Saturday, December 8, 2007

State Parole Official facing California DUI / California Drunk Driving charges

California DUI lawyer news

A high-ranking commissioner at the state parole board, which makes decisions about whether criminals should remain in prison, is on the job 11 days after he was arrested and charged with California DUI / drunk driving / DWI driving under the influence of alcohol at 2 a.m. in a state-owned vehicle.

Robert T. Rodriguez, 57, an associate chief deputy commissioner for the Central Valley, had a California DUI blood-alcohol content double the legal limit, police allege.

Riding as a passenger was the parole board's top official, chief executive John Monday, an appointee of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

After the California DUI incident became public, officials at the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said they were investigating both Rodriguez and Monday. Both men were to continue in their posts pending the outcome.

Oscar Hidalgo, a spokesman for the corrections department, said its investigators Thursday had obtained the police report of the Nov. 27 California DUI arrest and were still in a "fact-finding" phase.

The arrest occurred after the two men had conducted a program hours before with inmates at a women's prison in Chowchilla. Bill Sessa, another spokesman for the corrections agency, said they were stopped by police later while returning to their hotel from a restaurant. Monday did not believe his colleague was intoxicated, Sessa said.

But police said that at about 2 a.m., a patrol officer noticed that the car Rodriguez was driving was straddling the center dividing line of a two-lane road and crossing to the other side.

After the officer stopped the car, he smelled alcohol on Rodriguez and in the car, and administered a California DUI sobriety test, which Rodriguez failed. Rodriguez later took a California DUI blood test that showed his blood-alcohol content to be 0.16%, double the legal limit.

Monday, whose sobriety was not checked, took a taxi from the scene and left the car at the side of the road. The next day, after Rodriguez spent a night in jail, they returned to retrieve the vehicle.

Rodriguez, who earns about $100,000 a year so it's suspected he'll get a top California DUI defense lawyer.

1/10th of a year's salary for a premier California DUI criminal attorney seems little compared to the upside.