On October 3rd students gathered to witness the trial of People vs. Arturo Barajas. Mr. Barajas was being charged for driving under the influence, minor in possession and possession of marijuana.
The trial began with the prosecution, David Robbins, and defense, Steven Sabbadini, giving their opening statement while Judge Rosenberg listened carefully. Then the prosecution brought up his first witness CHP Officer Joe Merrill. Officer Merrill had been trained to detect a DUI and through sobriety tests, breath tests and blood tests. It was the Officer professional opinion, based on the evidence and tests, that Mr. Barajas had been driving under the influence.
After hearing the Officer Merrill’s side of the story, students heard what Mr. Barajas had to say. The night he had been pulled over, Barajas stated to the officer that he had only one beer but now, a year later, he said he had actually had 3 beers and a bit of whiskey. This would have aligned with his blood alcohol level being 0.11.
Throughout his time on the stand he did make it very clear that what he had done was a horrible mistake. A tense moment was when the Judge turn to Mr. Barajas and said “How would losing your licence impact your life?” Barajas sounded devastated when he spoke about how he might lose his job and not be able to get to school. This moment made students think about how getting arrested could impact them.
After contemplating for a few moments Judge Rosenberg gave his conviction. Mr. Barajas would be sentenced to 10 days in jail, one of which he had already served, a fine of 3,000 plus one year without his license.
Seniors Jenna Karoly and Sarah Seyk both got to watch the trial. “I did not expect Mr.Barajas to change his story, he originally told the officer that he had one beer but once he was on the stand he said he had four,” said Seyk.”It was really different from what you see portrayed on television,” said Karoly. Seniors will be utilizing this new knowledge during their upcoming project.
While seeing someone getting arrested can be hard to watch, these students will have a brand to point of view on what the American judicial system is really like.