December 6, 2017

DA Violates Mary's Law and Suffers Reversal of Law Todd Spitzer Co-Wrote and Led for California


Orange County – December 6 – After a desperate attempt by DA Rackauckas to rectify another botched case, a judge ordered the re-sentencing of a drunk driver who only received the low term state prison sentence in a hit-and-run offense with serious injuries because of gross prosecutorial error. The misconduct occurred because of the lax training by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas who allowed his prosecutors to disregard the California Constitution that governs a victim’s rights during a prosecution. The Constitutional Amendment, commonly referred to as Marsy’s Law, was managed and co-authored by then-Assemblymember Todd Spitzer. Despite being on the books since 2008, Tony Rackauckas violated Marsy’s Law, which allows crime victims the legal right to be heard upon their request at court hearings.


In this matter, the victim’s mother, Bonnie Masters-Weber, asserted her rights, submitted a victim impact statement at the arraignment and was told the DA would protect both her rights and those of her daughter. Unfortunately, none of that occurred.


During the legal hearing to reverse the unlawful sentence, Bonnie Masters-Weber, the victim’s mother said, “The DA failed us.”


She continued, “The California constitution guarantees us the right to be heard and be part of this. That was taken away from us.”


None of this is new or surprising. The OC Grand Jury referred to District Attorney Tony Rackauckas as running the office with a "failure of leadership" and practicing as a "a lazy law firm". (Orange County Grand Jury, June 2017). Rackauckas’ response in this case was to blame poor training of his deputies - an excuse he’s used too many times before. Enough is enough.


Long-time victims’ rights advocate Todd Spitzer stated, “I am dismayed by Rackauckas’ disregard for the victim, Jessica Weber, a college student with her whole life ahead of her. Rackauckas showed Jessica no respect under the law and did not protect her constitutional rights. Yet he runs all over the country touting victims’ rights when he should stay in his office and protect his own victims from re-victimization.”


“In 2012, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court reversed yet another case when Rackauckas’ poorly trained deputies failed to consult the victim or allow the victim to address the court. It’s no surprise that a recent study released by Harvard Law School found the current District Attorney is the worst in California for conviction reversals.”


Spitzer continued, “You don’t get a second chance to protect victims’ rights. As the Orange County District Attorney, I will stop at nothing to fight for crime victims. I will appoint and hire a real and experienced Victims’ Ombudsman, not a mouthpiece, to ensure that all crime victims’ issues and complaints are researched and followed through so that all crime victims are served. Prosecutors will receive regular training on crime victims’ issues and will be required to respond to crime victims’ inquiries in a reasonable time frame.”


Because of his proven track record protecting victims, numerous leading victims’ rights advocates endorse Spitzer including Crime Victims United of California, California’s leading crime victims’ voice, as well as Patricia Wenskunas, Founder and CEO of Crime Survivors, Inc.


Rackauckas has repeatedly earned the disrespect of crime victims throughout his career. In another high profile botched case of Orange County’s worst mass murder, Rackauckas repeatedly ignored the crime victims. Paul Wilson, husband of Christy Lynn Wilson who was murdered, constantly reminds us of Rackauckas failure, words we must never forget:


“Families of the victims from the Salon Beach massacre have been left to suffer by Tony Rackauckas who has failed to bring justice for the victims.”


Read the full article of Jessica’s case here:

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