DA Staff Honored for Restorative Justice Case

Recently, SEEDS Community Resolution Center honored DA Nancy O'Malley, Deputy DA Colleen Clark, and Victim-Witness Advocate Yuen Chiang with the Community Partner Award.

The DA's Office reached out to SEEDS to facilitate a case involving a drug-related DUI in Berkeley. All parties were on board with pursuing this course of action and actively participated in discussions. DDA Clark was able to resolve the matter in a way that satisfied both the victim and defendant, and it was approved by the judge in late March.

The award was presented at their gala, in recognition of their commitment to pursuing alternative methods to reach a fair and just outcome that benefits all parties and facilitates healing.

Facts of the case

On February 2, 2016, Defendant Berwick Haynes was driving in Berkeley on Fulton Street near Bancroft when he hit cyclist Dr Megan Schwarzman. The force of the impact knocked the victim from her bike, and she was run over by the front passenger tire of the defendant’s car. Not realizing what had occurred, Defendant Berwick kept driving, dragging Dr Schwarzman under the car. Witnesses were yelling and signaling Defendant Berwick to stop.

Berkeley Fire Department responded and were able to extricate the victim from under the car. Dr Schwarzman suffered life-threatening injuries and was rushed to Highland Hospital to undergo emergency surgery.

Defendant Berwick admitted smoking marijuana prior to the crash. He failed the field sobriety tests and submitted to a blood test that confirmed the presence of THC in his system.

Since the accident last year, Dr Schwarzman has made a remarkable recovery from her injuries.

This case was resolved using restorative justice and facilitated by Berkeley-based SEEDS. This method was a cooperative process that involved mediation and community-based conferences to discuss the dangers of driving under the influence and to arrive at an outcome that is suitable to all parties involved.

Posted on Apr 3, 2017