Newlyweds outraged after arrests

March 21, 2009 6:28:01 AM PDT
It was supposed to be a special day a local couple could look back on for the rest of their lives. Instead, it was a wedding night they want to forget. And now, we're hearing for the first time from a bride and groom arrested in a drunk driving crackdown. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The couple has filed a complaint against the Harris County Precinct 8 constable's office, but not about the charges. The couple says they've been unfairly singled out as the poster children for the county's anti-drunk driving campaign.

Jade Puckett didn't figure her wedding night would end in a courtroom. But it did. She was arrested for public intoxication; her new husband, Billy, for drunk driving on the way to the hotel from their reception.

"I was horrified," Bride Jade Puckett told us. "It's not any girl's dream to spend the night in jail."

Since the arrests last weekend, both have pleaded their cases out. But now, they are complaining about their treatment at the hands of law enforcement, claiming allowing a picture of Jade in her wedding dress after her public intoxication arrest was way over the line.

"They've exploited my wife and I on our wedding night and I expect them to step up and take responsibility for what they've done," said groom Billy Puckett.

The Precinct 8 Constable's office tell us the Pucketts were two of 34 people arrested that night in a DWI sweep, that this couple wasn't singled out for the arrest or publicity. They are looking into the complaint, but they don't know if anything went wrong.

The couple's lawyer already made up his mind.

"Law enforcement decided to exploit this for their own purposes," said attorney Joe Gutheinz. "It's outrageous."

The pictures the couple is complaining about were taken during a ride-along last Saturday night. The news photographer accompanied deputies during traffic stops, field sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests, and while in that courtroom, took video of five other suspects sitting close to Jade.

She is outraged she was the only one who made the news.

"That's wrong," she said.

But that's not all. Still wearing her wedding dress, she was in a cell where she says deputies played show and tell with the arrested bride.

The jail says they were actually checking on her after her parents asked a deputy to release her.

"He went up there to go and check on her and that's possibly why she felt people were coming in and looking at her," said Major Fred Brown with the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

The couple already filed a complaint with Precinct 8 constable. They are looking in to it. The couple says they will also complain to the U.S. Department of Justice, which is already looking into the Harris County Jail.

The "March Madness" crackdown started last weekend. Authorities say it led to 168 DWI charges filed in Harris County. Forty-seven of those were repeat offenders. The crackdown continues this weekend.

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