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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - A former Santa Clara County judge was jailed for drinking over-the-counter cough medicine while serving his house arrest sentence.
Judge William Danser, who was convicted for fixing traffic tickets last year, was required to stay away from alcohol as a condition of his 90-day electronic monitoring.
But on March 4, seven days before the end of his sentence, Danser took Nyquil, which contains so much alcohol that it was specifically prohibited unless he notified authorities, his attorney said.
On the day Danser took the medicine, a probation officer made a surprise 9:30 p.m. visit to his Saratoga home. Danser's wife told the officer her husband had a cold and was in bed. She was told to wake him up to provide a urine sample.
After test results showed traces of alcohol, Danser was ordered Wednesday to spend the rest of his sentence in jail. His sentence expired late Friday night.
A probation department spokeswoman, Delores Nnam, said Danser was clearly in violation of the rules, and the only prescribed sanction was a return to jail.
Danser's attorney, Kenneth Robinson, said the former judge simply forgot to tell his probation officer that he had a bad cough and needed to take NyQuil.
Danser was found guilty in April of one felony and eight misdemeanor counts arising from a scheme to fix traffic tickets for friends and acquaintances.
When he was sentenced, Judge William Kelsay ordered house arrest instead of jail because of Danser's poor health. Danser later agreed to step down from the bench.
Robinson said Danser had passed every previous visit from his probation officer, none of his previous urine tests contained alcohol and liquor was never found in his house.
"The moral of this story is, if he gets sick, he goes to jail," Robinson told the San Jose Mercury News.