|Gov. Approves Clemency Bill; Victim Notification Required|
|District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announces a new state law that requires victims and prosecutors to be notified when an application for commutation of a prison sentence is made. |
District Attorneys and victims across the state must now be notified whenever convicted criminals apply for clemency -- an effort spearheaded by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office and the parents of murder victim Luis Santos to avert last-minute commutations.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law this month Assembly Bill 648, which was carried by Assemblyman Marty Block and co-authored by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher.
"AB 648 is a major victory for crime victims throughout the state of California," DA Dumanis said. " Victims will no longer have the rugs pulled out from under them with a secretive commutation to help a friend. We are very appreciative to Assemblymen Marty Block and Nathan Fletcher for their work on this bill."
AB 648 was in response to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's last-minute commutation of Esteban Nunez's sentence. Schwarzenegger commuted the sentence from 16 years in state prison to seven years. Nunez, along with a co-defendant, pleaded guilty in 2009 to voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon.
The assault occurred during a fight near San Diego State University, which left Luis Santos dead from knife wounds and three other victims injured. Nunez's guilty plea was accepted by the court and he was sentence for his crimes in June 2010. His case was being appealed when the commutation was suddenly announced by Schwarzenegger on his last day in office.
|Auto Thieves Indicted in Undercover Operation|
|District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announces the results of a six-month undercover operation targeting auto theft. |
More than 30 defendants were indicted after a six-month undercover operation in which auto thieves targeted victims while they were at fitness centers, daycares or while they slept in their own homes.
Operation G-Ride, which was conducted by the Regional Auto Theft Task Force (RATT) in cooperation with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, recovered more than 50 stolen vehicles worth about $600,000.
The grand jury indicted 33 suspects. Police officers arrested an additional six defendants on various charges during the course of Operation G-Ride.
"The DA's Office and RATT continue to fight auto theft in San Diego and these indictments mean dozens of car thieves have been shut down," said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.
Auto theft in San Diego County has dropped in recent years lowering its ranking by the National Insurance Crime Bureau from third in the nation for stolen cars to number 15.
Four Sentenced for Robbing Jeanne Jones' Home in Nov.
Four men, who were convicted of robbing the La Jolla home of cookbook author Jeanne Jones, were sentenced to prison this month, with one of the perpetrators receiving a 45-year sentence.
Thomas Walter Clark, 42, who was previously convicted of robbery, got the stiffest sentence of 45 years for his role in the Nov. 5 armed robbery.
Co-defendants Aaron Jacob Espinoza, 24, and Hector Guerra, 31, each were sentenced to 26 years and four months in prison and getaway driver Miguel Ocegueda, 24, got 14 years and four months.
Deputy District Attorney C.J. Mody prosecuted the case.
"I'm pleased that justice prevailed in this case where the defendants terrorized and attacked Ms. Jones, her husband and a caregiver," DA Dumanis said. "Because of DDA Mody's strong work, four criminals are off the streets."
Boyfriend Pleads Guilty to Killing Girlfriend's Dogs
A man suspected of killing his girlfriend's three dogs while she was at work then making up a story about how they died, pleaded guilty to to animal cruelty charges.
|Pikanik, Josh and Jackie |
Patrick Caleb Land, 25, admitted to killing the three large dogs last September and October and faces five years and four months in prison. He was arrested in April in North Carolina after fleeing. He was extradited to San Diego to face charges.
"This is a particularly brutal and disturbing case of animal cruelty," DA Dumanis said. "Our office's prosecution of animal cruelty cases like this one should send a strong message that we will not tolerate animal abuse in our community."
Deputy District Attorney Garrett Randall, who prosecuted the case, said Land was living with his girlfriend in the College Area last year with her three dogs: Jackie, a 9-year-old white shepherd mix; Pikanik, a 4-year-old black and tan mixed breed; and Josh, an 8-year-old golden retriever mix.
Josh was killed first in September and the remaining dogs were beaten to death in October. In both instances Land called his girlfriend at work and told her he found the dogs dead in the bedroom.
DA Liaison Delivers New Citizen Keynote Address
In keeping with the District Attorney's goal of public outreach, Community Relations Officer Jesse Navarro last month delivered the keynote address to more than 400 new U.S. citizens at the Naturalization & U.S. Citizenship Ceremony.
Navarro was joined by five diverse representatives from the DA's Office whose countries of origin include Italy, Iran, the Philippines, Trinidad & Tobago and Vietnam.
"I would like to congratulate our newest citizens and welcome them to America -- their new home," DA Dumanis said. "Our office embraces diversity and makes every effort to be accessible to the public."
Of the more than 430 adults who were awarded citizenship, six are members of the United States Armed Forces. The group represents 65 countries throughout the world.
Brent Lee Molina, 33, was sentenced to 15 years in state prison for his involvement in the 2008 beating death of 18-year-old Devin Blackowl on the Pala Indian Reservation.
Gilbert Castro Egurrola, 27, was sentenced to 71 years-to-life in state prison for kidnapping and stabbing 82-year-old Ralph Barrera and leaving him to die in the bathtub of his apartment. When Egurrola fled the apartment, he kidnapped a witness to the crime, threatening to kill him if he reported it.
Robert Glenn Pulley, 48, was sentenced to 40-years-to-life in state prison for shooting his neighbor, 44-year-old Jimmy Misaalefua, to death following a Christmas morning argument in Oceanside.