Jury Finds Man Charged with Driving Drunk at Parole Office Not Guilty for All DUI-Related Counts

By Silveiro Rizo Llamas

WOODLAND, CA – After days of deliberation, a jury here in Yolo County Superior Court found a man not guilty of all misdemeanor charges related to allegedly driving his partner’s car to his parole check-in under the influence of alcohol, according to court records made public this week.

“John Doe” (The Vanguard does not make public the true names of people charged only with misdemeanors) was charged with driving under the influence, drunk driving, and enhancements after he allegedly failed a drug test at his parole check-in.

According to Parole Agent Joseph White, Doe drove his girlfriend’s car to the parole office. The jury found differently.

After making Doe wait in the lobby, Agent White said he took Doe’s keys that were on a lanyard around his neck and searched his car for any remnants of alcohol consumption. Agent White said that no alcohol or indication of alcohol was found.

Yolo County Deputy Public Defender Danielle Craig asked the agent about his search of Doe’s car and asked Agent White if he recalled a woman entering the parking lot that he believed could have been Doe’s partner.

Agent White told the defense that he did, and after further questioning admitted that she had said that Doe had not been driving.

The prosecution objected to this line of questioning, arguing that it was “prejudicial for the People.”

At this point Judge Daniel Maguire asked the attorneys to come up to confer with him. He then asked the jury and the witnesses to step out of the courtroom while they discussed the issue that came up on the record.

The defense defended the line of questioning as being evidence, not of fact but of a “subpar investigation.”

However, Deputy District Attorney Jing Ko insisted that the testimony would be prejudicial to the People and later argued that the jury would not understand how to apply the “limiting standard.”

Judge Maguire asked the defense what the officers should have done.

DPD Craig said that the officers could have questioned the eyewitness that appeared on the scene and was presumed to be Doe’s partner. The defense insisted that although the officers were “aware of an obvious flaw in their investigation” they chose to ignore it.

Judge Maguire then questioned why the officers did not save the video showing Doe driving, since it could have been used to establish fact. He ultimately allowed the line of questioning.

Once the jury was brought back in, the defense once again asked Agent White what the woman in the parking lot said to him. The agent could not recall, even after being presented with a transcript and recording from the day in question.

The defense asked Agent White if he tried to get the surveillance footage. He said he did not.

DDA Ko asked Agent White if it was part of his duty as a parole officer to get surveillance. He said it was not but acknowledged that he had done it once before at the request of a Woodland Police Officer.

The defense then asked about the language used by Doe. DPD Craig asked if Doe said “I drove this vehicle” verbatim or if that was simply his (White)’s understanding. He said it was something like that but that he did not recall Doe’s exact words.

In response to the defense, DDA Ko asked, “Agent White, are you a robot?” To that Agent White replied, “No.”

The case went to the jury, and it came back with “not guilty” verdicts on all charges, according to the court’s records.

Doe had admitted earlier to driving his partner’s car on a suspended license—but that was not part of his trial. He received probation for that admission.

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