Victim Stories: Louis Amela - Gascon Must Go
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Victim Stories: Louis Amela

On March 31, 2015, 17-year old Andrew Cachu shot Louis Amela in the back as Louis tried to stop another man trying to steal his bike. The defendant was charged in adult court, and a jury convicted the defendant of first-degree murder and second-degree robbery and also found the gun and gang allegations true. Cachu’s conviction and sentence was brought back after Gascon took office and Gascon directed that Cachu stay in juvenile court which resulted in his immediate release. Shortly after his release, Cachu was arrested after leading the police on a high speed pursuit endangering the public. He had a gun in his waistband and cocaine and methamphetamine in the car.

Most crimes committed by juvenile offenders are correctly prosecuted in juvenile court so they can receive rehabilitation, which is expected to cure their criminal behavior. The law, however, recognizes 30 violent crimes for which 16- and 17-year-olds can be prosecuted in criminal court. These crimes include murder, home invasion robbery, carjacking and aggravated sexual crimes. The legal mechanism to move a case from juvenile court to criminal court is for the District Attorney to conduct a transfer motion. Gascón states we should “treat kids like kids” and never prosecute them in criminal court. Juvenile jurisdiction ends when a person turns 25, so if they are not transferred to criminal court, they are released after serving only a few years in custody for violent crimes.

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