California lawmaker Wendy Carrillo arrested on suspicion of drunken driving

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California legislator who is running for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council was arrested early Friday on suspicion of drunken driving, according to law enforcement and jail records.

Officers responded to a report of a traffic collision around 12:20 a.m. in Los Angeles and took Wendy Carrillo, the driver, into custody, Officer Annie Moran said. Carrillo, who represents parts of northeastern and east Los Angeles, was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence. Jail records show she was held on a misdemeanor offense.

In a statement later Friday, Carrillo said she crashed into parked vehicles and that no one was hurt. She did not directly admit to driving under the influence of alcohol.

“As a public servant, I am aware that I must adhere to a higher standard that demands personal accountability for my conduct and I accept responsibility for my actions,” Carrillo said in the statement. “I sincerely apologize to my family, constituents, colleagues and staff for any actions of mine that have fallen short of that expectation. I intend to seek the necessary help and support.”

Carrillo, a Democrat, was elected to the state Assembly in 2017. She chairs an Assembly budget subcommittee.

Carrillo is among about a dozen candidates who are vying to replace Councilmember Kevin de León, who has been entangled in a racism scandal at City Hall and refused to resign. The scandal was trigger by a leaked recording of crude, racist comments during a private meeting involving de Leon and three others.

Carrillo’s arrest came roughly six months after Democratic state Sen. Dave Min was arrested in Sacramento for drunken driving. In June, Carrillo was also arrested in Los Angeles while participating in a protest organized by hospitality workers near Los Angeles International Airport.

Click here to read the full article in AP News

Senator Dave Min Sentenced To Three Years Probation For Drunk-Driving Offense

Min’s DUI, conviction expected to greatly affect his 2024 Congressional run

Senator Dave Min (D-Orange County) was sentenced this week to three years probation for receiving a DUI in May, as well as having to pay over $2,000 in fines and being forced to complete a 30-hour state-licensed alcohol and drug education program.

According to the Capitol Protection Section of the California Highway Patrol (CHP), Senator Min (D-Orange County) was driving a Toyota Camry through Sacramento after 10 P.M. At 10:23 P.M., the CHP observed Min go south on Ninth Street just north of S Street without headlights on. Following him, they then witnessed him go through a red light at 9th Street and Broadway before finally pulling him over at Riverside and Broadway.

Earlier that night, Min had gone to a few bars with fellow Assembly members, lobbyists, and realtors, and was shown to have had some alcohol that night. He had then left in a state silver Camry.

The officers proceeded to conduct a DUI test on Min. However, he failed, and he was arrested on suspicion of driving with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit of 0.08%. Later reports revealed that he had blown a .15 on scene with later blood tests giving a .14 and .13 respectively. This was confirmed with Min then formally charged with a DUI misdemeanor, arrested, and sent to Sacramento County Jail. On Wednesday morning, May 3rd, the Senator was subsequently released and was given a July hearing date.

Later in May, footage of Min’s DUI arrest was released, leading to some to call for his resignation or for him to pull out of the 2024 Congressional race as a result. However, besides his hearing, his DUI has remained relatively quiet until this week when he was sentenced. Min pleaded no contest on Tuesday to his misdemeanor first-time DUI and received  three years of unsupervised probation, $2,050 in fines, and a 30-hour state-licensed alcohol and drug education program that all first time DUI offenders must take.

Neither Min nor his representatives commented on the matter this week, nor has the Democratic Party. However, what is clear is that the DUI has significantly hurt Min’s chances of being elected to Congress next year, with both Republicans and Democrats previously chastising Min for getting a DUI last year. In particular, Harley Rouda, a former Democratic Congressman who was briefly in the running for the 47th Congressional seat earlier this year, backed the other Democrat running in the race, activist Joanna Weiss.

Republicans, meanwhile, are likely to use the DUI against Min during the race, something that could push the balance in their favor next year. While the 47th district slightly leans Democratic, Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) barely squeaked out a win in the district last year, only beating Scott Baugh by around 9,000 votes in a close 51.7% to 48.3% race. With Baugh remaining popular, Rouda out because of a brain injury, and Porter running for the Senate instead, had expected Min to run a close race. With the DUI conviction this week now out there, many experts say that Min is now looking at much less support than initially believed.

Three years probation

“Min managed to avoid a more embarrassing sentence,” said Malik Griffin, a Los Angeles polling analyst. “He avoided having his drivers license being revoked and any jail time besides what he got the night of the arrest. But the fact that he got a DUI in the first place and got three years probation and other punishments will still hurt him. Specifically, he has many supporters who are older liberals who tend to be more strait-laced and are more conservative in the non-political way. A DUI isn’t really forgivable for them, so you could see many of them switch support to Weiss or Baugh.”

“The GOP is really going to push this in adds, in debates, and pepper it in just enough to make people not forget. Democrats will be more forgivable, although with some people, like Baugh, they really don’t like it and have switched support to Weiss as a result. Min had a lot of people calling for his resignation or not to run next year, and with this sentence, Min now has a permanent black mark on his record. It’s not the worst thing in the world to have happened, but many Congressional campaigns have been suspended on far less too.”

Click here for the full article in the California Globe

DA Won’t File Charges Now Against Pair Accused in S.F. Carjacking, Dramatic Crash

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office said Friday that the pair accused of stealing a car and driving it over a set of steps in the Castro district last weekend will not face charges at this time

Kevin Nelson, 36, and Jennifer Bonham, 31, both of San Francisco, were arrested Tuesday afternoon on the 1400 block of Pine Street, after police investigated the dramatic crash, a video of which was widely circulated online. Authorities never elaborated on how their investigation led them to Nelson and Bonham. 

“The charges against Ms. Bonham and Mr. Nelson have been discharged at this time pending further investigation and witness availability. Anyone with information is asked to call the San Francisco Police Department tip line at 415-575-4444,” a statement from the District Attorney’s Office said. The DA could still file charges at a later date. 

Neither Nelson nor Bonham were listed as being in custody Friday, according to San Francisco jail records. 

San Francisco police responded to the scene Saturday after reports of a solo car crash at 19th and Sanchez streets. Officers found the crashed car upside down, but all of the occupants fled the scene, police said. City officials previously said there were perhaps as many as five people in the car when it crashed, some of whom may have been minors. 

Nelson was hospitalized for injuries he sustained during the crash, according to police. 

Click here to read the full article in SF Chronicle

California legislators convicted of DUI would lose access to state cars under proposal

Republican Bill Essayli, who represents part of Riverside County, says he’s “troubled by recent incidents”

An Inland Empire lawmaker announced Wednesday, July 26, that he’s proposing restrictions on state legislators’ use of taxpayer-funded vehicles if they’re charged or convicted of driving under the influence.

Republican Assemblyman Bill Essayli introduced Resolution 51, which would mandate that any member of the Assembly who is arrested and charged with DUI lose — until his or her case is resolved — the privilege of using a “pool vehicle” provided at no cost to lawmakers while they’re in Sacramento. The resolution would also require that an Assembly member be prohibited from access to pool cars for a minimum of three years following a conviction.

“Last year, over 1,000 Californians died as a result of drunk drivers,” Essayli said. “When I was a prosecutor, I fought to keep our roads safe by prosecuting and convicting drunk drivers. Now as a member of the Assembly, I am troubled by recent incidents of legislators and candidates drinking and driving. Public officials must be held to the highest standards given the public trust placed in us, which is why I’ve introduced Resolution 51.”

The most recent DUI arrest of a state lawmaker involved state Sen. Dave Min, D-Irvine, in early May. Min, who is also running for Congress, was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI in Sacramento after a California Highway Patrol officer spotted him driving without headlights in a Toyota Camry.

Min apologized publicly. The case is awaiting disposition.

In July, a state Assembly candidate, Riverside City Councilmember Clarissa Cervantes, was arrested on suspicion of DUI. She later said she was seeking treatment for alcohol abuse after the DUI arrest, her second in less than 10 years.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is supporting Essayli’s resolution, which would expand on Rule 120 of the Standing Rules of the Assembly for the current fiscal year. Rule 120 establishes that Assembly members be barred from receiving compensation in the event of a felony conviction of any kind.

“MADD appreciates and supports your desire to hold convicted DUI offenders who are members of the state Assembly accountable by prohibiting them from operating state pool vehicles,” the organization said in a letter to Essayli. “Limiting access to state pool vehicles, in addition to requiring ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders, will not only hold elected officials accountable, but will lead to much-needed change in driving behavior and decision-making that endangers California residents and visitors every day.”

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Riverside City Councilwoman Dad DUI Conviction Dismissed Just Before Latest Arrest

When Riverside City Councilwoman Clarissa Perez Cervantes was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol on July 1, she was only 42 days removed from having a 2015 DUI conviction dismissed after she told a judge, “Each day I carry remorse and promise to never repeat those actions.”

That statement was contained in a petition for dismissal Cervantes, 32, filed on May 9 in Superior Court. Judge Timothy J. Hollenhorst granted the request 10 days later.

In that case, she was arrested by the California Highway Patrol at 2:20 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, on the eastbound 60 Freeway at the Frederick Street off-ramp in Moreno Valley, about a mile from the apartment she listed on the citation as her address.

Cervantes pleaded guilty to DUI with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or greater and admitted to a sentencing enhancement that states she had a BAC level of 0.15 or greater — almost twice the legal limit — according to the plea agreement. She was sentenced to three years probation and 10 days of electronic monitoring, ordered to attend a three-month first-time DUI offender’s class and was fined $2,541.

Cervantes wrote that she was going through a difficult time when she was arrested in 2014 after a night spent attending a concert with friends.

“I regrettably made the worst decision of my life when I was in my early 20’s, which was to drive after drinking one evening. At the time, I was coming out of a domestic abusive relationship that had severely impacted my mental and physical health,” Cervantes said in the petition.

“An expungement will help me in regards to access to employment opportunities, housing and higher education programs, ensuring that I have an equal opportunity of being considered in any pursuit and pathway that can have a significant impact on my life, my daughter’s my family and the greater community,” Cervantes wrote. “… (I) would like to explore federal and state positions in transportation planning and government.”

The status of the expungement was unclear this week. Although an expungement would allow Cervantes to tell a prospective employer that she does not have any criminal convictions, the documents attached to the case remained publicly available Monday.

An expungement is not bulletproof. The District Attorney’s Office still can use the conviction against Cervantes while prosecuting her or seek a longer sentence if she’s convicted, said John Hall, a DA’s spokesman. Two DUI convictions within 10 years could bring a sentence of 90 days to one year and a two-year suspension of a driver’s license, according to the Vehicle Code.

Cervantes, in a statement provided Sunday to the Southern California News Group, said she regretted her actions on Saturday. She was arrested at about 1:23 a.m. on the southbound 10 Freeway at 8th Street in Banning. She is due in court on Aug. 30.

“Last night, I made an irresponsible decision that I deeply regret. I take full responsibility, and I want to apologize to my family, my community, and the residents of the district that I represent,” Cervantes said. She did not mention her previous arrest in her statement.

Cervantes represents Ward 2, which encompasses the areas of Sycamore Canyon, Canyon Crest, UC Riverside and Eastside. She is running for the 58th District state Assembly seat to replace her sister, Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes.

Councilmember Ronaldo Fierro, who is running against Cervantes, declined to comment on the arrest. Cervantes could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday, and Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson and the other five Riverside city councilmembers did not respond to requests for comment.

City spokesman Phil Pitchford said the city is not commenting on Cervantes’ arrest other than to say it “appears to have occurred on her own time.”

But unlike members of the city’s boards and commissions, the city’s ethics code applies to the mayor and councilmembers “at all times during their term of office as public officials of the City of Riverside,” the document states.

Any person who lives, works or attends school in Riverside can bring an ethics complaint about something that happens outside the city. But Cervantes’ position representing Ward 2 on the City Council, which she ascended to in 2021, does not appear to be in jeopardy. Automatic expulsion comes only with a felony conviction. None of the punishments for violating the city’s ethics code includes removal.

Click here to read the full article in the Press Enterprise

Democrats Remain Mostly Silent About Senator Min’s DUI Despite More Evidence Of Guilt

Photos of Min at a Sacramento bar only hours before his arrest fuel calls for resignation, dropping out of Congressional campaign

Prominent California Democrats continued to not weigh in on the DUI of Senator Dave Min (D-Orange County) on Thursday, despite more details coming out proving his guilt in the matter.

While the released California Highway Patrol report, his arrest, booking for a misdemeanor DUI charge, and his subsequent release on Wednesday were all previously known to the public, new details released on Thursday filled in some of the mysteries of the incident. Twitter posts, including some by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-North Hollywood), showed Min at Sacramento bars with fellow Assembly Members, as well as lobbyists and realtors. In addition, he was tagged in posts and was mentioned to be indulging in the celebrations only hours before his arrest.

In addition, it is also now known that the Silver Toyota Camry he was pulled over in was a state car, perhaps worsening the situation he is currently in now.

While many lawmakers, political groups, and others weighed in on his DUI this week, with some even calling for him to resign or pull out of the 37th District Congressional race, Democrat lawmakers have remained largely silent on the situation.

Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) did give a brief statement saying, “Like Senator Min, we’re disappointed in his actions, but pleased that he’s taken responsibility and apologized.” However, as of Thursday evening, that has been the most any were willing to say.

Republicans have led the charge on questioning the DUI, calling on Democrats to comment on the DUI or ask some who have backed him in the Congressional race, such as state Attorney General Rob Bonta and Congressional Members Judy Chu, Mark Takano, and Andy Kim, if they are still backing him. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has been particularly adamant in getting responses on where lawmakers are siding with him.

“Katie Porter, Orange County Democrats and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee can’t hide from questions about Dave Min’s drunk driving arrest for long. Come out, come out wherever you are, and tell the public if you think Dave Min is fit to serve in Congress.” said NRCC Spokesperson Ben Petersen on Thursday.

Political experts noted to the Globe on Thursday that many are currently in a “wait and see” mode, wanting to find out more about the incident before judging the DUI.

“A lot of Democrats want to hear more directly from him first,” explained Anne Otis, a Los Angeles Public Relations expert who specializes in political scandals. “They want to hear from him. If there is bodycam or dashcam footage, they want to see that. Some are even waiting to see how it plays out in court. In any case, the GOP can have a field day of this down the line. Judge gives Min a light sentence or even kinda waives it off, it can be a gold mine about how he cheated the system. He gets the book thrown at him, they can say that his DUI was that bad.”

“The real question is what the party will do. Everyone makes mistakes, and even Republicans said it was good that he took responsibility for his actions. But this was a DUI, something he had called out others on in the past about. He’s already running in a Congressional District that is essentially a tossup with a Republican candidate who nearly beat [Congresswoman Katie] Porter [D-CA] last year. He’s losing a lot of moderates with this, as well as some Democrats. And that’s not even mentioning voters who feel strongly about public safety or who have been victims of DUIs in the past. He’ll need a really good PR campaign to get out of this one, and his campaign is probably still trying to come up with something.

“In any case, Min is now even more at risk in the district, and we’re still 10 months away from the Primary.”

Click here to read the full article in California Globe

State Senator Dave Min Arrested For Drunk Driving In Sacramento County

Min was released from Sacramento County Jail on Wednesday morning

Senator Dave Min (D-Orange County), a state Senator since 2020 and one of three main candidates currently vying for Congresswoman Katie Porter’s (D-CA) Congressional seat next year, was arrested Tuesday night in Sacramento County for drunk driving.

While details of the incident are yet to be known, including the circumstances of the incident, what his blood alcohol level was, and if he will contest the charge or not, it is known that on Tuesday night he was pulled over by police on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Min was arrested, charged with a misdemeanor for driving under the influence, and sent to Sacramento County Jail. On Wednesday morning he was released, with further action, including a court appearance, likely to occur in the near future.

While his Congressional campaign has yet to comment on the incident, Min himself wrote of the incident on social media on Wednesday, apologizing for his crime, taking full responsibility for what he did.

“Last night I was cited for a misdemeanor for driving under the influence,” Min said on social media on Wednesday. “My decision to drive last night was irresponsible. I accept full responsibility and there is no excuse for my actions. To my family, constituents and supporters, I am so deeply sorry. I know I need to do better. I will not let this personal failure distract from our work in California and in Washington.”

Dave Min DUI social media post (Photo: Dave Min Official Facebook Page)

Min first entered the world of politics in the early 2000’s. Following a stint as a staff attorney at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Min became the Senate Banking Committee Counsel for Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in Washington, and later, the Counsel and senior policy advisor to the United States Congress Joint Economic Committee. However, he returned to California in the late 2000’s to become an assistant law professor at UC Irvine.

Min’s DUI and the 2024 47th District Congressional race

In 2018, Min reentered politics and ran for the then 45th House District due to disagreements over former President Trump’s immigration policies. However, this proved to be short-lived. Following Min causing a huge stir at the Democratic state convention over who the party should nominate for the race and barely getting their endorsement over Katie Porter, he lost the Primary that June to eventual winner Porter and Republican Congresswoman Mimi Walters, becoming one of the few Democrats to get the support of the party yet still lose in the primary during the 2018 blue wave election.

In 2020, after beating Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley in the primary, Min narrowly defeated then Senator John Moorlach for the 37th District Senate seat by just over 12,000 votes, 51% to 49%. In his two years in the Senate, Min has had mixed success with legislation in the Senate. While he has had some success on more social and environmental bills, such as getting a bill that will make all autonomous cars in California be electric by 2030 get passed in 2021, many of his higher-profile bills have failed, such as his numerous attempts to stop off-shore oil and gas drilling being blocked by the combination of Republicans, unions, and numerous Californian companies.

In January, following Congresswoman Porter’s decision to run for Dianne Feinstein’s U.S. Senate seat early, Min became the third major candidate to enter the 2024 Orange County 47th District congressional race. Currently he is facing off against 2022 near-winner Scott Baugh (R) following former Congressman Harley Rouda (D) pulling out of the race last month. However, due to the DUI, that could change.

“He is a major liability now,” explained Malik Griffin, a Los Angeles polling analyst, to the Globe on Wednesday. “While people in office have gotten DUIs in the past, like former Senator Ben Hueso in 2014, this isn’t exactly an entirely forgivable offense. There is a silver lining in that he was transparent and took responsibility for it immediately, you got to give him that, but the fact that he did it is bad. And we don’t even know the circumstances yet. If other people were involved or something, it could be a lot worse.”

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

Paul Pelosi Kicked Out of California Police Charity After Flashing Membership During DUI Arrest

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband was kicked out of a California law enforcement association on Thursday after he flashed his lifetime membership card to officers during his DUI arrest earlier this year.

The California Highway Patrol 11-99 Foundation’s (CHP 11-99) decision to rescind Paul Pelosi’s membership comes just two days after he pleaded guilty to a DUI charge over the May 28 crash in Napa.

“After evaluating the events that led to Mr. Pelosi’s arrest and conviction, we are revoking Mr. Pelosi’s lifetime membership with the CHP 11-99 Foundation effective immediately,” the group said in a statement.

When the 82-year-old was questioned by highway patrol officers and asked for identification, a slurring Pelosi had offered up his driver license and the 11-99 membership card, according to a criminal complaint.

“The mere presentation of his 11-99 Foundation identification credentials to law enforcement made it appear that he was presenting them for preferential treatment,” the group said, adding it was in violation of their terms and conditions.

CHP 11-99, which supported state highway patrol officers and their families, informed Pelosi of the decision via a letter on Wednesday.

The group said they’ll refund whatever Pelosi had donated once he returned all membership items he received when joining.

Pelosi dodged jail time during his sentencing in Napa County Superior Court on Tuesday after being ordered to serve three years’ probation as part of his plea deal.

The terms of his probation included five days in jail, but Pelosi will be given credit for those days, the judge said.

Roadside dashcam footage released by authorities in the wake of his guilty plea shows Pelosi slurring his words after the late night crash.  

In the video, Pelosi can be heard mumbling to an officer that he had a “glass of champagne before dinner” and also “a glass of white.” 

Click here to read the full article in the NY Post

MADD-Backed Ignition Interlock Mandate Wrong for California

Drunk driving2After nearly a decade of activists working to pass a law mandating installation of ignition interlock devices (IID’s) in the cars of anyone convicted of a DUI, success appeared imminent — until a couple weeks ago.

Senate Bill 1046 has been positively flying through the Assembly — enjoying the kind of unanimous support reserved for feel-good legislation pushed by a group no one wants to oppose.

It’s almost as if Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and its allies in the Assembly hoped they could outrun the facts.

But last month, the California Department of Motor Vehicles released its “Specific Deterrent Evaluation of the Ignition Interlock Pilot Program in California,” which studied the efficacy of the interlock mandate in four California counties: Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare. Much to the dismay of advocates, the DMV report did not advocate in favor of expanding the pilot program statewide.

The bottom line of the DMV report: Those who installed the devices had an increased risk of crash or fatal injury compared to those who did not.

That’s right: Instead of making the roads safer, a statewide ignition interlock mandate for all offenders would likely make drivers less safe.

It makes sense if you think about it. IID’s require the driver to not only blow into them when they start the car, but also undergo a “rolling retest” which occurs at random to ensure the driver didn’t simply have someone else blow into the device to start the car. But picking up the device when it beeps to complete a long breath test is a massive distraction — not unlike texting and driving.

But there are some in California who don’t want a small detail like public safety to get in the way of a feel-good agenda. MADD, along with the bill’s author State Senator Jerry Hill, are already looking for ways to discredit the DMV’s impartial findings.

Yet this is the second year in a row that the DMV evaluated the pilot program and refused to recommend expanding it. In 2015, the five-year pilot program was extended for an additional 18 months after the DMV found that “the IID pilot program was not associated with a reduction in the number of first-time and repeat DUI convictions in the pilot counties.”

Since proponents of expanding interlock mandates in California can’t point to empirical evidence that the law would have a net positive effect on traffic safety, they instead fall back on the fact that 26 other states have passed similar laws. What they don’t mention is how poorly the laws are working in those states.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association fewer than 20 percent of those ordered to get an interlock actually have them installed. The reason is that laws like the one proposed in California are an unfunded mandate, meaning there’s no money to ensure that offenders actually comply with the law.

That’s why ignition interlock mandates for all offenders is such misguided public policy. Over 70 percent of alcohol-related fatalities are caused by high-BAC and repeat offenders — hard-core alcohol abusers. California could save far more lives if it worked to reach 100 percent ignition interlock installation compliance among this target population, rather than expanding the mandate so widely that it is even more difficult to enforce.

But that wouldn’t serve MADD’s ultimate agenda of seeing alcohol-sensing technology installed in every car in America.

It may sound far-fetched, but MADD has long supported an ongoing federal program called DADSS (Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety) which has developed technology that can read a driver’s blood alcohol concentration level through touch technology in the steering wheel or ignition button. A drivable prototype was unveiled last year and engineers aim to have it on the market in approximately five years.

Thus, MADD is pushing hard to expand current ignition interlock laws. The more the current technology is normalized, the easier it will be to sell its more sophisticated progeny to legislators and the public.

But just because the DMV report doesn’t serve MADD’s ultimate goal, doesn’t mean we should ignore the findings.

Facts are stubborn things. And the fact is, interlock mandates for first-offenders aren’t the drunk driving panacea MADD wants them to be.

Sarah Longwell is the managing director of the American Beverage Institute.

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