It was recently reported that a Texas man, David Barajas, had recently been tried for murder, and found NOT GUILTY of shooting to death the DUI (drunk driver) driver who ran into and killed two of his sons on a quiet rural road in Texas. The shooting death occurred at the scene of the crash a short time after Jose Banda ran into Barajas’ two sons.
There was very little physical evidence tying Barajas to the shooting death: .357 shells in Barajas’ home matched that of the shells that killed Banda; some of Barajas’ blood was found in the armrest area of Banda’s car. A crime scene eyewitness saw Barajas leave the scene, come back a short time later, and lean into Banda’s car. The witness didn’t see a gun, but logic tells us that is probably what Barajas had with him.
Things could have turned out a different way for Barajas. He could have received a life sentence, and would have if it hadn’t been for the fact that a DUI driver was the victim. In this case, the jury liked the accused more than the victim. In this case, the jury dismissed the evidence and found for NOT GUILTY largely because they disagreed with the idea of sending Barajas to prison. This is called “jury nullification,” when a jury disegards the law, facts, and evidence for one reason or another. I believe that’s what happened here.
I have tried many DUI/ Drunk Driving trials, and it’s always a nightmare selecting an objective and fair jury. It seems that EVERYONE hates DUI drivers and everyone has a horror story of tragedy from a DUI driver. So the D.A. in the Barajas case had an uphill battle in convicting someone for killing a DUI driver who had just killed two young boys. It was never gonna happen. Nope. District Attorneys must seek justice: it is their professional guiding principle. So even if in their hearts they knew that Barajas did what any parent would do, they could not give a stamp of approval to vigilante justice. But a jury can–and in Texas, it did.