Judge Takes Mercy on Repeat DUI Offender Who Was Coping with His Failed Marriage

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By Marcia Barajas and Peter Eibert

FRESNO, CA – Jesus Vasquez appeared here in Fresno County Superior Court Tuesday over two recent DUI charges, both of which involved car crashes, and one that involved hit-and-run property damage.

They weren’t just no-contact DUI arrests, either. Vasquez’s two DUI charges were from Feb. 24. In one case, Vasquez rolled his car, and in the second case, he hit a traffic light and a tree.

Vasquez said he drove under the influence because of the turmoil in his life at the time: his marriage fell apart, resulting in his wife kicking him out of their house and taking custody of their children.

In defense of Vasquez’s misconduct, Fresno County Public Defender Joseph Parker argued that Vasquez was under a substantial amount of stress after his marriage failed.

PD Parker also added that Vasquez’s children would suffer financially if he were to be remanded, as he works at a packing plant to provide for his kids. He stated that “if he [Vasquez] is remanded, not only will he lose his job, but his kids will suffer an absence of that financial support as well.”

Vasquez purportedly stopped drinking after the two previous charges, an action which seems to confirm PD Parker’s claims about how “Jesus [Vasquez] wants treatment; [he] will do whatever is required treatment-wise to change who he is for the better.”

PD Parker also added that Vasquez is more than willing to use SCRAM and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, citing the defendant’s recent cessation of alcohol consumption and his desire “to prove to the court that that is true.”

Deputy District Attorney (DDA) Carlie Bruce cited the seriousness of the charges and showed concern for the community, stating that Vasquez “fled the scene after crashing into a traffic light and tree.”

PD Parker claimed that “he [Vasquez] does not pose a danger to the community.”

Judge Monica Diaz disagreed with Parker’s claim and instead asserted that “Vasquez’s actions were extremely dangerous,” noting her concern for the safety of the community, especially since the two DUIs involved hit and runs.

PD Parker responded by noting Vasquez’s wishes to just meet expenses for himself and his children, and his willingness for rehabilitation.

In light of the defense’s argument, Judge Diaz took mercy on Vasquez.

Judge Diaz addressed Vasquez, stating that she would give him “a chance to prove to me that you are not consuming alcohol or driving.”

Judge Diaz released Vasquez on his own recognizance under the conditions that he enroll in and participate in a SCRAM program, attend four AA meetings per week, and not drink any alcohol or patronize a place where alcohol is the chief item of sale.

After listing the terms, Judge Diaz gave Vasquez a stern warning regarding his behavior: “I’ll give you one opportunity; any violation of the court’s orders and I will remand you into the court’s custody.”

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About The Author

Peter Eibert is a fourth-year student at UC Davis, majoring in Political Science and minoring in History. He is originally from Half Moon Bay, California.

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