Hero Cop Fakes DUI Busts to Plump Her Resume

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From AP:

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against a former Utah Highway Patrol trooper and her superiors alleging that she filed false DUI charges during her career.

The department fired Lisa Steed in November for alleged misconduct related to her duties.

Attorney Michael Studebaker, who is one of the lawyers leading the class-action lawsuit, says he has been contacted by at least 40 people claiming Steed wrongfully arrested them on DUI or drug charges.

“Culture of corruption. The stories are just rampant,” said Studebaker, who filed the lawsuit Dec. 14 in District Court in Salt Lake County.

Lawyers have yet to determine exactly how much the plaintiffs will seek in monetary damages.

One of the alleged victims was Michael Choate, who says Steed pulled him over for speeding with his wife in the car.

“She said she clocked me at 73. I said as fastest I was going was about 62,” Choate said.

Choate was arrested and charged with DUI, but the charge was reduced to having an open container of alcohol in the car after a blood test showed he was not drunk. Choate says he was forced to pay $3,000 in fines to get his car back.

Choate was also upset that his wife was forced to find her own way home after his arrest.

“They dropped her off at a Burger King,” he said. “She didn’t have any money, she didn’t have her cellphone with her. She had to borrow a quarter from a lady to make a phone call.”

Steed and her attorney have not responded to requests for comment. Utah Highway Patrol says it cannot comment on pending litigation.

She is under investigation by the FBI.

Studebaker also cites a dashcam video from a 2011 traffic stop that he says shows Steed’s pulling over a woman driver. The video shows the driver performing a series of sobriety tests. Studebaker says the unidentified woman passed all the tests with flying colors but was still arrested for DUI.

Charges were later dropped after a blood test found no alcohol in her system, Studebaker says. The driver has since joined the lawsuit against Steed.

Steed was named Utah Highway Patrol’s “Trooper of the Year” in 2007 for making more than 200 DUI arrests, a reward that Studebaker says should be taken away from her.

Steed herself has admitted in the past that she did not follow proper protocol while administering a DUI check. At a court hearing in May 2012, Steed admitted that, while she was administering a blood-alcohol test on Theron Alexander March 2010, she removed her microphone in order to perform an unauthorized action.

An attorney representing Alexander told ABC News last year that Steed’s actions could call all her cases into question.

“The cumulative facts may well have a significant ripple effect across every case she’s touched,” Salt Lake City attorney Joseph Jardine said in March. “This could become the basis for overturning multiple convictions in the past.”

Steed’s attorney, Greg Skordas, has said he does not believe that the incident is any reflection of his client’s credibility.

“It doesn’t affect her credibility. It affects the way she does things, her ability to follow instructions,” Skordas told ABCNews.com in March. “It doesn’t mean she’s dishonest.”

In 2009, dashcam video showed Steed stun-gunning Ryan Jones, a motorist who was later determined to be sober.

The case was settled in November 2011 when the state paid Jones $40,000 without admitting wrongdoing.

When asked about that case, Skordas said, “She took her lumps, she was reprimanded and we move on.”


  1. I hope to god they roast her alive and follow the rabbit holes to all the lawyers who profited off of her criminal spree. You can hear and see the wagons being circled as we speak.

  2. Why is this such a problem? This is the system most americans want. One where the cop has total power and is trusted. It’s paranoid conspiracy theory to even think one of them would lie to make his/her numbers or for other reasons.

    So what if some innocent people had life altering events? If it only saves one life. That’s what we are told. That’s why the US military kills innocent people daily. It’s just collateral damage. So some cop in Utah got caught lying, what’s the big deal? Innocent people go to prison and have to pay huge legal bills all the time in this country. That’s how we are kept ‘safe’, or so we are told.

    This cop must have arrested too many “good people”. People who cops aren’t supposed to hassle like that. She should have stuck with minorities and weirdos and people at the so-called fringes. Not upstanding soccer moms and the like. If she had stuck to the socially unprotected classes there would be no doubt that the blood tests and video of subjective field sobriety tests just didn’t show the impairment this trained officer of the law could see. Because those ‘bad people’ are guilty of whatever the cop says they are guilty of.

  3. “It doesn’t affect her credibility. It affects the way she does things, her ability to follow instructions,” Skordas told ABCNews.com in March. “It doesn’t mean she’s dishonest.”

    That’s some damn fine lawyerspeak.

    • Yeah. I found that to be an incredible bit of snake oil salesmanship. It doesn’t affect her credibility? You’ve got to be joking!

  4. Shortly before she was fired, Trooper Steed was shown to be an unreliable witness in court. Almost all of her pending DUI cases were immediately dropped by prosecuting attorneys from various jurisdictions. It was only after most prosecuting attorneys refused to touch cases where she was the main witness that she was fired, despite the UHP having dozens of complaints against her.

    • And therein lies the “seed” of evil: criminally complicit attorneys. Once these rats start to jump the gravy ship it’s a sign that things are going south and they’d rather let her swing from a rope than be rightfully painted as co-conspirators. So long as there was no attention they looked the other way and gleefully pocketed the cash. Now the question is how far will they go down the rabbit holes and get their stolen funds back and how many more legal swine will get hoovered up?


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