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Marine pleads not guilty in fatal DUI crash

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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-07-09 08:07 AM
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Marine pleads not guilty in fatal DUI crash
Marine pleads not guilty in fatal DUI crash
By Gidget Fuentes - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Jan 6, 2009 20:53:02 EST

VISTA, Calif. A 21-year-old Camp Pendleton Marine pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of drunken driving in a crash early New Years Day that killed a local man whose vehicle had gotten stuck in the mud along a curvy road.

Lance Cpl. Quintin Garza, 21, appeared in a San Diego County Superior Court courtroom as four members of his family who had traveled from Texas watched his arraignment on charges of gross vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence. Their presence did not convince Judge Marshall Hockett to reduce bail, which had been set at $200,000, and the judge instead granted the prosecutors request to hike it to $350,000.

Garza remained in the Vista jail. He is scheduled to appear in court next on Feb. 4.

His defense attorney, James W. Wessel of Escondido, Calif., said that Garza has served in the Marine Corps for almost four years and has deployed overseas, although he has not completed any combat tours in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Garza has an impeccable record in the military and has no prior record of any kind, Wessel said outside the courtroom. He wanted to serve his country.

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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-07-09 08:20 AM
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1. Pleading not guilty is part of a process.
If the Marine pleaded guilty, he'd get a truncated trial with just doling out the punishment, which would likely be on the more severe end.

By pleading not guilty, the Marine is asking for adjudication that may lead to acquittal, and if conviction, then adjudication of the severity of the penalty.

Any defense lawyer would recommend pleading not guilty from the outset unless a plea bargain is in place with predetermined punishment.
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