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UC Irvine Fraternity Brothers Charged with Supplying Alcohol to a Minor

November 7, 2019 Criminal Law and Procedure

Noah Domingo, an 18 year old attending the University of California, Irvine, died due to alcohol poisoning on January 12, 2019. Domingo, a minor, was a member of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon. The fraternity held a, “Big Brother,” event which was the particular party that lead Domingo to drink excessively. Authorities claim no hazing was involved in the cause of Domingo’s death. This is a claim that Dale Domingo, Noah’s father, denies. Dale states his son was pressured to drink a “family drink,” to be welcomed as a brother into the fraternity. He is attributing hazing to his sons death while, as stated above, authorities deny evidence of hazing. Since Domingo was not legally old enough to consume alcohol authorities have formally charged five fraternity brothers for supplying him with alcohol. 

The five fraternity brothers ranging from 20 to 22 years old have been charged with a misdemeanor; allowing a party to take place while under age drinking was allowed. Zavier Brown, 21 years old, was specifically charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor causing great bodily injury; a misdemeanor. Jonathan Vu, 22 years old, was charged with furnishing an alcoholic drink to a minor, another misdemeanor charge. After completing an autopsy, the coroner found Domingo’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) to be 0.33. No other drugs or substances were found in his system. 

The Possible Consequences

If found guilty of all charges Brown could face up to 18 months in jail and the other four defendants could face up to 6 months in jail. All five defendants names were on the lease to the fraternity brother home. The fraternity has since been shut down.  

District Attorney Todd Spitzer stated currently the law states furnishing alcohol to a minor causing great bodily injury or death is only a misdemeanor charge. Spitzer states the charge should be a felony and that he is working to have the legislation changed. 

ArborYpsi Law Takeaways

This is a terrible tragedy that resulted in an abrupt end to a young mans life. Unfortunately, this is not the first occurrence of a minor’s death resulting from alcohol supplied at a college or fraternity party. It is easy to quickly put the blame on the five fraternity brothers, however, it is unknown what their involvement was in Domingo’s access to alcohol. They may not have known that he was present at the party. It is also hard to believe that all five fraternity brothers were equally involved. Just because their names were on the lease does not mean they were knowingly supplying alcohol to a minor. The real challenge is that the college life culture consists of a drinking population that includes underage and of-age students. The question becomes who is responsible for whom? 

Call us

Call Sam Bernstein at 734-883-9584 or e-mail at bernstein@arborypsilaw.com.

Sam Bernstein is a criminal defense attorney in the Metro Detroit area. 

ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave. Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

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If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), a felony, or a misdemeanor call ArborYpsi Law. Sam Bernstein is a criminal defense attorney in Ann Arbor, MI that has experience representing clients charged with DUIs, felonies, and misdemeanors. At ArborYpsi Law we will get you results.