District Attorney Faces Backlash for Attempting to Drop Sentencing Enhancement in Dublin Double Murder Case

Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price has come under scrutiny for her office’s last-minute attempt to drop a crucial sentencing enhancement against former sheriff’s deputy Devin Williams, who stands accused of fatally shooting a Dublin couple in their home. The request to dismiss all sentencing enhancements was swiftly denied by an Alameda County judge due to its untimely submission, just moments before a significant evidentiary hearing was set to commence.

The judge’s decision brought relief to the Tran family, who mourn the loss of Maria and Benison Tran, the victims of the September 2022 tragedy. However, the family expressed disappointment in Price’s office for making such a maneuver, anticipating another attempt after the hearing concluded. A group of approximately two dozen family and friends of the couple attended the court proceedings, many donning shirts bearing Maria Tran’s image and the words, “Forever in our hearts.” Outside the courthouse, several individuals protested the potential move with signs criticizing Price’s alleged leniency towards murderers and demanding her recall.

Jennie Wong, one of Maria Tran’s sisters, issued a statement ahead of the hearing, denouncing Price’s attempt to eliminate a special circumstances enhancement that could result in Williams being imprisoned without the possibility of parole if convicted. Wong lamented the execution-style killing of the couple in front of their child and Maria Tran’s mother, leaving the child burdened with the traumatic memory for life.

In response, Price emphasized that Williams still faces a potential sentence of 50 years to life in prison, acknowledging the unimaginable tragedy suffered by the Tran family. She stated that no words could alleviate their pain and anger. Price further noted that Williams could potentially spend a lifetime behind bars.

The request made by Deputy District Attorney Edward “Ted” McGarvey, acting on instructions from the administration, was deemed a “travesty of justice” and an “insult” to the Tran family by their attorney, Chris Dolan. The request came shortly after Williams’ defense attorneys hinted at challenging the case based on the state’s Racial Justice Act. They presented data from the district attorney’s office, indicating a significant racial disparity in the application of the special circumstances enhancement, with a disproportionate number of Black defendants facing it.

It is worth noting that all the cases mentioned in the motion occurred during the tenure of former District Attorney Nancy O’Malley’s administration, with little information provided regarding charging practices under Price’s leadership.

This move by Price’s office comes as she faces a recall effort while working to reshape the East Bay’s justice system. Price has been accused of being too lenient on crime, particularly by not pursuing sentencing enhancements as frequently as her predecessor. However, she has defended her approach as a necessary step towards dismantling the systemic racism embedded in the criminal justice system and reducing mass incarceration. During her campaign, Price also emphasized her commitment to holding law enforcement officers accountable for any violations of the law.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

1 Response

  1. Wow, this is a really informative post. It’s important to shed light on cases like this where there may be questionable actions taken by public officials. The mention of Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price’s attempt to drop the sentencing enhancement is particularly concerning. It would be great if the post could provide more context or analysis on the potential implications of this decision and how it may impact the case. Overall, great job on bringing attention to this issue.

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