Friday, October 21, 2016

People v. Cady (Cal. Ct. App. - Oct. 20, 2016)

As we head into the weekend, a cautionary tale from this opinion:

"On the evening of January 10, 2014, Cady and his friends Dustin Barr, Jeff Becker, Taylor Bednarski, Shon Gilliam and Trevor Rodgers drove in Cady's Cadillac Escalade for a night of drinking in local bars in San Diego. After leaving the second bar at around 11:00 p.m., the group got back into the Escalade, and Cady drove onto Interstate 805 toward the transition ramp to State Route 52, with the goal of returning back to Bednarski and Rodgers's house.

As Cady approached the transition to State Route 52 he was traveling at a high rate of speed, and several of his passengers told him to slow down. Cady replied with a statement such as, "I'll drive this fucking car however the fuck I want," and then accelerated further. One witness also remembered Cady laughing like somebody who "lost their mind" as he accelerated. Shortly after accelerating, Cady lost traction on his vehicle as he went around a curve, causing the Escalade to roll at least five times, travel up an embankment and then slide back onto the freeway. Another vehicle then impacted the Escalade, causing the Escalade to spin to its final position. During the accident four of the passengers — Barr, Bednarski, Gilliam and Rodgers — were ejected from the vehicle. Bednarski and Gilliam died immediately from blunt force trauma. Barr and Rodgers were seriously injured, but survived. Becker died at the scene inside the Escalade from blunt force trauma. An accident reconstruction expert calculated that Cady was driving between 87 and 97 miles per hour when he lost control of the vehicle.

Based on a blood draw from Cady after the accident, an expert concluded that depending on whether the alcohol that Cady had consumed that evening was already fully absorbed into his system, Cady's blood alcohol level during the accident was between 0.1 and 0.18. Another expert testified that based on an analysis of the cannabinoids in Cady's blood drawn at 2:18 a.m., Cady had used marijuana within hours of the blood draw, and the level of active cannabinoids would have been significantly higher during the accident than during the blood draw. The expert witness testified that the combination of active marijuana with alcohol produces an "additive effect," which is an increase in the impairing effect of both drugs, so that "the combination of those two [drugs] at the same time produces an effect greater than either substance on its own." . . . .

The jury found Cady not guilty of murder, but found him guilty of all of the other counts and made true findings on all of the factual allegations. The trial court sentenced Cady to 18 years in prison."

Let's be careful out there.