Three Family Members Testify in DUI Jury Trial, Commenting on If They Cared about Accused

By Ramneet Singh

WOODLAND, CA – Three family members testified in a misdemeanor DUI/drunk driving jury trial this week in Yolo County Superior Court—and Deputy District Attorney Jing Ko asked each of them about whether or not they cared for the accused.

The court record listed a DUI charge with an enhancement, a “drunk driving” charge with an enhancement, and a “hit & run/property damage” misdemeanor. The offenses are listed as occurring on May 20.

In the afternoon, police Officer Jose L. Moran, the accused’s father, mother, and brother testified. The minute order listed two more people under “witnesses that testified today.”

The public defender’s office represented the accused, with legal intern Courtney Leavitt being supervised by another public defender, according to the minute order.

Through his testimony, Moran confirmed his partner was the lead investigator and, because of that, Moran later noted he did not write a report.

Moran responded that he gathered and disseminated information. He replied he had talked with two people at the scene, “mostly with the lady.”

He said he also translated in Spanish.

DDA Ko asked about the Sep. 30 “follow up investigation,” and Moran affirmed that he conducted the chemical test breath. After Ko instructed him to look at evidence, Moran answered that the outcome of the two tests was 0.17 and 0.16.

Near the end Moran replied that he did not “have a body camera.” There was no cross-examination.

The accused’s father testified next, and the responses were translated by a Spanish interpreter.

Ko asked questions about knowledge of his son’s addresses and of receiving the accused’s mail, at one point asking about “mails from the DMV.” For the general question of mail, the father replied “insurance” and court related mail, but could not confirm receiving anything specific from the DMV, stating “maybe…the title to the car.”

Within questions about address, Ko asked, “Do you love (the accused)?” and “Do you care about him?” and “Are you upset that he’s sitting right here?” He answered “yes” to all three in between the questions.

After some testimony was stricken, Ko asked questions about the incident. Through answering a series of questions, it was determined he and his wife went to the accused’s brother’s residence at night after being called. 

When interacting with him, the father acknowledged that the accused seemed “like scared.” The father replied he considered taking the accused to the hospital but decided to go to the scene of the incident.

He replied that he did notice the accused drinking and taking substances in the time he was with him.

Concerning the vehicle, he replied, “I didn’t see it very well because it was at night.” He did not know if it hit anything.

In response to a question about property damage, he responded, “I just saw that he went below the freeway, but I didn’t see any damages.”

After Ko asked about the car being damaged, he answered, “I think so…I couldn’t see very well, but it looked damaged” but he was unsure if it had hit anything.

In the cross-examination and the redirect, the father responded to questions about whether or not he received calls and the mother’s and other son’s whereabouts at that time, who arrived there before he and the accused did.

The accused’s mother testified next, also requiring a Spanish interpreter, and responded to questions about her children, the addresses and the incident.

She initially could not remember, but through questioning, she replied “when I received the call from (her son), I’m not sure if I went straight, well yes, yes I did go to (her son’s) house.”

She answered questions about her husband and the accused and that they came to the scene sometime after.

She replied that she had limited interaction with the police. When asked about her son using the phone, she replied, “Just a while later, when they were calling the tow company.”

She noted some damage to the car, and as her husband said, she believed the accused seemed “scared.” She did not observe anything related to intoxication.

Ko asked similar questions that she had asked the father about caring for the accused. At one point, the mother replied, “Of course, he’s my son.”

After a break, the accused’s brother testified last. He replied that the accused arrived at his house and seemed “a little stressed out…mad…sad.”

He responded “no” to seeing any damage to the truck when he viewed it “down in the ditch.”

He responded he was concerned about his personal belongings in the truck. He later replied that he was not sure why those things were in there.

He said he did not remember having his phone or what exactly he told the police. At some point, he replied, “I told you, I don’t really remember, but I kinda remember not telling him he was not the driver.”

Ko asked him similar questions about caring for the accused, and in the redirect, Leavitt objected to Ko’s question, which the judge sustained. He noted before that the redirect had to be within the proper scope.

Responding to an earlier objection during the brother’s testimony that he overruled, the judge stated, “He was a hostile witness based on his demeanor and his tone and therefore I allowed the leading questions.”

The trial will be ongoing.

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