LOS ANGELES - As newly elected LA District Attorney, George Gascón’s sweeping policy changes have some LA County Deputy DA’s and families of crime victims shocked and frustrated.
"This is not fair, this is not justice," says Michelle Scianni.
She is devastated to learn District Attorney Gascón is planning to drop some of the charges against 21-year-old Austin Redden. On May 13, 2019, detectives say Redden was driving under the influence of drugs and crashed into a tow truck. Scianni’s nephew, Jacob Scianni, was a passenger in the vehicle. He was killed in the crash and two other passengers also suffered severe injuries.
Attorney Sam Dordulian says this was Redden’s third DUI. He was facing special circumstance allegations that would have given him more time in prison but under Gascon’s new directives, prosecutors were in court on Friday to ask a judge to dismiss those extra allegations. It’s something the DA’s were reportedly not comfortable doing.
"They told me they completely disagree with everything they were asked to do, they felt they were in an ethical quandary because they don’t believe in it," Dordulian said.
He was in the Norwalk courtroom representing the family of Jacob Scianni when he says he witnessed Gascón’s special adviser Mario Trujillo approach the defense attorneys.
"In a voice loud enough for the DA’s to hear, he said ‘Mr. Gascón is very concerned and wants to be aware of everything that is said about this case and about the proceedings and he wants to make sure everyone follows the special directive." Dordulian says it was clear to everyone in the courtroom, especially the DA’s that it was meant as a threat.
"He was sending a message. There is no doubt in my mind. He said it in a loud enough voice and directed it to the defense attorney, letting his prosecutors know that, ‘we’re listening, we’re watching, do not say anything against us," said Dordulian.
FOX 11 reached out to Gascon’s office for comment but no one returned our calls.
The judge in this case, went against Gascon’s directive and refused to drop any of the special allegations. Dordulian says it was a relief for both the victim’s family and the prosecution.