When someone is involved in an accident while under the influence in California, they are often presented with a plea deal rather than a jury trial. The prosecution can make the offer to the defendant and the judge must agree to the plea. If new evidence comes to light in the time leading to the judge accepting the deal and administering a sentence, the judge may then reject the plea. It doesn’t occur often, but for one defendant in California, a jury trial is being scheduled after a judge rejected a plea deal based on new evidence. CBS Local San Francisco reports on the case.
Amoreena Brannum, believed to have been under the influence of drugs at the time, plowed into a parked car on the side of Highway 101 in San Jose in 2012. Mark Bava, his brother Chris Bava, and friend Catherine ash were killed. Brannum only suffered minor injuries.
Recently, Judge Andrea Flint was prepared to accept a plea deal and allow Brannum to walk out of court with time served. Impassioned pleas from the victim’s family along with social media posts by the defendant changed the judge’s mind.
While Brannum was supposed to be home on medical leave, she posted images and Facebook posts of her partying. The posts included steak dinners, Christmas in the park, and salon treatments.
When the families of the victims made the judge aware of the social media posts, she made the decision to allow Brannum to rescind her guilty plea to vehicular manslaughter.
A jury trial will begin on February 28th.