Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Alleged School Robin Hood Found Not Guilty

From the major Sacramento newspaper:

Former Laguna student innocent in grade-changing case

By Christina Jewett -- Bee Staff Writer

Published 3:38 pm PDT Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A former Laguna Creek High School student was cleared Tuesday of 93 charges of grade changing and five counts of burglary in Sacramento juvenile court, ending more than a year of legal wrangling for 19-year-old college student Alexander Ochoa.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Richard H. Gilmour declared Ochoa's innocence to a crowd of the teen's family, who let out cheers and applause.

Ochoa emerged from the court beaming and hugged his grandmother and other emotional family members.

"I never doubted my innocence - never," Ochoa, a college sophomore, said after the hearing.

Ochoa was accused in the spring of his senior year at Laguna Creek High School of inflating the grades of nearly 40 students. He was expelled from school after the grade-changing incident, but was later exonerated of the charges in a school hearing.

The 19-year-old said he plans to fly to Los Angeles Tuesday night, where he will join the Occidental College football team on its second day of training. Ochoa attended Occidental as a freshman on scholarship and said he plans to study to be a doctor.

Gilmour ruled that the prosecution did not prove Ochoa's guilt in any of the 98 charges. Gilmour said Ochoa's nearly "ironclad" alibis on days of alleged burglaries and grade-changing at the school cast doubt on Ochoa's sole involvement in the case.

He also noted that the three witnesses against Ochoa offered no evidence that he changed grades, and all had lied to officials in the course of the investigation.

Gilmour also noted the testimony of character witnesses in the trial, saying Ochoa was uniformly deemed to be a trustworthy and upstanding person.

Emphasis above is mine. Don't the two boldfaces statements above cry out for further explanation?

But he's been found 'not guilty'. So now we have to ask: who did it? Is it back to square one and start search ing for new criminals, or are the school and district now going to drop it because their case against this former student was so bad?


Anonymous said...

School districts often botch cases like this.

I know of a student who attended a special "magnet"-type public high school here in CA who demolished a toilet in a school bathroom with an improvised explosive.

During the expulsion proceedings, his father caught the school district violating their own published SOP and forced them to back off. The student later graduated from that school.

I've heard of other similar examples.

Ellen K said...

The son of our local DA and his wife the county judge was accused of shooting at middle school girls with a pellet gun when he was 16. The case wound up pending for over a year. The same kid at 17 was arrested and released for shooting a 12 gauge shot gun in his backyard, wounding a man working in the yard next door. The case is still pending. Finally at 18, the kid was arrested after stealing a case of beer and punching a store clerk when stopped. He's still in jail. But why did it take so long? And these are just the crimes for which he was caught. God knows how many other things the little twerp got away with because Mommy and Daddy were connected. I also know of cheerleaders who jumped a girl for sleeping with her boyfriend, sending the girl to the hospital, and all that happened to the cheerleaders is they lost their spots on the squad. No jail time, no time in alternative school, all because the parents were connected and complained that any punishment would "ruin their girls" I have a bushel more of these, but it makes me queasy to think of them.

Anonymous said...

"I never doubted my innocence - never"? Who on earth would say something like this? Does he think innocence is something that is conferred on him by a court, rather than something that is discovered or confirmed?

Eh. He's guilty.

Darren said...

The school exhonerated him, and now a court has found him guilty of *98* different charges. Not guilty of *any* of them.

Stating he's guilty based on his wording of one sentence seems a bit misguided, at least to me.

Anonymous said...

His reply "I never doubted my innocence--never" was in response to a stupid reporter's question "Did you ever doubt your innocence?".