Calvin Darling Exoneration Article

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DWI Defense Attorney

Las Vegas DUI lawyer Sean Sullivan Earns Exoneration for Calvin Darling

The news of an accident in Las Vegas resulting in the death of a Metro police officer was horrific and saddening. The conduct of police and sheriff's departments following the incident was unfortunate and unnecessary. In the end, facts gained from a thorough investigation led to DUI and criminal charges being dropped against a client of Clark County NV Attorney Sean Sullivan.

At 12:49 am on May 7, 2009, Officer James Manor, 28, was speeding to a reported domestic abuse situation in the Southwest Valley. At the intersection of Flamingo Road and Tenaya Way, Calvin Darling, 45, initiated a left turn in his pick-up truck. Manor tried to avoid the truck but the two vehicles collided while the squad car was still traveling at a high rate of speed. An officer in a second patrol car reported the incident.

Darling was able to exit his overturned truck and he reportedly grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to douse the flames coming from the police car. It took several minutes for emergency responders to extricate Manor from his vehicle, and he was pronounced dead shortly after at University Medical Center.

Sheriff's Department troopers initially claimed that they had determined that Darling was drunk through an interview and blood tests. Darling was taken to UMC and treated for non-threatening injuries before being booked at the Clark County Detention Center for driving under the influence in Nevada. The charge was escalated to a felony because of the death of the law enforcement officer, and a charge of interfering with the duty of an officer was also filed.

Darling was released from the Detention Center the day after the crash when two tests showed his blood alcohol content was below the legal limit for a NV DUI charge. The death of a fellow officer created an emotionally charged atmosphere in the law enforcement community that led to a series of allegations against Darling and distribution of false information. In particular, was the Clark County Sheriff Department's insistence that Manor had been driving with his emergency lights activated despite contrary information, and that Darling had been driving while intoxicated.

Sean Sullivan, the Clark County criminal defense attorney representing Darling, countered, “It is wrong to rush to judge or pre-judge Mr. Darling when the law presumes his innocence.”

An investigation conducted by a Metro Police Fatal Accident Investigation Detail reviewed the computer 'black-boxes' from each of the vehicles involved. Information on road conditions, weather, lighting, as well as evidence gathered at the scene, were collected and analyzed. It was determined that Manor had been traveling at 109 miles per hour moments before the accident. Besides being an unsafe speed for the roadway, it was acknowledged that Darling would have had little reference point to know that the police vehicle was traveling that fast before he elected to make a left turn. Equally importantly, both a witness and a fellow officer traveling behind Manor confirmed that the officer's warning lights and siren had not been activated.

Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney Sean Sullivan initiated an independent investigation that included a former Metro Police officer and a private investigator. Information, especially that collected from multiple witnesses, was coordinated with police. Metro Police reciprocated by sharing key information from the vehicle black boxes with the private team. Lawyer Sullivan said that the police investigation was transparent and nothing was held back.

At the completion of the investigation, the Clark County NV District Attorney decided to drop all charges against Calvin Darling. Las Vegas Attorney Sean Sullivan said he was “not happy Calvin (Darling) was prosecuted in the press, but I am pleased that (he) has been cleared of all charges.”

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