Cooley Can't Hide Behind 'No Comment'June 5th, 2010
Constitutional law attorney and Republican candidate for Attorney General John Eastman made the following statement this morning:
"Today's Los Angeles Times article on the tragic case of the murder of 15-year old Alyssa Gomez shows the utter fallacy behind Steve Cooley's vision of 'Three Strikes.' And for a candidate who regularly brags about how tough he is to hide behind 'no comment' and refuse to defend his record on this case is an insult to the victim, her family, and to the voters of California. Far from being, as he says, the most qualified candidate for the office of Attorney General, today shows that Cooley is unfit to serve.
"As detailed in the article, career criminal Gilton Beltrand Pitre, who had previously been convicted of residential burglary and rape, murdered Gomez in 2007 just four days after being released from a 32-month prison sentence for a crime that could have and should have been prosecuted under 'Three Strikes." But acting under Cooley's orders, prosecutors in Los Angeles County did not charge Pitre under 'Three Strikes" when they had the chance. Instead of serving 25 years to life, Pitre served less than three. Four days after being released from prison, he added the murder of a teenage girl to his grisly resume.
"The whole point of 'Three Strikes' is that some criminals clearly cannot be rehabilitated, and society need not wait until the worst of the worst commit the most heinous crimes before locking them up for good. Gilton Beltrand Pitre is such a case. He never should have seen the streets again.
"The 'Three Strikes' law already contains prosecutorial discretion allowing prosecutors not to charge every potential third strike as such, but Cooley has gone further, requiring prosecutors to justify to him why they would ever prosecute a non-serious, non-violent felony offense as a third strike. According to working prosecutors, such permission is so rarely by Cooley given that many stop bothering to ask.
"Voters passed 'Three Strikes' and defeated efforts to weaken it. District Attorneys in 56 of 58 counties support 'Three Strikes' as is, and the California District Attorneys Association passed over Steve Cooley for President of their Association when he tried to go behind their back and weaken it. Even ultra-liberal San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris can run to the right of Steve Cooley on 'Three Strikes,' and he would be a disaster as our party's nominee."