|Tuesday, June 25
Francis exonerated after two-day trial
HOUSTON -- A judge Tuesday found Houston Rockets guard Steve Francis not guilty of drunken driving, concluding there was reasonable doubt whether the player was legally intoxicated.
Harris County Court-at-Law Judge James E. Anderson exonerated Francis after a two-day bench trial. Francis, 25, was arrested before dawn Dec. 16 after police said he turned left against a red light in southwest Houston.
Francis admitted running the light, saying he thought it was about to turn green and there were no cars coming.
Officer Charles Allen testified he smelled alcohol and arrested Francis based on his performance on sobriety tests.
Francis, who said he had the equivalent of four mixed drinks over four hours, declined a breath test and offered to take a blood test, which is not routinely done.
A video made by police showed Francis was innocent, defense attorney Rusty Hardin said.
"I think people need to understand that any time you've had something to drink and if you decline to take the (breath test), police are going to file charges,'' Hardin said.
Francis told reporters after the trial he was grateful to have the matter behind him.