Thursday, May 26, 2022

Sour note: humming in court backfires on California defendant

A California man hoping for a plea deal in a drug sales case began to murmur loudly, and his actions struck a sour note with a judge who changed his tune and canceled the deal.

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As the Orange County Register reports, Rogelio García Jr. agreed to a plea deal, but was not interested if Orange County Prosecutor Claudia Alvarez tried to warn him that selling fentanyl-laced drugs could result in death. Wasn’t.

With his hands clasped, Garcia couldn’t put his fingers in her ears. Instead, on the advice of defense attorney Justin Cerrillo, Garcia began muttering loudly until the lawyer signaled him to stop, the newspaper reported.

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Orange County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Herrera later struck down the plea deal and ordered Garcia to face trial — and perhaps a longer prison sentence, according to the Register.

According to the newspaper, Gunjan’s strategy apparently wasn’t a hit with the judge, but it does show how defense lawyers are backing down to charge the fentanyl-related deaths as homicide.

Prosecutors treat the drug-related deaths as poisonings rather than overdoses.

California state law has a similar strategy in cases of drunken driving, the Register reported. In those cases, drunk drivers who have previously been warned about the risks and dangers of such behavior may be charged with homicide if they cause death in traffic.

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Warnings are called advisories.

No drug dealers have been charged with murder in Orange County, but District Attorney Todd Spitzer said he is putting them on notice.

“If you sell fentanyl, and you kill someone in my county, we would absolutely consider accusing you of murder. Enough,” Spitzer said, according to the Register. “Whatever you want Might hum, but that doesn’t change the fact that drug dealers are killing people selling fentanyl, and at some point, they’ll face the music.”

Nation World News Desk
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