Why Phil Campbell's DUI charge was dropped
When Tampa attorney Phil Campbell was arrested for DUI on January 23, 2013, he claimed he was set up by his courtroom rivals. It sounded ridiculous -- at first.
Seven months later, a special prosecutor confirmed the setup and concluded Phil Campbell was probably not even drunk at the time of his arrest that night.
To reach that conclusion, investigators spoke to witnesses. They watched and analyzed dash-cam videotape of Campbell's DUI arrest. And they utilized a forensic software program called DUI PRO, which simulates blood alcohol levels by analyzing several factors, including the number of drinks consumed, and what the person had for dinner.
According to the prosecutor's report, "Campbell likely drank five vodka drinks and one Southern Comfort shot" over a four-and-a-half hour period starting at 5:15 p.m."
"He also ate a significant dinner," the report states.
That information, along with his gender and weight and the amount of time that elapsed since his last drink, were entered into the DUI PRO software.
Investigators ran the software two different ways. If he were classified as an "alcoholic," his BAC would've been between 0 and 0.02.
Classified as a social drinker, presumably with a lower tolerance, his BAC would be 0.01 to 0.0765.
Each of those readings is below the .08 legal limit in Florida.
DUI PRO results are subject to interpretation and likely not admissible in court, but the special prosecutor states without hesitation, "Campbell is not over the .08% legal limit at the time of the stop."
Investigators also reviewed the dash cam video of Campbell's arrest, and found it "favorable" to his defense.
"Campbell does not appear impaired. His speech and balance look fine. He is logically and coherently engaged in conversation with Ofc. McGinnis," the report states.
Interviews with witnesses bolstered the case that Campbell wasn't drunk.
Joshua Moore was the valet at Malio's. He observed and interacted with Phil Campbell and Melissa Personius for about 15 minutes as Campbell tried to convince Personius to take a cab home.
Attorneys John Ellis and Michael Trentalange both spent significant amounts of time with Campbell that evening.
All three, Ellis, Trentalange, and Moore testified Campbell did not appear to be under the influence.
Taking the case to a jury would be problematic because of the witness list.
"The person who is likely with [Campbell] the longest was Personius ... and her intoxication was so profound she is rendered useless as a witness. When you examine her obvious motives, any reasonable juror would reject her testimony," the report states.
Sgt. Ray Fernandez, who pulled Phil Campbell over, and Officer Tim McGinnis, who made the arrest, both smelled alcohol on Campbell, "but that is not enough to prove impairment," according to the special prosecutor.
In concluding the DUI charge should be dropped, the prosecutor writes, "There is insufficient evidence of Campbell's alcohol impairment to go forward with the DUI prosecution."
He underscores the point a second time, and adds, "even if there was no evidence of a set up."
And in the eyes of the prosecutor, that evidence is strong. The report's final paragraph states: "The public relations mantra from [Adams & Diaco] has been that they were only helping get a drunk driver OFF the streets. This rings hollow when you consider the time, effort and subterfuge used by them to get Campbell ON the streets."