Line of Questioning in Trial Highlight Possible Hardships for Those with Disabilities

By Daniella Espinoza

WOODLAND, CA – In a local misdemeanor trial, a judge saw a case where a man was fighting his charges of drunk driving and driving under the influence.

While the trial was filled with various witness testimonies—from local police officers to a forensic scientist—as well as arguments for and against the accused, a key moment initiated by Charles Luckman, the accused’s lawyer, highlighted a very real issue that many face in their everyday encounters with police.

During his testimony, an officer detailed the tests he conducted for the purpose of determining sobriety. While confirming that version of events, Luckman began to question the officer on whether he knew about the man’s existing physical disabilities.

It was at this moment that, through questioning, Luckman verified the possible “long conversation with (the accused) about his physical disabilities” about which the officer confirmed happened.

But the lawyer then revealed the accused not only suffered from injuries from such as compound foot fractures, a protruding bone, several broken toes, and a back injury from a prior collision.

Additionally, in previous years, the accused was also forced to have a series of surgeries for his eyes and knees. Despite having all of this info on the extensive list of injuries the accused seemingly continues to be affected by, the officer “still had him doing the physical test to see if he can balance.”

Through such questions, it was clear that Luckman was showing the court that, while field sobriety tests are common in helping officers determine whether or not a driver is possibly impaired, they do not always account for serious injuries and yet are still relied upon to determine guilt.

Following the extensive court process, the judge still found the arguments unconvincing and closed out the session by finding the accused guilty of driving under the influence. The next date for sentencing was set for Nov. 3.

About The Author

Daniella is a fourth year transfer student at UC Berkeley pursuing degrees in both Political Science and Chicano studies. Before Berkeley, Daniella found her passion exploring the complexities of the criminal justice system and how this intersects with the Chicano community. After graduation, she plans to find work in the public sector where she hopes to make meaningful change in her community.

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