The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

Rhoades Case: Penn Supreme Court Rejects Senavitis' DUI Appeal

Just when we thought we were out, they pulled us back in.

Thomas Senavitis, also known as the "redneck who killed a senator," escaped a homicide conviction for the DUI crash that claimed the life of State Senator James Rhoades. The trial and sentencing all took place back in 2010, so why are we bringing it back up now?

Senavitis, hoping to have lightning strike twice, appealed his DUI conviction as well, all the way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, reports the Pocono Record. His lawyer was previously credited with pulling off a miracle for convincing the jury that state Senator Rhoades was partially to blame for the crash that claimed his life, as he was allegedly driving in the wrong lane.

Senavitis, who allegedly had a BAC of 0.355, was convicted by the jury on DUI and reckless endangerment charges, but was released shortly after the trial after being sentenced to time served. He had been in jail throughout the entire ordeal.

Now, the case may finally be over after the Supreme Court rejected their appeal. Senavitis' attorney, Wieslaw Niemoczynski, argued that because the prosecutor never called the hospital's phlebotomist nor lab technician to testify to the blood alcohol content, there was no opportunity to cross-examine their testimony, results, or methods.

Under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, defendants have a right to cross-examine witnesses and confront their accusers. Niemoczynski felt that cross-examining the forensic pathologist that testified about the data gathered by others was insufficient.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court apparently disagreed, finding that the prosecution had indeed proven that Senavitis' BAC was .355, over four times the legal limit. It seems that Thomas Senavitis' luck and Wieslaw Niemoczynski's magic have finally run out.

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