LOS ANGELES: A judge on Tuesday (October 21) dismissed a charge of driving
without a license against pop star Britney Spears, after jurors said they
could not reach a verdict and a prosecutor said he would not pursue a
“We put our best foot forward and that in light of the effort we
put into the case, that it wouldn't be a reasonable decision to proceed
again,” said Deputy City Attorney Michael Amerian.
The charge stemmed from an August 2007 collision between Spears'
vehicle and another car in a Los Angeles parking lot as photographers trailed
her. Prosecutors filed charges against Spears after the minor fender bender
that she settled out of court with the other driver. They contend that
because Spears had lived in California since May 2006, she was legally
required to get a license from the state.
Her attorney argued she had a license from her home state of Louisiana
and did not legally need a California license.
The jurors told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Steele they
were deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquittal, and the judge then declared a
Spears' attorney, J. Michael Flanagan, said she got a California
license last year, after the August collision, and that prosecutors should
have dropped the case after that.
“Well, in 38 years of practicing law, I've never heard of, seen
or for sure myself handled,” said Flanagan. “A one-count,
twelve-five hundred charge. And you're not going to be able to find a
prosecutor anywhere near this courthouse that's ever gone to trial on a
one-count twelve-five hundred. Twelve-five hundred might be associated with a
drunk driving case where it's been litigated or driving on a suspended drivers
license case. But we're down to one count, a violation of twelve-five
hundred. Not driving with a valid license in your possession when the person
had a valid Louisiana license. And immediately upon filing the complaint,
converted to California drivers license. That is a fix-it ticket. And that's
the way it should have been handled.”
A spokesman for the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, said Spears
was not treated any differently because of her fame.
Meanwhile, jury foreman Gary Moy said jurors were not given all the
facts of the case.
“Since we never knew that, um, you know, why the charge even came
up. We didn't know if, you know, it had been the result of an accident, or,
you know, maybe they pulled here over for not wearing a shoulder strap, or
whatever. You know, we never knew the full facts of the case. And so when
you're given partial information it's a natural reaction to feel like it's a
big waste of time. Um, but focusing solely on the charge, driving without a
license, um, in my opinion the prosecutor did an excellent job of proving his
26-year-old Spears is working her way out of recent troubles including
a battle with her ex-husband for custody of their children, bizarre behavior
in public, hospitalization for psychiatric evaluation and having her father
take control of her business and personal affairs. The pop star is in the
midst of a career comeback with the release of a new single,