Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, right, confers with Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina, as the Assembly debated Perez’s measure to close a corporate tax loophole and used the money for college scholarships, at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Aug. 13, 2012. AP Photo
California Assemblyman Roger Hernandez has been found NOT guilty of drunk driving.
Assemblyman Roger Hernandez was found not guilty of drunken driving by Contra Costa County jurors today, ending a trial that lasted nearly two weeks.
The jury found Hernandez not guilty of driving under the influence, and the panel was hung on whether his blood-alcohol content was 0.08 percent, said Cindy Armstrong, clerk for Judge Mary Ann O’Malley.
The West Covina Democrat can return now to the Capitol after missing about a week of work during his trial. Lawmakers are acting on dozens of bills each day as the Legislature prepares to adjourn for the year Friday.
“Due process was had and he was found not guilty of the charge of drunken driving,” said Robin Swanson, spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker John A. Perez.
“We have a really important week ahead, and we look forward to doing the business of the state of California with him,” she said of Hernandez.
OK, the jury has spoken and the prosecution has not made its case.
But, what will the political repercussions be? Will the voters of the El Monte area of Los Angeles County be forgiving of the Assemblyman’s poor judgement?
Hernandez and his 29-year-old female passenger were stopped by officers in a state-owned car, a Toyota Camry, about 2 a.m. on March 27. He said he had been in the Bay Area to visit a friend.
Police said they observed Hernandez’s car weave in its lane on Concord Avenue, then turn suddenly onto Meridian Park Boulevard without signaling. He was stopped in the parking lot of the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
The lawmaker was taken into custody after he failed a field sobriety test. A laboratory test later concluded his blood-alcohol level was 0.08 percent, a level sufficient for drunken driving.
Hernandez questioned the accuracy of the test. He told Concord police officers, at the scene, that he had consumed only two glasses of wine between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. before his arrest.
Both misdemeanors at issue in Hernandez’s trial stemmed from the same Concord police stop. California law contains separate offenses for driving under the influence and for driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent.
Back to work goes Hernandez, but there are continuing investigations of other political affairs of the assemblyman.
So, stay tuned…..