Driving, then lying about it, sends woman to jail for 6 months
by Lori Caldwell email@example.com | 648-3258 October 15, 2012 3:32PM
Updated: November 17, 2012 6:16AM
GARY — Juanika Gardner can’t say she wasn’t warned.
Gary City Court referee Itsia Rivera spoke slowly and clearly, telling Gardner, 27, she would sentence her to six months in jail if she lied.
After taking an oath, Gardner pointed to the man standing to her left and said he drove her to court Monday morning for her trial.
Gardner already had been found guilty of driving without a valid license after Cpl. Derek Gilliam testified about stopping her Feb. 8 at 24th Avenue and Burr Street. Court records show her license expired in 2005, and she was charged in January 2009 with driving while suspended.
Facing the choice of a $364 fine or 30 days in jail, Gardner opted for the fine.
But before she could leave, Cpl. Richard Pratt informed a court officer he saw Gardner, of 4242 Jefferson St., driving to the police station earlier that morning.
After all other court matters were done, Rivera summoned Gardner, Gardner’s boyfriend and the supposed driver to the stand and placed them all under oath.
She explained to all three the penalties for lying, then asked Gardner how she arrived at court.
Gardner claimed her boyfriend’s friend was the driver, but said she didn’t know his name.
Then Rivera turned to him.
Daniel Garcia, 34, paused, took a deep breath and said, “I’m sorry. I don’t know anything about this. I wasn’t privy to any of this. I didn’t drive anyone, just asked to be the one to drive them home.”
Gardner’s boyfriend, Reginald Deberry, tried to clarify, saying it was “another friend” who drove them to court. He launched into a description of his car’s catalytic converter problems and said Gardner didn’t own a car, have any car keys and didn’t have one parked outside.
Rivera had heard enough.
“I don’t know if that’s true. Six months.”
She then set a $1,000 cash bond for Gardner.