Saturday, September 23, 2023

Willits Man Found Guilty of Drunk Driving for a Second Time

The following is a press release issued by the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office:

Lady Justice mural in the Mendocino County courthouse [Picture by Matt LaFever]

A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations Wednesday to announce it had found the trial defendant guilty almost across the board.

Defendant Juan Pedro Calvillo Rivera, age 51, of Willits, was found guilty by verdict of driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and knowingly driving a motor vehicle on a suspended license due to a prior DUI conviction, both as misdemeanors.

Before the jury was empaneled to hear the main body of evidence, the defendant admitted in pretrial proceedings a sentencing enhancement alleging that he had sustained a prior misdemeanor conviction in the Sonoma County Superior Court in 2018 for driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol .08 or greater.

Normally such an admission is strategically entered by a defendant outside the presence of the jury so that the jury is kept in the dark about the defendant’s prior criminal behavior.

But that defense strategy seemed destined for failure in this case as the jury was still asked to decide the suspended driver’s license count that was premised on the same prior Sonoma County DUI conviction.

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Finally, the jury found the defendant not guilty of an alternative misdemeanor charge of driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol .08 or greater.

The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence supporting today’s jury verdicts were the California Highway Patrol, the Department of Justice forensic laboratory, and the District Attorney’s own Bureau of Investigation.

The attorney responsible for preparing this case for trial and presenting the People’s evidence was Deputy District Attorney Chandra Caffery. Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Patrick Pekin presided over the three-day trial.

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
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