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E veryone agreed Everardo Hernandez’s case was weak.

When the San Jose resident was picked up March 2 by the California Highway Patrol, he admitted to downing four beers, had an open bottle of Bud Light in his truck, and blew a .15 blood alcohol level, nearly twice the legal limit.

But Hernandez took his case to trial anyway — in front of 200 high school students in the gym at San Jose’s Yerba Buena High School. Santa Clara’s Traffic Safe Communities Network staff, who came up with the idea, said holding a real trial in front of students is a great way to steer students away from drinking and driving. Auto accidents are the leading cause of death among 15- to 19-year-olds, with alcohol being the primary factor in most crashes.

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