CA state attorneys will be deployed to Alameda Co. to boost criminal prosecutions

ByAnser Hassan and Lena Howland KGO logo
Friday, February 9, 2024
CA state attorneys will help boost Alameda Co. criminal prosecutions
Gov. Newsom and AG Bonta are partnering with Alameda Co. DA Price to deploy state attorneys to boost Oakland and East Bay criminal prosecutions.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Starting next week, the Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price will be getting help to prosecute suspects involved in violent crime, especially in Oakland.

"As the governor pointed out, we are experiencing a rise in crime, the crime rates here are excessive and they need to be dealt with," says D.A. Price.

On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta announced a partnership by sending state attorneys to help with criminal prosecutions.

As Price explains, three attorneys from the Judge Advocate General, or JAG, will be working with the Alameda County D.A.'s office. They will help investigate, analyze and prosecute violent crimes, illegal drug trafficking and property crimes, including retail theft and auto burglary.

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Governor Gavin Newsom says he is sending additional California Highway Patrol officers to Oakland in an effort to crack down on violent crime.

In a statement, Governor Newsom says: "An arrest isn't enough. Justice demands that suspects are appropriately prosecuted. Whether it's 'bipping' or carjacking, attempted murder or fentanyl trafficking, individuals must be held accountable for their crimes using the full and appropriate weight of the law."

"It is consistent with the governor's plan to bring the California Highway Patrol - this surge that is coming to Alameda County," says Price.

Oakland community leader Carl Chan met with Newsom along with other city community organizations in January to discuss solutions to Oakland's rising crime.

Chan is also leading the campaign to recall D.A. Price. He says Price is soft on crime. And told Newsom there needs to be more prosecutions. He welcomes the governor's action.

"Our police departments are doing a good job, apprehending criminals. But unfortunately, the D.A.'s catch and release (doesn't) work well," says Chan.

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But Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods calls this a "step backwards."

"I think it is a terrible idea! Absolutely a terrible idea," he says.

Woods argues that prosecutions are happening in Alameda County. And, that this will just lead to mass incarceration, especially of people of color.

"I have got a concern about people who are going to come in and maybe litigate and try cases, or try to negotiate cases, who aren't familiar with our culture. Aren't familiar with the history of abuse by the Oakland Police Department. Who aren't actually aware of what happens in our communities," explains Woods.

Cristine Soto DeBerry is the executive director of the Prosecutor Alliance of California. She says that this should not reflect on D.A. Price's ability to do her job, as critics might suggest. Adding, that the governor's does step in to help different counties.

"When we have the opportunity to get support from the governor, or the attorney general or the highway patrol, D.A. Price is wise in opening her arms and welcoming that support and those additional resources," says DeBerry.

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