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Students witness DUI sentencing firsthand

April 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The sentencing of a young drunk driver in Riverside gave some Ramona High School students an eye-opening lesson Thursday. Students were on hand as the 19-year-old heard his sentence.

Like almost any other sentencing, attorneys on both sides were present Thursday. There was a bailiff, a court reporter and a commissioner.

But unlike other court proceedings, this one was held in front of hundreds of students at Ramona High School in Riverside.

Thursday, 19-year-old Jesus Enriquez was sentenced for driving under the influence of alcohol. His face has been blurred at the request of the court.

Even though this sentence wasn't issued in an actual courtroom, it doesn't mean it holds any less weight.

Like any other sentencing, the defendant was asked if he had anything to say.

"It's really not worth it, I can't even go to school or work without having to rely on other people, and it really takes away from your independence," said Enriquez.

The defendant did not get any special deal for taking part in this assembly. He's going to have to pay $1,800 in fines, work several days of hard labor, and lose his license for 12 months.

"It makes me think that I'm no longer a child. I have to think about the real consequences and that your parents are not responsible that much for your actions now," said student Atziri Rubio.

"It was very real. I learned a lot of things that I didn't know about justice and the system," said student Matthew Muratet.

"It obviously has a great impact on students, and especially for seniors who are about to graduate from high school," said Riverside Superior Court Commissioner Bambi Moyer. "There are going to be a lot of parties going on, a lot of things going on, so we think a program like this for them will get them thinking."

So for the defendant, this was his sentencing. For everyone else, it was a sobering look at the potential consequences of drinking and driving.