Friday, March 28, 2014

Pressure Mounts on AG Harris to Act in Lopez Case: NAACP & Local Attorneys Weigh In to Demand Action - “Bring Back Justice Cruz Reynoso as Special Prosecutor”

Justice for Andy Lopez Cruz! (d. 2013-10-22; Santa Rosa) [link]

2014-03-29 from "Justice for Andy Lopez Coalition":
Frustrated with the slow pace of the investigation into the criminal liability of Deputy Erick Gelhaus and the taint of partiality and bias associated with the Sonoma County DA’s Office – the NAACP, Project Censored, the Police Accountability Clinic and Helpline (PACH) and a robust contingent of Sonoma County attorneys have weighed in to demand that AG Harris intercede in the Andy Lopez case to appoint an independent Special Prosecutor to adjudicate the issue of Erick Gelhaus’ criminal liability in the Oct. 22nd shooting death of 13-year old Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa, CA.
Spearheaded by the Santa Rosa law firm of Adam Fietz, the letter reads, “We the undersigned attorneys practice in Sonoma County. We are intimately involved on a day-to-day basis in the legal proceedings in our community.” Further, “During this divisive time [the controversy over Andy Lopez’ death] in our community, it is essential that the legal process remain above the fray and disentangled from politics. The public must be confident that whatever the result of this investigation, the outcome is the product of careful and unbiased deliberation with an aim towards justice.”
For the first time in the back-and-forth controversy over the role of the Sonoma County DA’s Office, the lawyers behind the letter have proposed a concrete path forward for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor under the National Prosecution Standards. “We suggest for the sake of future discussion an excellent candidate for “special prosecutor” whose appointment we are confident would satisfy every concerned party – the Honorable Cruz Reynoso.”
The letter proceeds to site the qualifications that make Justice Reynoso a prime candidate for the appointment. “Justice Reynoso was the first Latino on the California State Supreme Court. … In February 1998, Justice Reynoso visited Sonoma County as the Vice Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights after seven fatal officer-involved shootings had occurred in the County. … Justice Reynoso is already imminently familiar with the history of Sonoma County’s police practices …”
Another extensive letter from Jonathan Melrod was sent to AG Harris last week supporting the case for recusal based on selective prosecution in involving an assault by one of Ms. Ravitch’s investigators. Melrod’s letter accuses DA Ravitch of exhibiting extreme bias in her choice to not prosecute her personal security detail for assaults and animus toward Lopez demonstrators. The Melrod letter is accompanied by a video depicting the incident of the Dec. 3d vicious assault on a demonstrator.

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