DA Accountability Table Supports DA Pamela Price’s Decision Not to Pursue Adult Prosecution in Case Involving a Juvenile

Special to the Vanguard

Oakland, CA – The Alameda County District Attorney Accountability Table (ACDAAT) grieves with the family of Jazy and Angel Sotelo Garcia and expresses our deepest sympathies for the untimely death of these beloved brothers. This case is one that has shaken our community, and our coalition’s mission will always be to prevent trauma associated with breaches of public safety.

Yet, as we acknowledge the unthinkable burden this family now suffers, we must also remain focused on implementing policies centered around community safety and equitable justice. We support Alameda County District Attorney (DA) Pamela Price’s commitment to prosecute the young person involved in juvenile court.

Research shows that prosecuting youth as adults exacerbates trauma and severely disrupts youth social and psychological development. The juvenile system offers access to age-appropriate services and opportunities for rehabilitation, treatment, and education that prepare youth to re-enter their communities. DA Price is making the right decision in this painful case.

“As a mother who lost my two sons to gun violence and has worked with victims’ families in the Bay Area in their times of pain and grief, I feel the pain of the Garcia family.” said Lorrain Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of 1000 Mothers To Prevent Violence. “As someone who has also worked with incarcerated youth and adults in California, I know sending children to adult prisons is not the solution. We have to deal with the root causes of gun violence and answer the question of “why do these kids have guns in the first place and who’s selling guns to them?”

“When I was 17 years old, I was arrested and charged with multiple felonies including attempted murder. I was fortunate to have been tried as a youth and not transferred to the adult system. Research has proven that trying children in the adult system does more harm than good and increases rates of violence among youth moved into that system,” said George Galvis, Executive Director of Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice.

He added, “As a result of remaining in the juvenile system I was able to transform my life through higher education and community service. I’m a graduate of UC Berkeley with honors, I’m the founder and executive director of a community based organization that has supported thousands of vulnerable, systems impacted youth, and I’m a recipient of the California Peace Prize. I’m also certain that I’m not special. I know that all young people have the potential to change.”

Yoel Haile, Director of the Criminal Justice Program at ACLU of Northern California explained, “Youth are profoundly capable of growth and rehabilitation. Yet, youth of color, especially Black and Brown youth, are disproportionately transferred to adult court in Alameda County. Between 2006 and 2018, ninety-seven percent of all adult prosecutions of youth in Alameda County involved youth of color. Youth in the adult system face longer and harsher sentences and are more likely to be re-arrested than youth who stay in the juvenile system.”

Michael Collins, Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs at Color Of Change added, “Each time a prosecutor charges a child as an adult they fail not only the child, but entire communities by undermining public safety and the consistency by which appropriate justice is delivered. Children in adult jails are more likely to suffer permanent trauma, more likely to commit suicide, and face a higher risk of sexual and physical abuse. This decision from Price’s office is no discount to the severity of the charges facing the accused youth, rather it is a necessary commitment by Price to always treat kids like kids.”

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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