Ridgeland Police officer Daniel Soto arrested 316 DUI offenders in 2008. An average of anywhere from two to five arrests for DUI on the nights he works. Soto offers some common sense advice." Story
Well, it seems Mr. Soto is no longer with the Ridgeland Police Department because he got caught lying on the stand. Mr. Soto pulled over a Charles Whitfield and arrested him for first offense DUI and speeding on December 7, 2008. Mr. Whitfield posted a $2,000 (David Moore Bonding Company. Surprise.). He was convicted in Madison County Court on September 14, 2009.
Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Chuck McRae represented Mr. Whitfield and filed a motion for a new trial on September 21, 2009. Mr. McRae pointed out in his motion the Ridgeland PD had not provided him with a copy of the audio and video recordings of the incident. He subpoenaed the video camera and its recordings on January 22, 2010.
The Court granted a new trial, in which it was shown the video recording completely contradicted Officer Soto's testimony. In other words, he lied on the stand. Several sources have said Mr. Whitfield was at a stoplight when Ridgeland Police Officer Soto said he was speeding.
Mr. McRae filed a motion to dismiss on March 17 and stated
"The Court is aware that the prosecuting witness being, Officer Daniel Soto, gave false testimony..."
Defendant would show that it is believed that the prosecution has evidence that the witness in other cases has also given false testimony...."
"It is learned that while Officer Soto announced that no tape existed for various reasons, an independent investigation revealed that he personally viewed the video of the arrest of the defendant which clearly showed the perjured testimony of Soto. In addition a copy of the transcript of said witness and the video tape of the occurrence that the City and Officer Soto said did not exist at trial has been maintained by the City of Ridgeland will be supplied at hearing..."
The Court ruled in favor of Mr. Whitfield and stated on March 24, 2010:
"the State ... announced it was present but unable to go forward in this case as its only witness was not present, had moved to another state, and was not under subpoena." The City also moved to dismiss the charges.
JJ has learned Chief Houston told Soto to quit or be fired. Soto resigned and moved to Tennessee. One can only hope Mr. Whitfield will sue the hell out of the City of Ridgeland. The question remains is how many other innocent people did MADD's Officer of the Year throw in jail and label as drunk drivers. The question must also be asked why Michael Guest didn't prosecute Mr. Soto. Meanwhile, here is a picture of Mr. Soto's new ride and his award.
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