San Diego County Mock Trial Competition
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People v. Vega
People v. Vega is the trial of Adrian Vega, a prominent resident of Hidden Valley and child of the city’s mayor. Vega is charged with failure to perform a duty following an accident (commonly referred to as felony hit-and-run).
The prosecution alleges that Adrian Vega hit a bicyclist, Cameron Douglas, as Douglas entered an intersection on Skyline and Grand. The prosecution argues that as Adrian was entering the intersection, Adrian was texting, failed to stop at a stop sign, hit the victim, and then fled the scene. The prosecution further argues that the victim identified Adrian as the driver of the vehicle. There is also eyewitness testimony as to the type of vehicle and clothing worn by the driver that matches the description of Adrian on the evening of the accident.
The defense argues that Adrian Vega was not the driver of the vehicle, and instead Toni De Luca, a foreign exchange student who lives on the Vegas’ property, was the driver of the vehicle that struck Cameron. There is eyewitness testimony that Toni was last seen near the driver’s side of the vehicle when Toni and Adrian left the school on the evening of the accident. Furthermore, Toni was wearing clothing similar to the clothing identified by the eyewitness. The defense will also argue that Cameron is not a reliable witness as Cameron suffered a concussion and has a bias against the Vega family.
The pretrial issue in People v. Vega centers on the Fifth Amendment and the U.S. Supreme Court decision as set forth in Miranda v. Arizona. The issue in this case is whether or not the circumstances surrounding the defendant’s interaction with the police amounted to custodial interrogation. If so, the circumstances would require the protection of the Fifth Amendment and thus would have required the officer to read the defendant the Miranda warnings prior to interrogation.