Innocent Until Proven Guilty


Anyone can get arrested for driving under the influence, whether you are the President of the United States or an Academy Award Winning Director. How society reacts to the arrest is different. Being the President you have to set an example. Where as a director could get away with driving under the influence because he is not in a position of power. People who are in public service face scrutiny when committing any mistake. That was the case for 2 LA City Hall staffer who were both arrested for separate incidents last weekend on a count of driving under the influence. A staffer by the name of Fredy Ceja was arrested Saturday morning after hitting a parked metro bus in Downtown Los Angeles and suspicion of driving under the influence. Fredy Torres, a field deputy for a city councilman, was arrested for driving under the influence after being questioned by police. Torres was arrested while driving a city-issued vehicle.

A man matching Ceja’s name and date of birth has been arrested three times for driving under the influence. The most recent took place in December 2009 while driving southbound on the 101 freeway. He was charged with reckless driving and driving under the influence. He pleaded no contest to reckless driving according to court records.

In 2006, a man matching both Ceja’s name and date of birth pleaded no contest to driving under the influence of alcohol and spent 6 days in the LA County Jail.

In 2003, a man matching both Ceja’s name and date of birth pleaded no contest to driving under the influence and was sentenced to a three-year probation term.

This past Thursday, Ceja’s attorney arrived at a Downtown Los Angeles courtroom and entered the not guilty plea. Ceja’s next hearing will take place on April 20th.  Ceja said to be “committed to public service” and intends to keep on working in LA City Hall.

Torres on the other hand, is on leave following his driving under the influence arrest.

Ceja’s driving under the influence arrest took place out of office hours, so should he be placed on leave for breaking the law? Should people working in a government office face the same punishment as a regular person convicted of a driving under the influence? Is it fair to have Torres go on leave and Ceja is allowed to keep working, despite the three previous driving under the influence arrests and damaging Metro property?

As someone who is committed to public service, one should not be held on a pedestal because we are only human, we make mistakes. We need to learn from our mistakes and if Ceja pleads no contest once again, then he should learn once and for all to not drink and drive.  

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