Press Release: People v. Guerrero, Christopher, 6/5/09
June 05, 2009
Bradford R. Fenocchio
PLACER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY
10810 Justice Center Drive, Suite 240
Roseville, California 95678
For Immediate Release
Date: June 5, 2009
Public information Officer
Acting Assistant District Attorney
PLACER COUNTY WILLNOT PURSUE SECOND DUI TRIAL AGAINST SACRAMENTO COUNTYSHERIFF’S SERGEANT
The Placer County District Attorney’s Office has decided not to pursue a second trial against a Sacramento County Sheriff’s sergeant who had been prosecuted on misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence for a 2007 incident in Roseville.
The sergeant, Christopher Dayton Guerrero, 42, stood trial last month but a Placer County Superior Court jury deadlocked on counts of DUI and of DUI with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher, causing Judge Joseph O’Flaherty to declare a mistrial.
The incident involved Guerrero being stopped by a Rosevillepolice officer on suspicion of DUI during the early morning hours of October 4, 2007.
According to the officer, Guerrero, who was off duty, failed field sobriety tests and blew a blood alcohol level of 0.16% on a preliminary alcohol screening device. The officer used his discretion and allowed Guerrero a ride home without arresting or citing him.
After a local television station reported the incident on the news several days later, raising the possibility of a double standard for law enforcement officers, Rosevillepolice investigated and submitted its results to the District Attorney’s Office, which filed the DUI charges.
The trial jury was split at 8-4 in favor of a not guilty verdict on the DUI charge, and it was deadlocked at 7-5 favoring a not guilty verdict on the count of DUI with a blood alcohol level of.08 or higher.
“Based on the jury’s split and on the comments made to us by jurors after the trial, it appears unlikely that the outcome would be any different with another jury in a second trial,” Deputy District Attorney Kyle Jibson, who prosecuted the case, said.
Supervising Deputy District Attorney Ted Peterson said his office felt it had the evidence for a conviction.
“But we were unable to sway 12 people,” Peterson said. “Some of the jurors felt that the officers who were in on the traffic stop should have written their reports immediately after the incident, instead of having to rely on their memories several days later.”
Peterson said some jurors also felt that the defendant should have been given an intoxilyzer test, which are normally conducted at the jail after an arrest and are considered the official reading of a blood alcohol level.
“The jurors felt that this might have validated the results of the preliminary alcohol screening device in the field,” he said.
The traffic stop was captured on video by a camera mounted in the officer’s patrol car. Guerrero can be heard apologizing repeatedly for causing the officer to stop him, and he can be heard asking the officer to give him “a break.”
Peterson said his office felt the apologies and requests made by Guerrero were persuasive evidence of his guilt.
“But it appears that did not have a significant impact on the jurors,” he said.