"Twenty-two days [in jail] is not enough punishment," said prosecutor Jeff Dort to the court. "I'm not an advocate for breaking up families, but I am an advocate for the rights and safety of children."
Sarah Marie Powell, 27, was sentenced on Wednesday, January 5, in San Diego Superior Court for locking her 7-year-old son in the trunk of her Volvo on August 23, 2004, while she and her boyfriend, 31-year-old Jake Faria, went into Winstons to drink and perform karaoke.
"What you did was beyond a bad choice," said Judge Browder A. Willis. "It was criminal, and that is why you are here today."
Powell's lawyer, alternate public defender Mary Ellen Attridge, pled for leniency and said Powell had a 4.0 grade point average in college, wanted to continue her education, was employed, and was also attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings. "When I met Sarah in jail," said Attridge, "the first thing I asked her was, 'Do you have a drug and alcohol problem?' and she said, 'I must if I think what I did was right.' "
Willis gave Powell a suspended 365-day sentence, four years' probation, and 500 hours of community service.
When Faria's turn came, again Dort asked for more jail time, noting that Faria had a previous .19 blood alcohol level DUI conviction in 1996, had given Powell's son beer to drink, and blew pot smoke in the boy's face. Dort noted that Faria had told cops that he said, "It is our human right to smoke marijuana. It's in Genesis. All herb-bearing seeds are for the services of man."
Willis gave Faria the same sentence as Powell. "If you slip up, I hope the case comes before me," Willis said, "because I know Mr. Dort will tell me how wrong I was, and I will send you to jail."