I was reading a recent article about a Deputy District Attorney who pled guilty to their second DUI. It is something to see the writer of the article saying the prosecutor “escaped” any jail time. First, the defense was proactive and on her own accord went into a alcohol rehab program. In a setting where people do not head to classes even when they are ordered by the court to do it there is something very positive when someone shows iniative and becomes proactive in addressing an issue. This seems to be ignored by the article. It is not only about punishment but rehabilitation and ensuring the underlying issue is dealt with. Second, the case from even the small information in the article showed there were possibly some issues in the case. This is a cumulation of great defense work, a client who is taking accountability, and a fair court. I hope the prosecutor takes time to address the issue and wish them the best.
The San Diego County prosecutor arrested for drunk driving twice in less than two years, including an August accident in which she crashed into a cemetery wall in Alpine and then fled the scene on foot with a broken arm, has escaped any jail time for her convictions.
Judge Matthew C. Braner on Monday ordered The Deputy District Attorney into a pair of special monitoring programs rather than impose time behind bars. Braner said he based his decision on a review of 30 similar cases in recent years.
“This is the second time, and she is more dangerous. She needs to be monitored,” Braner said in ordering a total of 215 days of electronic monitoring. “She’s let the community she was sworn to serve down.”
The Prosecutor will wear an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet for 90 days, then enroll in a county home-detention program for 125 days. She also was fined $2,635 and ordered to enroll in an alcohol-education program for multiple offenders.
She pleaded guilty earlier this month to misdemeanor drunk driving and hit-and-run charges. She had a blood-alcohol level of 0.30 when she was tested more than an hour after the August crash, notably higher than the 0.20 discussed at her arraignment.
Last year, Ocain pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drunk driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.28 after being stopped in October 2013. A driver is legally drunk with a BAC of 0.08.
Other details of the August crash emerged at the hearing.
According to Deputy Attorney General Peeck, who prosecuted the case to avoid a conflict of interest with the District Attorney’s Office, an unidentified minor witnessed Ocain careen into a retaining wall of Alpine cemetery.
The prosecutor asked for a ride home but when the witness told them to wait for police she walked away, Peeck said. The minor took the keys out of the ignition. they was arrested a quarter-mile from the scene.
Peeck reminded Judge Braner than Ocain first admitted drinking two glasses of wine, the same pattern she exhibited during her arrest in 2013, when she told officers she had four beers.
“In this case it was near-fatal,” he said of their blood-alcohol content. “She was at a .30 over an hour after driving.”
Peeck requested that the prosecutor be sentenced to 90 days in jail with 30 days’ credit for a residential treatment program they voluntarily completed after the crash.
To buttress his argument that the prosecutor should serve time in jail, Peeck cited tough-on-DUI statements by Sheriff Bill Gore and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis during a spate of 11 deaths caused by drunk driving this past summer.
“We share the roads with this and other defendants,” Peeck told the judge. “Our proposed resolution is fair and just.”
Defense lawyer J. Gregory Turner said his client wanted to be a prosecutor since she was 14 but recently suffered suffered a series of personal setbacks that led to a drinking problem.
“This is a person who has devoted her entire career to making the world a safer place for everyone,” Turner said in arguing against jail time. “They themself go and lost focus. She lost track of who she was.”
Turner at one point requested that some of the records related to the case be sealed, referencing future employment problems that could result from public disclosure. The judge denied that request. Ocain remains on paid leave from her job.
After the sentencing, Turner said he was pleased with the judge’s decision.
“Obviously we are grateful that the judge did not impose actual jail time,” he said. “As (the judge) said, no one else similarly situated would have gotten jail time.”
Under the County Parole and Alternative Custody program, or CPAC, they will be subject to unannounced home checks. CPAC participants also must avoid firearms, alcohol and illegal drugs during the course of their program enrollment.
If you or someone you love is charged with a DUI you need to call our office now at (858) 751-4384 for a free consultation.
The full article can be found here.