Famous prosecutor to defend son in DUI case


High profile prosecutor Jeff Ashton will now be defending in the courtroom and the client is his own son, the charge is drunk driving. Now former assistant state attorney in Orange County, Jeff Ashton will be headed back to court to defend his son against a drunk driving arrest that happened back in October. He was first pulled over after Seminole County deputies said he was speeding, going 68 in a 45-mile per hour zone in Longwood.

"How many alcoholic beverages have you had tonight?” asked the arresting deputy. "I had one beer at my job before I left, and I had one more before I left Friendly Confines and went home,” Alexander Ashton said. Deputies said Alexander Ashton showed signs of being drunk behind the wheel, the smell of alcohol and failed field sobriety tests. He took a breathalyzer test and blew twice the legal limit a .174 and .177 — but those results will never be heard by jurors. Jeff Ashton argued the machines used for measuring blood alcohol content are unreliable. The prosecution agreed not to introduce the tests, and will count on other evidence to make their case, like video of the arrest. "You have your own assumptions, but I really haven’t had that much too drink,” Alexander said. "Do you really think you should be driving right now?" the deputy asked. “I don’t think I am a danger,” Alexander said. In January, Jeff Ashton announced he would be running for the state attorney’s office of Orange and Osceola counties. But for the next few weeks that campaign will be taking second stage to a prosecutor that was for quite some time on the world’s stage, now defending his son for a misdemeanor trial of DUI. There was talk that an impromptu media interview may have tainted the jury. The Ashton’s were questioned outside the courtroom Tuesday. Some jurors may have been in the area and heard some of the questions being thrown around. Jeff Ashton also issued the following statement on Tuesday: I have been asked to comment on my first trial since my retirement and have prepared this statement. My son, Alex, was charged with unlawful speed and driving under the influence on October 25, 2011. When I was made aware of this incident, I agreed to represent my son in this case because he is my son, I love him and I believe in his right to have his day in court like any other citizen, as would any parent. During the holidays when I made the decision to run for State Attorney, I knew this case would become public knowledge. I faced the choice of going back on my word to my son and dropping his case, or going forward to provide a legal defense for Alex, as promised. I have chosen to keep my word to my son. I had hoped the media would respect the legal process and treat him as they would any other defendant I might choose to represent. On Monday, after the jury was selected, one station attempted to question Alex in the hallway in the presence of the jurors seated to hear his case, potentially tainting that panel and causing a delay in the trial. I was appalled by their lack of concern for the integrity of the process. In the interest of avoiding the events of earlier this week, I also represent my daughter in a traffic case involving the suspension of her driver license due to a clerical error. Having spent 30 years as a prosecutor, I have the utmost respect for law enforcement, prosecutors and the rule of law. The rights of a person charged with a crime to be presumed innocent, to have the counsel of his/her choice and a day in court have always been just as important to me. My son and I will have no further comment on this matter in order to prevent any further potential effect on the jury.

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