July 2020

Bill to Compel Gun Industry to Adopt New Safety Features Advances Jul 31, 2020

Legislation would strengthen Unsafe Handgun Act, making way for microstamping technology and new safety features

Sacramento, CA—On July 31 legislation sponsored by District Attorney Nancy O’Malley and authored by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) aiming to reduce gun fatalities by requiring the gun industry to produce handguns with greater safety features passed the Senate Public Safety Committee. Assembly Bill 2847 would strengthen the Unsafe Handgun Act (UHA) and open up the use of microstamping technology in order to solve firearm-related crimes. The bill is cosponsored by the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence.

“This law will have a direct and lasting effect in the fight to end gun violence. California’s cities and neighborhoods are plagued by shootings and AB 2847 provides a smart and realistic tool to identify firearms and prosecute gun crimes. The unique microstamp on each handgun will allow law enforcement and district attorneys to identify criminals and hold them accountable. It is imperative that we do all we can to stop the seemingly endless horror of gun violence in our state,” says DA O’Malley. “I thank Assemblymember Chiu for authoring this legislation as well as our cosponsors, the Brady Campaign.”

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Charges Filed Against Alameda County Sherriff’s Office Technician and Santa Rita Jail Inmate Jul 29, 2020

The two are alleged to have worked together to bring cell phone and drugs into the jail

On July 29 the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office filed multiple felony counts against ACSO Technician Shannon Taylor and Leonard Jones, an inmate at Santa Rita Jail. The criminal complaint stems from an extensive investigation revealing that defendant Taylor, on multiple occasions illegally brought a cell phone and methamphetamine into the jail and furnished it to defendant Jones. It is alleged that the two were working together- she furnishing the methamphetamine for him to sell in the jail and sharing in the proceeds of the sales.

“Shannon Taylor’s actions not only violate the law, but also the trust the public places in those working withing the justice system,” says District Attorney O’Malley. “My Office will ensure that both defendants are held to account. They not only broke the law, but also put the health and safety of inmates and staff at the jail at risk. It is deeply troubling that an employee of the Sheriff’s Office engaged in this degree of criminal conduct, and I commend the excellent investigation that uncovered the crimes.”

Leonard Jones is in custody awaiting trial on murder charges and is expected to be arraigned on this new case on July 31, 2020. Shannon Taylor was arrested on June 17, 2020. She is out of custody and expected to be arraigned on August 14, 2020.

A copy of the criminal complaint as well as the declarations of probable cause are attached here.

Misd. Sexual Assault Charges Filed Against Varghese Alengadan Jul 17, 2020

After an investigation by the Alameda Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office has filed one count of sexual battery against Varghese Alengadan, also known as Father George, a former priest at St. Joseph Basilica in the City of Alameda. The crime took place in July of 2019, and the victim is an adult.

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District Attorneys Join Forces Online to Prevent Child Abuse & Domestic Violence Jul 8, 2020

Human rights groups have named it the “shadow pandemic.” Aid organizations are scared for the well-being of victims. Prosecutors worry that domestic abusers will not be brought to justice.

“While the state-wide Shelter in Place order aims to slow the spread of COVID-19, an unintended but alarming consequence has emerged: adults and children suffering from abuse in the home find themselves trapped with their abuser, unable to report to and seek safety from the people and places they normally go,” says Alameda County DA Nancy O’Malley. “I am grateful for this unique partnership that will help some of our communities’ most vulnerable victims throughout the unprecedented crisis we now face.”

To combat this growing catastrophe, the District Attorneys of Alameda, Sacramento, and San Diego counties created a digital campaign aimed at both adult and child victims of interpersonal violence. The public awareness messages are visible on Facebook and other social media platforms; a new post made visible each day for two weeks, provide information on resources, helplines, and services vital to reporting abuse and escaping the violence.

The campaign also offers information for concerned friends, family or teachers on how someone can help to protect a loved-one who is confined in the same spaces with their abuser for prolonged periods of time due to COVID-19, limiting privacy and exacerbating threats to their safety.

During a public health crisis, when officials recommend social distancing to slow the spread of infection, many of the mechanisms usually relied on to identify and support victims of domestic violence and child abuse are unavailable and victims are even more isolated with perpetrators than usual, limiting their privacy and exacerbating threats to their safety. Tools available through social media provide opportunities to reach both victims and witnesses of this abuse with support and guidance on how to get help.

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