By David M. Greenwald
Woodland, CA – If Supervising Deputy DA Garrett Hamilton wants to sing the praises of his boss, Jeff Reisig, for being “quite literally the most innovative DA in the country,” a lot of people might question that opinion, but, hey, that’s his business.
If it is true that “district attorneys around California and the nation look to him for leadership,” you might think that would be a strong enough record to run on without resorting to gutter-level attacks on his opponent over basically nothing.
But that’s not what is going on. Instead, a few weeks ago Reisig’s campaign, in a paid political ad on Facebook, attacked challenger Cynthia Rodriguez apparently for accepting a couple of donations from people or families who had been accused of or convicted of committing certain crimes.
Guilt by association? Based on this, Reisig’s campaign attacked Rodriguez for “Campaigning for Criminals” and that she “is getting thousands of dollars in campaign funding connected to convicted sex offenders and child rapists seeking a soft on crime district attorney.”
“I have seen comments both ways about some of the challenger’s donations. In court, and in politics, we learn when we ask questions,” Garrett Hamilton writes in an attack letter on Rodriguez. He writes, “I encourage Yolo County voters to ask, “Why is Sanjay Dev trying to change the D.A.?””
I too think voters should ask a critical question—but it would be a little different. My question would go like this: If Jeff Reisig really is the “most innovative DA in the country” and has such a strong record, why do you need to attack your opponent over a $500 contribution from Ajay Dev’s brother?
Hamilton charges, “My concern is that he wants a new D.A. because Reisig is defending Dev’s brother’s long rape sentence in current habeas litigation. Not the attorney general, the district attorney. Much post-conviction habeas litigation in California is now handled by the district attorneys.”
He adds, “If Dev gets a new D.A. he may feel that a D.A. to whom he gave money would drop the fight and let his rapist brother out of prison. This is an important question to ask before you go to the ballot box.”
Long-time readers know that the Vanguard has been covering the Ajay Dev case since 2009 and the Vanguard fully believes—with strong evidence—that Ajay Dev was wrongly convicted by Jeff Reisig and the Yolo County DA’s office.
There was sufficient evidence to support this possibility, so that nearly three years ago the Yolo County court granted Dev an evidentiary hearing in his Habeas case, as mentioned by Hamilton.
The DA’s office under Reisig has fought the evidence every step of the way, and the case has stalled after Deputy DA Ryan Couzens dug up a bunch of immaterial dirt during an evidentiary hearing.
The key evidence presented so far was an enhanced audio of the pretext phone call showing that the original jury heard a false translation that seemed to implicate Dev.
As testified to in court, Judge Fall erred in allowing the complaining witness to translate that section of the recording. Most importantly, Ajay Dev did not say “you had sex with me when you were 18,” but rather, “if that [is] so why did you come with me since 18 years?”
Moreover, six witnesses have come forward to say that the alleged victim admitted in contemporaneous time to the trial to fabricating the story.
As written in the Habeas petition, “post-conviction investigation has shown that in determining whether (the AV) should be believed, the jury did not have the full story, or anything even close.”
The alleged victim (AV) “admitted to at least six different people that the sexual allegations were not true.”
Instead, “the new evidence presented and discussed in the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus shows that prior to trial, (the AV) repeatedly admitted to family and friends that she lied about the allegations. Jurors deciding if (the AV) lied never heard this evidence, or any of the other new evidence establishing that (the AV) was simply not credible.”
And what has the “most innovative” DA done about these revelations? Delay, block and obfuscate.
Sanjay Dev told the Vanguard that he never realized how dirty politics could be and expressed sorrow that he and his family have become part of it.
All he wanted was a fair shake from the DA for his brother—which he has never felt he has gotten from this DA.
Five hundred dollars is hardly enough to influence the actions of a DA, let alone knock off the sitting DA.
But Ajay Dev is of course not alone. An appellate court last month overturned the murder conviction of Justin Gonzalez, who was directly prosecuted by Jeff Reisig.
Reisig is accused of withholding evidence from the defense in that case.
Defense Attorney for Justin Gonzalez, Keith Staten, stated to Robert Hansen of the Vanguard that there is a recording of a conversation between Yolo prosecutors and Ruby Aradoz, a defendant turned witness near the end of the trial.
Staten told the Vanguard that because of the conviction being reversed, no ruling was made by the court on the possibility of a Brady violation.
“If they said it was, then Jeff Reisig would be subject to getting disbarred,” Staten said.
Hansen notes that the DA agreed to dismiss the charge if Aradoz provided truthful testimony and cooperated with the prosecution.
“They turned her the night before prosecution evidence was over,” Staten said. “I’ve been crying about this case for a while.”
This is not an isolated incident. And in the Dev case, for well over a decade, a likely innocent man has been sitting in prison away from his family, and, instead of giving the case an honest assessment, the DA has thrown up roadblocks and misdirection.
That’s the real record of this DA and probably why Hamilton is throwing dirt rather than shining light on his DA’s record of accomplishment.