A Camarillo man appealed his15-years-to-life for the DUI death of a Ventura County Sheriff’s deputy. A lawyer for Kevin Hogrefe argued that the man’s trial was unfair due to bias in the jury. Hogrefe’s attorney argued that media coverage of the incident tainted the jury pool. They also argued that the judge erred by denying Hogrefe’s change-of-venue motion.
Prosecutors claimed that Hogrefe struck Yehven “Eugene” Kostiuchenko during a traffic stop near a Highway 101 entrance ramp. His blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.23 nearly two hours after the collision. He also had a history of drunk driving, beginning at age 17. Hogrefe was 25 at the time of the fatal accident.
During the trial, Hogrefe’s lawyer motioned for a change of venue twice during jury selection. The trial judge denied both motions and the jury found Hogrefe guilty of murder.
The State Attorney General’s Office filed a 114-page motion in support of the state’s case last month. In it, the state argued that one-third of the jurors selected did not know anything about the trial. Attorneys did not ask two jurors about their knowledge of the case. The other six jurors had a cursory knowledge of the incident. The state also argued that knowing about a case does not automatically bias jurors.
The appeals court has yet to rule on the case. The AG’s Office indicated that the case should return to the trial court to correct one small issue. Currently, the case record does not indicate that Hogrefe received his first drunk driving conviction at age 17. By entering this into the case record, Hogrefe could become eligible for age-related parole consideration. Offenders who commit offenses before the age of 26 may receive a special parole consideration.
Camarillo DUI attorney
When you face a drunk driving charge in Camarillo, hire an experienced DUI attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal defense. He takes cases in Ventura County and throughout Southern California.
About two-thirds of the state’s drunk driving cases result in misdemeanor charges. Injuries and death, as well as repeat DUI offenses can result in felony charges. Don’t attempt to defend yourself and don’t rely on an inexperienced or disinterested attorney.
Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura DUI case.
Photo Credit: Patrick Feller, via Flickr.com