Judge Appreciates Victim Statement, but Ruling Remains the Same

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By Jess Taylor

SACRAMENTO- A victim’s impact statement was read to Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Brown last week, describing how the victim’s life has been impacted since being hit by a drunk driver on December 4, 2019.

Hashjit Atwaal has been charged with a DUI with bodily injury—his plea deal will reduce, by a few months, his 180 days of Sheriff’s Work Project. If the sheriff doesn’t accept him into the program, he’ll do that time in the county jail.

However, the victim, “AE,” was distressed at the possibility of Atwaal receiving a shorter sentence. Though the hearing was being conducted via Zoom, she was clearly distraught at this possibility.

Given the opportunity to address the court, AE emphasized, “On December 4, 2019, my life changed. I was driving home from work, on my way home to study for my final exams before graduating college and was hit while stopped at a red light. This hit was so intense that it knocked me unconscious and about 45 feet from where I stopped at the red light.

“After that night I not only experienced physical discomfort, but emotional. I suffer intense headaches, back issues as well, neck issues that I had to attend physical therapy to find some relief,” she said, adding even more details of how the incident greatly impacted her life.

Judge Brown thanked her for such an eloquent statement and having the courage to participate in a court proceeding. He then emphasized that what happened to her was in no way her fault and that she is a true victim of another person’s reckless, dangerous behavior.

As he explained his ruling on the case, the judge said he often disappoints people with his decisions. Quite a bit of time was spent reviewing this case and he decided that Mr. Atwaal will be granted the opportunity to apply for work project with the Sheriff.

The court said the reasoning behind this decision is that the defendant has no criminal history and that it was not a hit and run—these two factors are very significant in making a case ruling.

With this being said, the judge did also expand on how this decision will impact the defendant, that he now has a strike against him that will greatly change the outcome of possible future convictions, and he will be on probation for five years.

In closing, Judge Brown said to the defendant, “You owe it to our community, to Ms. E, to strictly follow probation and to serve as an example for others.”

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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