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Ex-NFL Player Can’t Upend DUI Charges

RICHMOND, Va. (CN) - A federal judge refused to throw out DUI and various related charges against former New England Patriots cornerback Leigh Bodden, concluding any reasonable trier of fact would have found him guilty.

As recounted by U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee, Bodden was pulled over during the early morning hours of August 24, 2013, after an officer saw him try to pass another driver by crossing into oncoming traffic.

The officer, John Harmer, later testified that he himself had to use evasive maneuvers in order to avoid a head-on collision with the one-time NFL player.

Harmer said that as the two men spoke on the side of the road, "he smelled alcohol on Mr. Bodden's breath and also noticed that his eyes were red, watery, and bloodshot."

Harmer said Bodden initially claimed not to have drank any alcohol, but later admitted to having "two or three."

The officer called for the assistance of a colleague certified to conduct field sobriety tests. Harmer said Bodden was initially reluctant to submit to the test, but ultimately took the walk and turn test, and the one leg stand test.

Bodden did poorly on the first, suggesting to the officers at the scene that there was more than a 80 percent chance his blood alcohol level was .10 percent or greater. Based on that assumption, the officers asked Bodden to take a breathalyzer test, but he declined, they said. The officers then placed the former athlete under arrest.

According to Judge Lee, "Upon arrest, Mr. Bodden because increasingly agitated and aggressive, and directed numerous expletives at the arresting officers.

A hearing transcript has Harmer describing how Bodden said, ""The black officers were Uncle Toms, sucking the white man's dick" and "The white officers, the white Nazi race, white Nazis."

"He said that we were poor people, just trying to mess the rich to get their money," Harmer continued. "He stated that he could buy and sell anyone of us at any time because he's got the money and he can buy his way out of anything. And he was going to sue us all."

"Mr. Bodden yelled, 'You're a faggot. All of you all are faggots,'" said John Coffman, one of two officers who responded to the scene to conduct the sobriety test..

"He said, 'Here you go, you Uncle Tom ass, you bitch ass nigger,'" testified Officer Demetrius Owens, the other sobriety test officer.

"After transporting Mr. Bodden to the Court Liaison Office, Mr. Bodden was placed in a holding cell. While in the cell, Mr. Bodden continued his aggressive behavior, repeatedly kicking the holding cell door," Judge Lee wrote. "Officers thought Mr. Bodden's behavior was so aggressive that they placed him back in the holding cell. Mr. Bodden eventually fell asleep in the cell."

Eventually, Bodden was driven to a nearby taxi stand and released from police custody, Lee wrote.

Bodden was later found guilty of reckless driving, driving under the influence, refusal to submit to a blood alcohol level test and failure to carry a drivers license.

He was sentenced to one year supervised probation, three days of jail time and a fine of $350 on the basis of this being his first conviction.

On review Judge Lee said the evidence presented was sufficient to support a conviction; he also said that given Bodden faced as much as six months in jail and a $5,000 fine for the reckless driving charge, "the Magistrate Judge's sentence was well within the statutory limit, based on the consideration of relevant factors, and there was no significant procedural error."

As a result, Lee wrote, "Bodden has failed to meet the heavy burden required to overturn a sentence imposed by a magistrate judge."

Bodden was acquitted of misdemeanor in 2007 after refusing to pull over for an officer while picking up his girlfriend and children from Cleveland's Hopkins Airport. He was accused of resisting arrest, and verbally abusing officers. He has since apologized for the incident.

Bodden spent eight years with the NFL as cornerback for the New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions.

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