Prosecution Begins Case in Attempted Murder Case

YoloCourt-14By Sarah Senan

The afternoon of November 14, 2016, brought the resumption of the case of the People v. Alamar Cyril Houston,  Judge David Rosenberg presiding. Mr. Houston is being charged with attempted murder, car theft, and violence. The defendant is pleading not guilty by  reason of insanity due to his untreated mental illness, whereas the prosecution suggests that the use of methamphetamine caused the incidents on June 30, 2015.  Deputy Public Defender Dean Johansson represents Mr. Houston, while Supervising Deputy District Attorney Garrett Hamilton represents the People.

On November 14, 2016, the People brought in two different witnesses who testified about the drug stimulant, methamphetamine. Both testified that the potent stimulant causes side effects: the major one being dilated pupils.The court accepted both as expert witnesses, and the jury is therefore allowed to accept such opinion testimony for matters of the truth.

The People have stated that Houston has shown signs of being intoxicated with methamphetamine. However, the defense continued to argue that a negative blood sample for the drug shows that there were no signs of methamphetamine in Houston’s bloodstream.

An officer trained in drug-use recognition was the first witness to testify in the afternoon. The officer is familiar with how drugs affect the body, mind, appearance, speech, and other onset effects. For the purpose of the trial, he was classified as an expert on drug-use recognition.

The People’s witness testified that drug stimulants raise the heart rate, and the effects caused by methamphetamine can span a duration of 8 -12 hours. Even when this time passes, there are still apparent signs of impairment.

When asked about the eyes, the officer stated that dilation occurs and the pupils become larger. At times, the eyes stop reacting.

Moreover, conversations with people who are intoxicated by the drug can still occur. If asked questions, a person who has used the drug would be able to respond and converse properly. However, if the user of the drug is the conversation starter, more often than not, the talking points that are introduced are completely random and unordinary (e.g., a conversation about a spaceship).

The officer testified that he has previously observed the moods of people under such a stimulant. He stated that a person’s mood is very unpredictable, that a person can become violent and aggressive, and then quickly transition to the opposite.

The second witness, “JK,” is a lab director of a forensic company and has been the forensic alcohol supervisor for more than 29 years. His work often pertains to law enforcement and he is licensed by the State Department of Health. Part of JK’s work is to analyze body fluids for presence of drugs.

JK testified that it is expected the time in which meth becomes detectable, from the time of ingestion, varies and depends on how much meth was taken. It may take a couple of days for the drug to become detectable. Other times it may take up to 5-10 hours to reach the half-life of the drug. JK stated that the norm would fall at or under 12 hours.

Both witnesses, the officer and JK, stated that one of the side effects of meth is dilated pupils. Furthermore, if the drug is present in the blood then it has some effect on the brain, as well as both accelerated and decelerated speech with the “going up” and “going down” of the drug.

The trial is scheduled to resume on November 15, 2016, in Department 14.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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