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District Attorney Maggie Fleming expressed appreciation today for the exceptional efforts of CHP Officer Manuel Pina and California Department of Justice (DOJ) Senior Criminalist Matthew Kirsten in a case involving driving while under the influence of alcohol by a person who refused chemical testing. After the person took one field sobriety test and then refused further testing, Officer Pina obtained a search warrant from a judge to conduct a blood test, which was completed two hours after the traffic stop. Also, under questioning by Deputy District Attorney Steven Pomeroy at trial, Officer Pina provided clear testimony based on an excellent report. DOJ Senior Criminalist Kirsten also provided effective testimony, after making the effort to re-analyze the blood sample after the criminalist who initially analyzed it became unavailable.
“Our County’s regrettable history of alcohol-related vehicular homicides makes clear the need to prosecute driving while under the influence cases to the maximum extent,” Fleming said. “The dedicated and effective efforts of our CHP and DOJ colleagues are making successful prosecution possible, even when drivers refuse testing.”
Fleming also expressed appreciation for the efforts of the jury.
“Effective criminal justice that enhances public safety relies on the willingness of people to participate on juries in all kinds of cases," Fleming said. "While felonies routinely receive more attention, misdemeanor-level cases such as those involving driving while under the influence can clearly have life or death consequences.”