Judge Rejects Gascón’s Back Door Plea Deal

At a December 15 preliminary hearing in Los Angeles, a top advisor for the newly elected District Attorney George Gascón, offered a plea deal giving an alleged gang murderer 7 years in prison.  Bill Melugin of Fox 11 reports that a transcript of the hearing indicates that Mario Trujillo, a special advisor to Gascón, went behind the back of the Deputy District Attorney assigned to the case, offering a plea deal to the defense attorney of seven years with no enhancements or special circumstances.   When the deputy prosecutor assigned to the case announced that under a special directive issued by Gascón, the DA’s office would not be seeking any sentencing enhancements or special circumstances in the interest of justice, the judge questioned the interest of justice behind reducing the murderer’s sentence.  The deputy replied, “I believe that it is the new D.A.’s position……that extended prison sentences in Los Angeles county are far too long;  that they are costly and ineffective and harm people in underserved communities.”

Later in the hearing, the defense attorney announced a plea bargain that would result in the defendant receiving a 7-year prison sentence.  “Who did the offer come from?” asked the judge.   “Mr. Trujillo,” the defense attorney replied.  “Trujillo?  I don’t know who that is,” said the judge.  It turns out that Trujillo had told the defense attorney that he would be prosecuting the case without informing the court, the deputy assigned to the case or the supervising deputy.  Learning this, the judge put the hearing over until December 28.  At that hearing the supervising deputy told the judge the any offer made by Trujillo is invalid because it never went through his office.  “Mario Trujillo bypassed all of that…..never once called the DA that’s actually prosecuting the case.”  Learning this the judge said, “It’s a good thing….because there is no way I could look at myself in the mirror with a plea bargain of seven years on this case.”

The case of People v. Rudy Dominguez, involves a gang member (Dominguez) facing charges of first degree murder and attempted murder, for a 2016 gang retaliation shooting which killed 26-year-old Fernando Rojo, after mistaking him for a member of a rival gang that killed one of their members.  With special circumstances and enhancements for the use of a gun,  Dominguez could be sentenced at minimum to 50-years to life and a maximum to life without parole, in any county outside of Los Angeles.    


1 Response

  1. Bill Otis says:

    Is Trujillo even a lawyer? It’s not clear to me that he is, although it could turn out that he is. If he isn’t, he could be prosecuted for practicing law without a license. He also could, and should, be called before the court to explain his behavior and, if his explanation is unsatisfactory, suspended from practice in that court and subjected to discipline by the bar.