LA County DA drops special circumstances against man who shot a police deputy (Update)

As Jazz pointed out last week, LA County has a new District Attorney. Immediately upon taking office George Gascon announced that he would be doing away with the death penalty, cash bail and special circumstances enhancements which add additional jail time in certain cases. Now we’re starting to see what that will mean in some actual cases. The families of the victims are not happy about it.

From Fox 11:

In June 2019, police say Rhett Nelson shot LASD deputy Joseph Gilbert Solano in the back of the head while he was waiting in line at an Alhambra Jack in the Box while off-duty…

FOX 11 confirmed that Gascon’s office is seeking to dismiss all gun enhancements and special circumstances of multiple murders against Nelson. If a judge signs off on the dismissals, life without parole would be off the table for Nelson if he were to be convicted, and he could potentially be released from prison at some point in the future.

Solano’s sister said Gascon has never spoken to her about the decision. To her it makes no sense, “I don’t understand what his purpose is to let these murderers out of jail, I don’t get it, he’s like the Devil, I don’t understand it.” Another case impacted by Gascon’s decision about circumstances involves a woman who severely injured a 6-month old child:

“He’s running a social experiment that is dangerous for all of us because his whole goal is to release all these criminals out there in the street, and somehow they’re magically going to behave. And that simply isn’t going to happen,” said attorney Samuel Dordulian, who is representing several families of crime victims.

In one case, a baby sitter is accused of beating a 6-month-old girl with a blunt object, shattering the baby’s skull and causing severe brain damage. The girl, now 3-years-old, is blind and forced to eat through a feeding tube.

Dordulian says under Gascon’s new directives, the baby sitter can no longer be charged with a great bodily injury enhancement which could have sent the woman to prison for up to 10 years.

A third case involves a DUI that killed a passenger in another vehicle:

“This is not fair, this is not justice,” says Michelle Scianni.

She is devastated to learn District Attorney Gascon is planning to drop some of the charges against 21-year-old Austin Redden. On May 13, 2019, detectives say Redden was driving under the influence of drugs and crashed into a tow truck. Scianni’s nephew, Jacob Scianni, was a passenger in the vehicle. He was killed in the crash and two other passengers also suffered severe injuries.

Attorney Sam Dordulian says this was Redden’s third DUI. He was facing special circumstance allegations that would have given him more time in prison but under Gascon’s new directives, prosecutors were in court on Friday to ask a judge to dismiss those extra allegations.

I can’t imagine why LA County would want to see Redden back on the streets and potentially behind the wheel of a car again. Seems like after his third DUI and killing someone we might want him to go away for while. But not in LA County. In fact, Dordulian, the family’s attorney, says he saw a special adviser walk up to the defense attorneys in court and announce in a loud voice “Mr. Gascon is very concerned and wants to be aware of everything that is said about this case and about the proceedings and he wants to make sure everyone follows the special directive.” Dourdulian said the message sent to prosecutors was “we’re listening, we’re watching, do not say anything against us.”

But it seems the threat didn’t work. The judge refused to drop the enhancements in this case.

These three cases are just a handful of examples. How many more like this are out there that haven’t been reported yet? How many violent and dangerous people are going to get another chance to walk the streets thanks to George Gascon’s new directives?

Update: A former San Francisco Assistant District Attorney who worked for Gascon says he “wreaked havoc” on the DA’s office in that city. Also, former LA County DA Steve Cooley really doesn’t seem to like Gascon much, referring to him as a “functional outlaw” and calling him “a George Soros puppet.”