On The Record

The Monthly Newsletter from San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis

October 2010

Bonnie smiling
Governor Signs Chelsea's Law in San Diego 
Chelsea's Law
Chelsea's Law, which was authored by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger at Balboa Park in San Diego on September 9th.  The District Attorney's Office strongly supported the new law.
"Chelsea's Law is a solid step forward in the fight to protect our children and hold violent sexual predators accountable for their actions," said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. "The King family has honored Chelsea's memory and turned personal tragedy into a public safety victory for Californians.  Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher's leadership brought bipartisan support for this important effort."
Chelsea's Law cracks down on sex offenders, including longer sentences and tougher parole conditions as well as improved testing and treatment to prevent future crimes.
The legislation is named after Poway teenager Chelsea King who was raped and murdered in February by John Albert Gardner.

Gardner was prosecuted by the San Diego DA's Office.  He pleaded guilty to the crime and also confessed to raping and killing 14-year-old Amber Dubois of Escondido in 2009. He is serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole.  
Amber Dubois' Father Works to Pass Bills Protecting Children 
Amber Dubois
Amber Dubois
The father of Amber Dubois was also successful in moving legislation forward this session.  Mo Dubois worked with Assemblymembers Pedro Nava and Paul Cook, who authored three bills which improve how law enforcement responds immediately following the report of a stranger abduction of a child. 
Assembly Bill 33 requires the Attorney General's office to make available within two hours of a reported stranger abduction  of a child, a list of  persons required to register as a sex offenders in that area.  
Assembly Bill 34  will require the Attorney General's office to interface with the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System to relay to them specific information contained in law enforcement reports regarding missing persons.
Finally, Assembly Bill 1022  will create a new position within the Department of Justice to assist law enforcement agencies with the search and recovery of at-risk abducted children.

New Law to Seal Autopsies Protects Families, Victims

A bill written and strongly supported by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office to allow parents of murdered children to seal the autopsy reports also became law in September.  The bill was carried by State Senator Dennis Hollingsworth, whose leadership proved invaluable.
The law will allow parents of children who are killed during a crime to request the disturbing details of the autopsy report not be released publicly. The request can only be made after someone is convicted of the crime.
San Diego Deputy DA Sophia Roach drafted the legislation, which was shepherded through the approval process by DA Legislative Specialist Gail Stewart.
Dennis Hollingsworth"This was truly a collaborative effort to protect victims' families," said DA Bonnie Dumanis. "I'm very proud of the work done by our office on this law and appreciate the support of lawmakers who understand why its so important."
State Senator Dennis Hollingsworth (left) carried the bill.

DA, Other Elected Officials Become 'Firefighter for a Day'

Local elected officials, including DA Bonnie Dumanis, climbed ladders, fought fires and faced their fears during a recent hands-on demonstration of fire fighter operations.
DA Dumanis crosses a ladder four stories up during the "Firefighter For-a-Day" event.
Bonnie on Ladder

Conducted on the grounds of the San Diego Fire Department Training Academy, these fire-fighters-for-a-day donned personal protective equipment and then underwent several live-action drills, including fire attack, forcible entry and search and rescue, cardiac arrest emergency and roof ventilation involving ladders.

Volunteers from the San Diego's Firefighters Association were hopeful the event would serve as a strong eye opener for local lawmakers and media.

"Being a firefighter is hard and dangerous work. But I know these participants will come away with a new understanding of us," said Association President Frank DeClercq.

Man Gets 80 Years-to-Life in Drug-Related Murder

A San Diego man convicted in a drug-related fatal shooting in Lincoln Park was sentenced to 80 years-to-life in prison. A jury found James Turner, 50, guilty of second-degree murder in connection with the death of Jaime Nicasio, 34, a father of three boys.

Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey
Mackenzie Harvey
During the trial, Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey showed how Turner shot the victim twice in the back after the two had a discussion about drugs. The shooting apparently occurred after Nicasio repeatedly asked Turner if he could buy crack cocaine on credit.
Turner has a record dating back to 1975 for violent crimes.
DA's Cold Case Homicide Division Highlighted
The District Attorney's and San Diego Police Department's Cold Case units were featured in a recent article for their successful investigations and prosecutions.  Law enforcement's increasing ability to solve cold cases because of advances in DNA technology was profiled.
"Closing in on murder suspects and solving cold cases delivers long-awaited justice and brings a measure of legal closure to families whose lives have been shattered by tragedy," said DA Bonnie Dumanis.
Since it was established in 2003, the Cold Case Homicide Division has closed the file on more than 14 unsolved murders. Cold homicide cases pending in the division have victims ranging in age from 18- to 84-years old, from all walks of life and from all areas of the county.
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ROGER BRUCE JONES, 45, was sentenced to 20 years in state prison for robbing 35 local businesses over a four-month period.  Dubbed by police as the "Long Jaw Bandit", the defendant was arrested in December by law enforcement when he tried to reenter the United States from Tijuana.

DERLYN THREATS, 29, was sentenced to death for fatally stabbing a young mother an excess of 70 times when she caught him stealing video games from her Vista home. 

The Employees of the San Diego District Attorney, in partnership with the Community we serve, are dedicated to the pursuit of truth, justice and protection of the innocent, and the prevention of crime through the vigorous and professional prosecution of those who violate the law.