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The Fresno DA Blamed Newsom for a Police Death, but Facts Support Newsom’s Account



Facts indicate that Smittcamp's office made the decision that led to the release of Nathaniel Dixon, accused of killing police officer Gonzalo Carrasco Jr. in Selma. (GV Wire/Paul Marshall)
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Fresno District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp blamed Gov. Gavin Newsom for the early release of Nathaniel Dixon, accused of killing police officer Gonzalo Carrasco Jr. in Selma. However, facts indicate that Smittcamp’s office made the decision that led to Dixon’s release under AB109, a California law aimed at reducing the state’s prison population.

Smittcamp invited Newsom to listen to her lectures and learn from her. “I would love to have the governor come down here. So maybe if he would start listening to some of my lectures, he wouldn’t make so many mistakes.” said Smittcamp. The Fresno DA accused Newsom of having a “lack of understanding of how the criminal justice system works,” and claims AB109 is a threat to safety in California. However, AB109 was enacted in 2011 to address California’s overcrowded prison population and improve health care standards. It only allowed transfers and early releases for non-violent, non-serious felons, and Dixon, the accused murderer, had a past conviction for robbery but was sentenced for possession of a controlled substance and a firearm, not considered serious or violent felonies. Supporters of criminal justice reform argue that such laws have reduced crime rates in California. Newsom stated that the DA was trying to deflect responsibility for her own actions. Newsom says Smittcamp should be ashamed of herself.

Smittcamp’s office agreed to a plea deal with the suspect, who had a history of violent behavior, and reduced the charges against him, leading to his early release. Legal experts say Smittcamp’s decision led to the suspect’s release. A criminal defense lawyer suggests both sides stop throwing mud at each other.