EL CENTRO — At a pre-trial hearing on Feb. 25, El Centro City Council Member Edgard Garcia pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage.
No contest is a way to close a case
without admitting guilt. The plea was entered by Jason Amavisca, Garcia’s
defense attorney. When a defendant enters a no contest plea, they are choosing
to remain silent as to his or her guilt or innocence in order to close a case.
According to the minutes of the Feb. 25
pre-trial hearing, which were posted at the Superior Court’s law library, a pay
plan was listed ordering Garcia to pay $1,786 for the arrest. The sentence also
included three years’ probation and five days of community service.
The sentence was imposed by U.S. District
Court Judge Donal Donnelly.
Garcia was arrested at approximately 10:15
p.m. on May 7, 2019 at the corner of Aurora and Cypress drives in El Centro
just hours after he had presided over an El Centro City Council meeting as the
Garcia was charged with having a blood-alcohol
content exceeding 0.08 percent and a second count of BAC above 0.15 percent. He
registered blood-alcohol levels of .208, .23 and .24, about three times the
legal limit of .08, court records show.
Donnelly presided over the case almost
from its beginning because all local Superior Court judges recused themselves due
to potential conflicts of interest. The county District Attorney’s office also
declared a conflict, causing the state Attorney General’s office to prosecute
Garcia ran against District Attorney
Gilbert Otero in 2018.