Judge Finishes DUI Arraignment with Long, Emotional Plea to Woman

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By Isabelle Brady

MODESTO, CA– Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Gloria Rhynes ended an arraignment for a woman (the Vanguard does not usually name misdemeanor suspects), charged with driving under the influence, with a plea to her to consider her young son’s life and get her own together.

The driver was charged with a misdemeanor DUI. She allegedly had a blood alcohol content of .26 and .25, both of which are over three times the legal limit. She entered a plea of not guilty.

Deputy District Attorney Margot Roen said that the accused had no criminal history, but that “it’s always concerning when a child that young is in a car with someone drinking although she was parked. They were both asleep apparently, in the car with the engine running.”

Judge Rhynes agreed and said that she would impose “at least one” Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

Judge Rhynes released the accused from custody on her own recognizance, meaning that she doesn’t have to pay bail and is trusted to come back for future hearings.

However, Judge Rhynes imposed some conditions for the driver to be released on her own recognizance, noting, “You have to be of good conduct. You have to obey all laws. You must in fact not drive without a valid license and insurance…

“Do not drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system at all. Not just .08, absolutely nothing at all … (do not) go to any businesses where the primary purpose is the sale of alcohol. (Do not) possess any alcohol at all, and you’re ordered to do at least one Alcoholics Anonymous meeting every week, with proof that you’ve done it, for every week that you are out in this case,” said the judge.

The judge finished, “My last condition is that you not drive with anyone under the age of 18 in your car if you have consumed any amount of alcohol at all. This order will be in effect until this case is over.”

DDA Roen also requested that, “because the child is young,” there be search terms for alcohol.

Judge Rhynes said that she didn’t have a problem with search terms, but, because the driver lives with her father, she “kind of had a problem…with people going in her house looking for alcohol.”

So, Judge Rhynes issued one final condition, ordering that the accused “must submit to a search of your person, possessions, and vehicle, with or without probable cause by any peace officer at any time, day or night, with or without a warrant solely for alcohol.”

After the conditions were set, Judge Rhynes left her with these parting words: “I will likely never see you again…but I will say this, and I just need you to hear this…you are 25 years old. However you view this case, if this is true, this is a blessing. Had your child been killed because you were driving, by something you did intentionally, your heart would break.

“This is a gift, for you to get the tools that you need to go forward without clouding your mind with drugs or alcohol. All I know is the day I had my children, I grew a fifth chamber in my heart. Most mothers do. Most mothers would never put their children at risk, which tells me hopefully the Alcoholics Anonymous classes will help.”

“But whatever you need to do–if this is true–to never do this again, this has gotta be a wake-up call for you. Because your baby cannot afford to not have you get this together, for his life,” said the judge.

The next hearing is scheduled for May 3, at 8:30 a.m. in Dept. 10.

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About The Author

Isabelle is a first year undergraduate student at UC Santa Barbara majoring in philosophy. Her passions include writing, criminal justice reform and reading Kurt Vonnegut. She may or may not eventually attend law school.

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