Victim Stories: Jamie S. - Gascon Must Go
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Victim Stories: Jamie S.

In 1991, when Jamie S. was 13 years old, she was kidnapped, raped and sodomized by Danny Brown while walking to her junior high school. Brown also kidnapped two other middle school students. Brown, who already had a prior record, was convicted by a jury of three counts of kidnap, nine counts of rape, one count of sodomy and one count of forcible sexual assault on a child under 14 and was sentenced to 107 years in prison. Because of elder parole, the defendant had a parole hearing. About one month before the parole hearing, Jamie S. received a letter from the prison notifying her of the parole hearing which started her reliving the nightmare all over again. Her 13-year-old self-resurfaced. All of the things she had suppressed came back with a vengeance. At the parole hearing when Jamie S. saw the man who kidnapped and raped her when she was 13, she started crying, ran out of the room and threw up. Despite this, she chose to continue on at the parole hearing so that the parole commissioners and the defendant would hear her voice and know how the defendant’s actions affected her life. Jamie is a survivor and wanted the Parole Board to know that Brown should never be released from prison. In addition to the unspeakable trauma from the inmate’s sexual assault, the circumstances of the parole hearing caused Jamie S. untold anxiety because of the absence of a prosecutor.

Defendants who have been convicted of murder or violent sex crimes are often sentenced to “Life.” Before a defendant who was sentenced to life can be released, there is a parole hearing to determine if the defendant still poses an unreasonable risk to public safety. Prosecutors from the county where the crime occurred attend and participate in parole hearings. Victims and families of murdered loved ones have an absolute right to attend the parole hearing. Inmates are provided an attorney, but Gascon does not allow prosecutors to attend parole hearings, so victims from Los Angeles County must attend these parole hearings alone. When prosecutors don’t participate in parole hearings, the parole grant rate is 8% higher. Because of youthful parole (Penal Code 3051) and elder parole (Penal Code 3055) most people are eligible for parole after only 20-25 years in prison unless they have a prior strike conviction or are convicted of Special Circumstances.