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California Rep. Lois Capps being sued over DUI death

The family of a young woman who died in a driving under the influence accident by one of her staffers sued California Rep. Lois Capps.

On 6th of December, Raymond Victor Morua III hit 27-year-old Mallory Rae Dies in a crosswalk. On 15th of April, Morua pleaded guilty to hitting Dies with his Dodge Caliber and fleeing the scene after attending a holiday party put on by a local newspaper, the Santa Barbara Independent.

On 11th of December, Dies was taken off of life support and died.

In the wrongful death federal lawsuit, the lawyer for the Dies family said that Morua was working in an official capacity for Capps the night of the party, that Morua has claimed under oath and if it is true then the congresswoman, the U.S. government and Morua, who are all named in the suit can be held responsible for the incident. was told by Capps spokesman, Chris Meagher that Morua began working as an intern and was subsequently hired as a caseworker in 2012 and as a district representative after that due to his great job. According to her, Capps believes the death of Dies was a “tragic event” and her thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim.

According to the Capps’ office, the decision of attending the invitation-only party was Morua’s own.

In a five-part series in The Santa Barbara News-Press by freelance journalist Peter Lance, he claims that Morua not only attended the party on behalf of Capps but discussed policy while he was there with constituents. Morua told his girlfriend via a text message that he was at the party with Meagher, the report showed.

Morua appeared alongside the Capps for many events in which a local Fourth of July parade is also included, according to the report by Local media.

Darryl Genis, Morua’s lawyer, told the News-Press, “The loyalties surrounding this tragedy are extremely incestuous particularly when you consider that my client, Raymond Morua, was with Lois Capps’ press secretary, Chris Meagher, at the party”.

There is information of a large number of actions Capps’ staff took in a struggle to decease her prison time. One of those actions is that Morua’s boss, Mollie Culver, the district director for Capps, forged his signature on paperwork from the Department of Veterans Affairs in the hopes of getting him sent to a treatment facility in Los Angeles for veterans. The paper showed on 10th of December that Morua was on the congresswoman’s payroll and that Culver was sending text messages of support to Morua’s fiancée Teresa Montoya.

After Dies was taken off life support, Capps finished all contact with Morua, saying that he had been fired on 8th of December. According to the Capps’ office, Morua was not at the party as a representative for Capps and said that Morua may have taken the invitation to the party off of Capps’ desk.

Genis told the paper, “It defies belief that Capps district director would risk breaking federal law to get him out of Dodge and into treatment if he wasn’t working for them”.

The report of News-Press shows that Capps’ office decided to finish every type of relation with Morua due to the death of Dies.

Questions were raised after the investigation that why Morua was hired for a job that included driving a motor vehicle when he had a suspended driver’s license and 2 previous driving under the influence convictions? Morua also had been convicted of hit-and-run and embezzlement previously. The lawsuit claims that Capps’ have all the information of Morua’s criminal record and failed to keep an eye on him. was told by Meagher that the paper’s story is “full of inaccuracies,” but Capps’ office could not comment on the case due to the reason that it is a pending legal matter. He said Capps’ office had no information of Morua’s criminal record prior to his arrest and noted the congresswoman followed standard House procedure when hiring him which only needs a reference check and interview.

Meagher said, “The loss of their loved one was and is a tragedy. It is clear she had an impact on many people’s lives. The congresswoman knows what it is like to lose a child and no parent should have to experience that”.

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About the Author

My name is Aaron Bortel. I practice in the state of California. I handle DUI cases exclusively and have been practicing for over 25 years.

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