SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The trial for Tony Denunzio is under way in Santa Maria. Most DUI trials don't get this much attention, but this is not a typical case. Denunzio claims Santa Barbara police violated his constitutional rights when they arrested him in 2011.
Denunzio is charged with driving drunk on Oct. 21, 2011. He was arrested by Officer Aaron Tudor at the Loreto Plaza parking lot.
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His attorney, Darryl Genis, said his client was brutally beaten by Tudor and other officers with the Santa Barbara Police Department during that traffic stop. "Mr. Denunzio was pulled over for the venial sin of not using his turn signal while changing lanes and within five seconds of stopping his vehicle he was foot sweeped to the ground, punched with closed fists and tazed," said Genis.
Genis is arguing that Denunzio's constitutional rights were violated not only during the arrest, but also when he was taken to the jail and his blood was taken from him using force.
He said, "Mr. Tudor never told Mr. Denunzio that he had to choose between a breath or a blood test, never even offered him a breath test even though there was right there out in the field in his car at the Gelsons parking lot."
Denunzio was on probation for a previous DUI and according to the prosecution he was required to submit to a blood test, if requested by a peace officer, in accordance with his probation.
This trial is expected to last about 10 court days so it should be over sometime next week.