Tuesday, May 14, 2002
Delgadillo, Garcetti Sponsoring Bill to Bolster Community Voice in Criminal Courts
By NAZANIN AGANGE, Staff Writer
City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and Councilman Eric Garcetti today showed their support for a bill that would allow communities to submit descriptions of the impact crimes have on their neighborhoods to court before a defendant is sentenced.
These “community impact statements” would work similarly to the statements victims of crimes submit for consideration in sentencing decisions, the author of Assembly Bill 2211, Assemblyman Jerome Horton, D-Inglewood, said.
At a press conference held in front of what Garcetti called a “Bates” motel—a reference to the classic horror film “Psycho”—the officials talked about giving communities a voice against crimes like drug dealing, graffiti, and prostitution which blight neighborhoods.
Frank Mateljan, a spokesman for Delgadillo, said the bill would work at a grass roots level, asking the community to organize their complaints in a statement to be considered by a judge.
He added that through neighborhood prosecutors and senior lead officers, community members would find a support network of help.
“It’s a collaborative effort to make certain that [the community’s] voice is heard,” Mateljan said.
“We all agree that victims should have a voice in the criminal justice process. But who are the victims of the Sunset Pacific Motel?”
He concluded that the motel victimized the “entire community” and said “the community deserves a voice in the prosecution of these crimes.”
Mateljan said Delgadillo “is looking forward to a day when our neighborhoods are empowered in one unified voice and will no longer be passive victims to debilitating crimes that plague our neighborhoods.”
Horton commented that “This bill will give community leaders, small businesses and residents a say in the system, it will allow communities the representation and voice they need and deserve. It will provide communities with a valuable tool in the frontal attack against such crimes as prostitution, drugs and gangs.”
Last month Garcetti introduced a motion for the City Council to support AB 2211 as part of the city’s legislative program. It was passed unanimously.
AB 2211 was passed unanimously in Assembly’s Public Safety committee last week. It awaits a vote on the Assembly floor.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company