She Prosecuted a Deputy – the Deputies Are Funding Her Opponent, Led by a Former Law Enforcement Officer Convicted for a Horrific DUI

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Photo from the 2017 Lassen County Times – CHP Examined George Driscoll’s 2008 Lexus in Susanville following the April 11, 2015, crash on Highway 395

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Martinez, CA – Following the successful prosecution of a sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed two men in separate incidents, the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association has targeted Contra Costa DA Diana Becton with a huge expenditure.

What has not been reported is that the man behind a lot of the funding faced DUI charges a few years ago, was given leniency despite severe injuries to the victim, and was even assisted by Becton’s opponent, Mary Knox, who wrote a letter to the judge in the case on his behalf.

According to campaign filings, George Driscoll is a treasurer of an independent expenditure that has funneled nearly $250,000 from police associations on behalf of Mary Knox.

On Thursday, KQED reported: “Contra Costa’s DA Sent a Sheriff’s Deputy to Prison. Now Law Enforcement Groups Are Spending Big to Defeat Her.”

Marisa Lagos reports: “Police groups have poured more than $250,000 into defeating Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton since her office’s successful prosecution and conviction last fall of a sheriff’s deputy for a 2018 on-duty fatal shooting, county elections filings show.”

As Lagos notes, “It was the first time a law enforcement officer in the county had ever faced felony charges for an on-duty shooting; and Hall’s six-year sentence, handed down in March, is one of the longest of its kind a California officer has ever received.”

And now they are trying to take Becton out, $210,000 coming from the association representing Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputies.

Lagos adds, “Becton’s decision to prosecute Hall —which came more than two years after the shooting, and in the near-immediate aftermath of his second fatal on-duty shooting — angered a number of influential county law enforcement officials. After Hall’s conviction and sentencing, Contra Costa Sheriff David Livingston called the charges “abhorrent.”

Just who is George Driscoll?

According to published accounts from CalMatters, Driscoll was a Contra Costa DA investigator, who had spent two decades with the state Attorney General’s Office.  Driscoll was in Lassen County for a law enforcement workshop, when he admitted to having been drinking vodka from a soda bottle, crossed the center line on the highway and crashed head-on into the victim.

While not fatal, the case was tragic and the woman spent months learning to walk again after her femur was shattered in four places and pins were inserted in her ankle.

According to their account, “Not until four months after the crash did prosecutors file charges against Driscoll, who was also badly injured. It was more than a year later when Driscoll took a plea deal to felony DUI and records show he wasn’t sentenced until another year had passed. Driscoll was sentenced to three years probation and 90 days in jail, although he ultimately didn’t have to serve the time behind bars.”

Further complicating matters is the relationship between George Driscoll and Mary Knox.

In 2017, Knox, a Deputy DA in Contra Costa at the time, wrote a letter on Driscoll’s behalf.

Writes Knox, “I could write volumes describing George’s selfless accomplishments but what gives these accomplishments significance is George’s motivation for doing what he does, for giving so much of himself: his deep and abiding gratitude for all of the gifts that God has given us in this life and his determination to leave the world a better place.”

She then begs the court for leniency, writing, “The impact of the end of George’s career in law enforcement… the seemingly endless months of bone-grinding pain he has silently endured struggling to recover from his injuries; all of this fades away in comparison to the burden that George will carry in his heart for the rest of his life—the reality that he hurt the mother and daughter in the car that he hit.   No punishment could impact George more than the knowledge that he has hurt another human being.”

The Becton campaign charges hypocrisy on the part of Knox here.

“In her latest baseless attack against District Attorney Becton, Mary Knox claims to want accountability for ‘drivers who drive recklessly under the influence of alcohol,’” said Champagne Brown, campaign manager for Becton’s campaign.  “And yet, she pleaded with a judge for leniency and no accountability on behalf of someone who drove under the influence of alcohol just a few years ago, crashing head on to another car and critically injuring the driver.”

Brown continued, “This is yet another example of Mary Knox’s hypocrisy and corruption—she is for ‘law and order’ except when it comes to her well-connected friends and donors. She cannot be trusted to hold people she owes—including police associations–accountable.”

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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