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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Mock trial addresses party culture

Matthew Carrington, Brett Olson and Adrian Heideman — the deaths of these students were remembered and used to teach a lesson Wednesday night at the Greek life mock trial.Screen shot 2013-11-12 at 8.25.02 PM

A full house in the Bell Memorial Union auditorium listened in silence to the questioning of student actors from the Community Legal Information Center and insight from guest speakers.

In the fictional case prosecuted in the mock trial, a sorority sister went into cardiac arrest after having a .36 blood alcohol level with traces of cocaine in her system. The alcohol content is equal to 11 shots in one hour, said Trisha Seastrom, director of the Campus Alcohol and Drug Education Center.

“You are so far gone, they could do surgery on you and you couldn’t feel it,” she said.

This past year, Greek students have been highly involved with the CCLC, most recently with Halloween outreach efforts, Seastrom said.

Remembering deaths hits close to home

The chaotic 911 call from the night that 18-year-old Chico State student Adrian Heideman died was played. Heideman died in 2000 from an alcohol overdose in a fraternity hazing incident.

Chico Police Capt. Lori MacPhail took the phone call from Adrian’s mother after the death notification was released. MacPhail’s son was in college at the time.

“There I was, sitting doing paperwork, and I got a call from a mother who had just lost her 18-year-old son,” she said during the mock trial. “You just can’t imagine what that’s like.”

MacPhail also spoke to Brett Olson’s father during last year’s Labor Day weekend. Olson was found dead in the Sacramento River with alcohol and cocaine in his system after a week-long search.

“My son did get through college, he’s a teacher now, but I’m telling you, it’s hard for parents,” she said.

A new city ordinance that would hold leaders of Greek organizations responsible for holding large parties with underage drinkers will likely be presented before the Chico City Council around December, MacPhail said. Many cities in California have already adopted it.

MacPhail saw the draft at the city attorney’s office and believes the ordinance will pass in Chico.

“Chico State lost six kids to alcohol overdoses, a lot of it revolving around providing to underage individuals,” she said.

Students learn to ‘limit opportunity for disaster’

Anthony Cardoza, a criminal defense attorney, defended the fraternity member most accountable for Carrington’s death. He described what it was like speaking with Carrington’s mother.

“I ended up crying with this woman,” Cardoza said during the mock trial.

Everyone present that night is now a felon, he said.

Cardoza’s client now works with the family and on hazing campaigns. They ended up working together, which led to the creation of Matt’s Law, the statute enacted in 2006 that charges all instances of hazing as a felony.

Cardoza told students they don’t have a right to a lawyer in a judicial affairs hearing. He’s represented people who’ve been expelled from the entire CSU system.

“That’s pretty traumatic,” Cardoza said.

Being a minor in possession means losing a driver’s license for a year in Butte County and sexual battery means a sex offender registration, Cardoza said. Many people don’t know that a drug dealer giving cocaine is just as guilty as a guy giving his Vicodin to a friend. It is a felony that can never be reduced.

“It’s the same as if you’re slinging crack on the street,” he said.

Too often many people think about having a good time and don’t think about the consequences, Cardoza said.

“Don’t rely on individual people making the right decision when something is about to get out of control,” he said. “Bring this kind of information to your organization. Limit the opportunity for disaster to happen.”


Risa Johnson can be reached or @risapisa on Twitter.

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