Instead of Army 'deployment,' drunken driver gets 30 days in jail
By Riley Yates | The (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call | Published: May 17, 2014
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — An Allentown man who swore in court that he was a soldier about to be deployed to Afghanistan was resentenced Friday to 30 days in jail for drunken driving, and he still faces the prospect of being charged with perjury.
David N. Boyd will spend four weeks longer in prison than the typical driving-under-the-influence first offender, but Northampton County Judge Jennifer Sletvold insisted that she wasn't punishing him for the possibility that he lied to her under oath in March about his military service.
That, Sletvold said, is a question that prosecutors will investigate separately before they decide whether to press perjury allegations against the 26-year-old inmate. In so framing the issue, Sletvold sought to avoid potential questions of double jeopardy, should Boyd be charged with lying.
Instead, to justify her sentence, Sletvold cited Boyd's decision to flee after he crashed his car in Easton while drunk in late 2012, as well as his failure to cooperate with a probation officer who asked for information about his supposedly "imminent" Army deployment.
Originally facing sentencing March 21, Boyd told Sletvold that he was slated to be deployed to the Middle East the following week. Sletvold, whose husband served in the Army infantry, was willing that day to accommodate Boyd's apparent duty to his country, crafting a two- to seven-day term that would leave him unencumbered when he shipped out.
Sletvold said Boyd reported that he had been sent overseas "many times" and listed the locations where he had been. But the defendant was unable to provide the probation officer with any basic information concerning his purported new tour, including his deployment papers, the number of his company or even the name of his commander, Sletvold said.
That led Sletvold to vacate his sentence and ask the district attorney's office to investigate whether Boyd had committed perjury. When Boyd failed to show for a new sentencing hearing in April, Sletvold issued a warrant for him, leading to his arrest Tuesday.
Defense attorney Anthony Rybak said this week that his client told him of being sent to Afghanistan once. Friday's hearing offered no new explanations, with Sletvold warning Boyd before he spoke of his right against self-incrimination.
"I just apologize for any inconvenience, any trouble, I've caused you," Boyd told Sletvold after conferring with his lawyer.
Rybak urged Sletvold to give his client a time-served sentence, saying Boyd holds a job in door-to-door sales. Boyd has already spent about 10 days in jail, and isn't charged currently with anything other than the drunken-driving case, Rybak said.
"As far as being less than honest with this tribunal during sentencing, that still remains to be seen," Rybak said, adding: "I'm not going to make an excuse for him. I'm not going to argue that. It's not before us today."
According to court records, Boyd crashed his car early Dec. 5, 2012, into a light pole at St. John and Madison streets on Easton's South Side. The wreck snapped the pole and also damaged a street sign and a retaining wall, police said.
Officers arrived to find Boyd's car unoccupied. When they found him at his then home a few blocks away, Boyd showed signs of intoxication while insisting to investigators that his car had been stolen, police said.
A passer-by at the accident scene mentioned seeing the car beforehand at a convenience store down the street, police said. Surveillance footage from the store showed Boyd leaving minutes before the crash, police said.
On Friday, Assistant District Attorney Joseph Lupackino asked Sletvold for a heftier sentence than the two-day jail term that is the mandatory minimum under the law. Boyd was dishonest both after the crash and in the courtroom, Lupackino said.
Lupackino called the military claims an "ignoble excuse," and said Boyd went "to great lengths to deceive this court."