Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón addressed accusations of giving a “light sentence” to a minor who hit a mom and infant in August of 2021 while intoxicated.
A 17-year-old pleaded guilty to two charges of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and a single count of hit-and-run after speeding on a one-way residential street while intoxicated, swerving and hitting a woman and her 8-month-old child.
The teen received a five to seven month sentence in a juvenile probation camp, which many detractors felt was not enough.
One of those who spoke out against the sentence was Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, saying the Gascón’s sentences are “encouraging criminal behavior.”
“We were never consulted as we were not the investigating agency,” Villanueva said on Twitter Saturday. “Sheriff’s investigators would never be OK with the lightweight sentencing in this hit-and-run case. Stop empowering and encouraging criminal behavior. Hold them accountable.”
Gascón insisted the criticism against him was “misinformation,” and the DA’s office charged the teen as harshly as legally allowed.
“After reviewing the evidence, our office charged the minor with the most serious offenses possible under the law,” Gascón said in a statement Monday. “Contrary to what some have claimed, it is not ‘attempted murder’ under CA law. To charge that offense, our office would have to be able to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the minor specifically intended to kill the victims. There was no evidence of that.”
Surveillance footage of the incident was made public, showing the car veer into the woman who was walking with her child in a stroller. The video was shared by Gascón opposers who have been petitioning to recall the DA.
“5 months in probation camp for the teen who plowed his car into a mom and her 8-month-old son,” the Recall DA George Gascón Instagram account posted. “We must recall George Gascón.”
In the past three months, Gascón has been more vocal about controversial cases and explaining their reasoning. The district attorney is also holding a virtual town hall on June 8, where he will address “misinformation” surrounding violent crimes.
“The incident was undoubtedly terrifying for the victims, and we know the trauma will impact their family forever,” Gascón said. “Opponents of the District Attorney are attempting to capitalize on this incident & are using the victim to advance the false premise that this sentencing is tied to the DA’s criminal reform policies. The truth is our office simply followed California law.”
(Featured surveillance photo of August 2021 incident)
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