Walter Mencken 6:15 p.m., Feb. 28
Eighteen-year-old woman admits driving stolen vehicle
Judge finds "stupid" good cause to reduce felony to misdemeanor
The deputy said he first noticed the car because it was driving so slow, and then he saw that the occupants kept turning around to look at his patrol car.
Because there were four persons in the back seat of the 1993 Honda, and the deputy knew there were only enough seat belts for three, the officer said he pulled the car over at the intersection of Knoll Road and Mission, in San Marcos.
The man in the front passenger seat bailed out and ran off. The woman driving the car said the fleeing man was a “complete stranger” who had offered her a ride, and then she was allowed to drive.
San Diego Sheriff’s Deputy Darrell McNeal noticed the car’s steering column was broken and there was a “shaved key” in the ignition. He said the interior of the car looked “ransacked” and had empty alcohol containers strewn about. Deputy McNeal then learned that the owner of the vehicle had reported it stolen from his workplace in Carmel Mountain Ranch at 7:30 p.m. that same day.
Cassandra Jennifer Arvizu, 18, was arrested for possession of stolen vehicle after 9 p.m. the evening of December 19, 2012.
The deputy said “I have contacted Miss Arvizu in the past” and had knowledge that the young woman had a prior arrest, as a juvenile.
Prosecutor Benjamin Barlow told the judge that Arvizu's prior contact with the justice system “has not discouraged criminal conduct,” after the public defender asked the judge to reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor.
Judge Harry Elias declared “I think she’s stupid,” and found it “too early to tag her with a felony” and so decided “I’m going to reduce to misdemeanor.”
Cassandra Jennifer Arvizu then pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of stolen vehicle and was immediately sentenced to 70 days custody, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse today.
Public defender William Mathews told his client that she would probably be released in a week or two. Judge Elias advised the youthful offender, “You may have to pay for repair of the vehicle.”
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