Pro-criminal DA strikes again: Judge forced to release a convicted killer who had 46 years left in prison

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LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon strikes again.

First, he removed the weapons enhancement charge for violent offenders.

Then, he made changes to the process of trying juveniles as adults, allowing the law to have an impact on cases heard well before the changes were enacted. 

Because of the retroactive nature of this policy, a convicted murderer is about to walk away a free man after serving just 4 years of a 50-year sentence.

Why? A string of technicalities, one which became a technicality after he was in prison for roughly 4 years. 

Andrew Cachu was tried as an adult for the March 2015 killing of 41-year-old Louis Amela. He was 2 months shy of his 18th birthday when he shot his victim twice in the back. He was not convicted until 2017, when he was 19.

Gascon has only been the DA for almost one year. 

Assistant DA Alisa Blair was representing the state in this hearing. She is just one of several members of Gascon’s team that has come under fire for anti-police rhetoric on social media. 

Thanks to the new requirements, enacted in 2021, Cachu was entitled to a hearing to determine whether he should remain incarcerated or be transferred to the juvenile system. 

In California, a juvenile cannot be held past the age of 25. The scheduled hearing was to determine if if Cachu would finish his 50-year sentence or be released at 25. 

The DA’s office referred Cachu to the juvenile system after evaluating the law related to the facts of the case and characteristics of the former minor.

Here is the breakdown. Because he was almost 18 in 2015, Cachu was tried as an adult. A new law passed (technicality #1) in 2021 allowed him to retroactively be reclassified as a juvenile. His original 50-year sentence is now only a 5-year sentence, of which he has already served more than 4.

Wait. It gets worse.

The juvenile system is designed to rehabilitate, not incarcerate. The DA’s office needed to show during the hearing that it had the programs necessary to assist Cachu in the rehab process, but there were apparently no witnesses who could provide that evidence (technicality #2). As such, the judge was forced to terminate the system’s jurisdiction over the murderer. 

Stay with us. We aren’t done yet. 

The probation system for the state has a similar requirement. They must also show an ability to provide programs to aid in the rehabilitation process of a “juvenile.” There were no witnesses to attest to those services either. 

Now Andrew Cachu, a convicted murderer, will be turned loose after serving 4 years of a sentence with no probation. 

Kathy Cady, an attorney for the victim’s family spoke of the decision. 

“The victim’s family is devastated and feels abandoned by the justice system. They feel that what has happened is not justice.”

As reported by the LA Daily News:

“Judge Brian Yep had no option to keep Cachu in custody because Blair didn’t present evidence showing what services were available to him through the state Division of Juvenile Justice, whose mission is to rehabilitate rather than punish young offenders, Cady said.

‘Being released with absolutely no services is not helping Cachu or the community,’ she said.”

As of this writing, Cachu is still being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, but his outright release is expected to happen in the next few days. 

Now, just when you thought it couldn’t get worse than it already was, we have bad news. Let’s rewind to May of 2021. 

According to the Daily News, Cachu’s mother, Bertha, had a conversation with her son. The audio is imbedded in their article. 

Bertha told Andrew that:

“A powerful ally had agreed to intervene on his behalf. That confidante was Alisa Blair, a special assistant to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, whose sweeping social justice directives have turned Southern California jurisprudence on its head.

‘That’s Gascon’s special adviser,’ Bertha Cachu explained to her son in a 20-minute recorded phone call obtained by the Southern California News Group. ‘Oh my God! She’s going to be coming in your case. Did you hear that, man? She’s good. She’s the one I’ve been emailing back and forth.

You need to be grateful that God has your back, Andrew. God has your back.

She continued: 

“She’s been studying your case, dude. Oh my God. And she looked at me like, ‘Girl, I got you.'”

Cady filed to have Blair involved in the hearing, given the relationship between the prosecutor and the convict’s family. 

One of the lead detectives in the case also witnessed the interactions between Blair and Ms. Cachu during the court proceedings. She signed a declaration of what she saw transpire.

“During court Blair went out into the hallway to call Defense Attorney Nadler. While in the hall I saw Blair interact with the mother of Cachu. In the courtroom I attempted to introduce myself to Blair as the handling detective on the case.

She scowled at me and turned and walked away. She did not interact with me any further during the duration of court day.

In court I observed Ms. Blair once again interact with the mother of Cachu. The victim’s family was introduced to the Judge in open court by Attorney Cady. Ms. Blair made no effort to communicate with the family of Amela at any point during the court day.

Ms. Blair introduced the suspect’s mother to the Judge in court. I observed Ms. Blair speaking with the Cachu’s mother in the courtroom and in the hallway. I heard Ms. Blair tell Cachu’s mother something to the effect of ‘Don’t worry, he will get out.'”

And people wonder why many of us believe that criminal justice “reform” is doing so much more harm than good.  This issue is not just in California. It is widespread.

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Criminal justice “reform”: Man with 13 prior arrests released by judge, then opens fire on police

HARTFORD, CT- Connecticut’s “criminal justice reform” appears to have cost a Hartford woman her life and came perilously close to also costing the life of a Hartford police officer.

WFSB-3 in Hartford reports police in the capital city have arrested a man who fired a gun at a city police officer early Tuesday morning.

 

The incident occurred at around 1:30 a.m. as an officer was conducting “routine” patrol in a parking lot on Main Street when a man walked up to her marked police cruiser.

The officer spoke with the man to find out if he required any type of assistance, and was in the process of calling for an ambulance when the suspect pulled out a gun and fired through the driver’s side window of the patrol vehicle. Police say the gunshot narrowly missed hitting the officer.

The cruiser’s window shattered, resulting in the officer sustaining cuts to her face. The officer, who was not identified was able to move her cruiser out of harm’s way, and the suspect fled the scene on foot.

Responding officers were able to catch up to the suspect, who was taken into custody. He has been identified as Jose Cajigas, 31, who’s been charged with criminal attempt to commit murder, criminal possession of a firearm, and unlawful discharge of a firearm. Police say they recovered a gun at the scene.

Hartford police say that Cajigas has a long criminal history, with thirteen prior arrests. He has also been identified by police as being a “person of interest” in a recent homicide in Hartford which occurred on Spring Street.

Police were able to match a casing found on the floor of the Hartford officer’s cruiser to casings found at the scene of the Spring Street murder on Monday, where a woman sustained fatal gunshot wounds.

He was last arrested on Oct. 15, where he was charged with violation of probation and other charges, and was also found to be in possession of another firearm. With some of the strictest gun laws in the country, it is unknown how a criminal was able to circumvent the tough Connecticut gun laws. It’s almost as if criminals don’t obey gun laws. 

Hartford police chief Jason Thody told reporters in a press conference Tuesday afternoon that the officer, a two year veteran, was transported to an area hospital for treatment of her injuries, the New Haven Register reported.

“This is a reminder that our officers put themselves in danger every single day,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. “This was an attack that could very easily have ended with an officer critically injured or killed.”

During the press conference, Thody released a statement as follows:

“This was an unprovoked attack on one of our officers that was trying to provide assistance to her attacker. It puts a spotlight on the dangers police officers face, even in some of the most routine situations.

“I am thankful that she showed bravery and quick-thinking to escape her attacker while keeping him in sight until her fellow officers could assist. All of the officers involved did an outstanding job in taking a dangerous individual into custody, making our community a safer place, and ensuring that all of our officers went home safe at the end of the shift.”

“We are incredibly grateful and incredibly lucky that she is okay physically. This was an attack that could easily have ended with an officer critically injured or killed. It is clear that the intent of this individual who committed this crime was to kill one of our officers,” Bronin added.

Law Enforcement Today has learned from a source that Cajjgas’s arrest on October 15 involved a number of warrants held by police, and also for questioning in an unsolved homicide.

The source, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the arrests, said the operation to take Cajigas into custody was undertaken by officers from several jurisdictions.

As officers attempted to take him into custody, Cajigas fought with police and was reaching for a gun concealed in his waistband, with a number of officers on top of him attempting to restrain him. Thankfully, no officers were injured.

Cajigas had in his possession over 50 bags of fentanyl, cocaine, and PCP, in addition to the firearm, which he did not have a permit to carry. After he was restrained, he told officers he had planned to shoot them if he had gained control of the gun. This was confirmed by our source.

Thankfully in neither one of these incidents no officer was seriously hurt. This is just a microcosm of the risks police take every day. Moreover it is another example of failed policies in blue states and cities. How many people will it take to get seriously injured or killed before state legislatures start to take our safety and security seriously?

For more on Connecticut’s police “reform” we invite you to read one of our reports on some of the proposals. 

DIG DEEPER

THIS IS THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF ARTICLES ABOUT POLICE “REFORM” IN CONNECTICUT

HARTFORD, CT – Things are about to get very ugly for police officers across the country.

No, we are not talking about getting assaulted, stabbed, run over, shot or killed. We are talking about politicians who know nothing about police work making knee-jerk decisions based on something that happened a thousand miles away in Minneapolis.

In Connecticut, the state legislature has proposals on the table that not only will tie the hands of police officers, but will lead to officers dying. And this isn’t just happening in Connecticut…it’s happening in legislatures across the country.

Elliott Spector, Esq. is an attorney who has been involved with law enforcement in one form or another for nearly 50 years. He served as Civil Litigation Officer with the Hartford, CT Police Department and investigated over 100 civil liability claims.

In addition, Spector has represented hundreds of police officers in misconduct cases, which includes 15 appellate decisions. The idea of misconduct avoidance training was conceived by him, and he created liability training that is a POST requirement in Connecticut, and has trained over 30,000 officers.

He has served in an advisory capacity for numerous police agencies in the state, and has worked on projects related to misconduct for the DOJ/NIJ, the FBI and the DEA.

In other words, he knows about that of which he speaks. I have personally had the honor of attending numerous trainings and seminars conducted by Spector.

Attorney Spector has looked at proposals put forth for police reform in Connecticut and has some valid concerns, as anyone who works in law enforcement or is even an objective observer would upon reviewing them.

Spector has some guidelines which he suggests legislators consider prior to implementing draconian reforms that will tie the hands of police in Connecticut in a dangerous way.

  • Criticism of police has accelerated since 2008, with the past two months being particularly bad;
  • The attacks on police have perpetuated a myth that police are racists who commit acts of brutality and shoot innocent people or engage in unlawful use of deadly force, the perception being that this is an epidemic and in need of major reforms;
  • The pandemic has shown that conduct must be carefully analyzed and decisions must be based on facts, not on uneducated opinions;
  • Government officials should rely on evidence before drawing conclusions and recommending change;
  • The committee should consider relevant law, incidents that have been fully investigated and reviewed by professionals, and/or juries and/or courts, and utilize credible statistics;
  • The committee should NOT consider opinions, allegations, and/or one sided anecdotes not supported by full investigations
  • Recommendations made should include: 
    • What is the evidence supporting the assumption that the particular problem requires change?
    • Is there proof of a need for change and what is the cost benefit analysis?
    • Is there evidence that the recommendation has already been enacted?
  • All effects of the recommendation must be weighed, including negative;
  • The committee needs to explain the basis for the change as well as the anticipated benefit
  • Most importantly, the committee should focus specifically on Connecticut policing.

Now, I worked in law enforcement for 31 years and I can unequivocally say that police brutality, abuse and illegal use of force are extremely rare, even more so now that there are body cams, in-car cameras, and of course everyone has an iPhone.

By and large, police use of excessive force is rare. So is racial profiling, which at least in Connecticut has been found to be largely non-existent.

What is the effect of accusing police unnecessarily of these tactics? What happens when people hear from their “leaders” that police are abusive thugs intent on targeting them?

  1. Lack of trust- Spector notes that when people do not trust or respect the police, cooperation is less likely and people are hesitant to cooperate with the police. Think “snitches get stitches.” Policing requires the cooperation of the community since police cannot be all places at all times.
  2. Fewer quality applicants- honestly, with the criticism and outright hatred being directed at police officers, why would anyone want to become a cop? Especially the higher quality, better educated ones? In a day and age when police are trying to recruit minority applicants, videos of people (generally young, white college-age students) berating officers of color is not helpful.
  3. Police will cease being proactive. Some states, Connecticut being one of them, wants to prohibit police from stopping vehicles for equipment violations. This could lead to accidents due to unsafe vehicles being on the road.
  4. Anti-police sentiment is putting police in danger. This year, over thirty police officers have been feloniously killed with firearms. That number increased just this week with the death of yet more police officers. Growing contempt across all quarters will lead to additional attacks on officers.

In the early 1990’s, there was a push toward community policing, and the San Jose model directed police toward a “broken windows” theory of policing, the thought being that if the quality of life crimes are dealt with, more serious crimes might be avoided. Clearly, this thought process worked as crime fell through the 1990’s and into the 2000’s.

Now, there is some controversy about the concept of “stop and frisk,” and we won’t deal with that here. However just a few incidents in other parts of the country, such as Minneapolis and Ferguson have painted Connecticut officers with the broad brush of being racists hunting down African Americans. This is simply not true.

The truth is important, and the truth needs to get out to citizens of Connecticut. Spector notes that going back 50 years gives a pretty good snapshot of policing in Connecticut and permits some conclusions to be drawn based on data and information.

The Washington Post reported that there have been an average of 989 police shooting deaths per year between January 2015 to December 2019. Nearly all of the intentional shooting cases where deaths occurred involved a combination of factors, including criminal activity of the subjects, being armed with deadly weapons or dangerous instruments, attacking police officers or others, or acting in a manner that would lead a reasonable person to believe they are about to cause serious injury or death.

A fair assessment to make is to compare police, who have to make life and death decisions sometimes in literally split seconds, with another endeavor where life and death decisions must be made.

Spector noted that a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University over an eight-year period found that more than 250,000 deaths per year are a result of medical errors. That is one-quarter of a million people who die annually due to medical errors.

What is the difference? Often times, when police are faced with those decisions the life at risk is either theirs or an innocent third party. The medical professionals themselves are not at risk.

Another consideration? Doctors, nurses and other medical personnel have time to consult, research and consider alternatives. Police enjoy no such luxury. They must act, often times merely on instinct and in split seconds.

So what of people who die of medical errors? It is a fair assumption to say that people who die from such errors are not all white, but rather are from various races and ethnic backgrounds. So, every year, 250,000 innocent people die from medical errors or malpractice. It is fair to say a good number of those are minorities.

Police critics argue that some shootings might be avoided, but 20/20 hindsight sometimes provides alternatives that police may have undertaken to avoid shooting, however in a vast majority of cases, police use of force is found to be justified.

Even if we take this to an illogical conclusion, that every police shooting is unlawful and it is continued at the present rate, the number of shooting deaths in this century would be equal to the number of medical errors in just five months. Simply put, it is not a crisis. When was the last time you saw a riot, or politician rail on television about medical malpractice? A needless death is a needless death, no matter the cause.

In the medical profession, if a racial or ethnic minority dies, is it automatically assumed it is due to some type of bias? Clearly not. However police are automatically assumed to use deadly physical force to target minorities. This is not supported by the facts, but it makes a good excuse to create civil unrest or give anti-police politicians a reason to call for reform.

There are probably areas in policing in Connecticut that could use a little bit of tweaking but throwing out the baby with the bath water makes little sense. Specific, targeted problem areas should be addressed, not burning the whole system down and trying to rebuild it. For what?

Spector spoke of Glenn Loury, an African American economics professor from Brown University. He speaks to the “empty thesis or racism” that takes away from real problems, or more accurately distracts the masses from true problems in the black community.

Loury said: “There are approximately 330 million people in the United States, and there are many tens of thousands of encounters between police and citizens every day.

We take half a dozen, admittedly outrageous, disturbing incidents of police violence and we form this into a general account of how people are treated. I think that’s dangerous,” he said in City Journal.

Loury rightly says that the people who come in conflict with the police is usually dependent on the frequency with which they attract police attention.

“Criminal behavior is not equally distributed across all population groups. African Americans are overrepresented in prison because they commit more acts that can be punished with prison. The main threat to the quality of life of people living in black areas is the criminal behavior of their fellow citizens, most of whom happen to be black.

“Black people in American cities are victims of rape, robbery, and murder to a significant degree, and the perpetrators are almost always black.

“The protection of life and property is the most important task of the state, and many African Americans cannot feel safe in their homes. The police are part of the solution to this problem. Black people need the police more than other people do.”

There is plenty of evidence available that supports what Professor Loury says. Aside from the two most recent cases of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, one needs to go back years in order to find cases of tragic police encounters, and in all of them, all investigated by President Obama’s Justice Department, police were found to have acted properly or there was insufficient evidence to proceed against the officers, or outright acquittals or dismissals.

Unfortunately, this year we have a presidential election and it not too much of a stretch to believe that much of what is currently going on is motivated by politics instead of rational thinking. Indeed, if you look at those who are supporting the police and the rule of law, it is overwhelmingly Republicans.

At the same time, there has been nary a Democrat who has spoken out against the explosion of violence in our major cities, assault and shootings of police officers, and even young children, including those as young as one-year-old being killed in our cities.

All one has to do is listen to Democrats speak and the heretofore call to “defund the police” has been changed, almost as if a miracle to “reimagine the police,” which has been repeated chapter and verse by Democrats over the past week. Because “reimagine” doesn’t sound as radical as “reimagine,” but both are means to the same end.

Democrats and anti-police critics cite hyperbole that police are “hunting down black men” on the street and shooting unarmed and innocent people. In fact, in 2019, according to the Washington Post, ten unarmed black men were shot and killed by police, and in five of those cases officers were found to have acted improperly. Five African Americans killed in a year would constitute a quiet weekend in Chicago (and now New York and Philadelphia, as well as other cities).

When taken in context, comparing the number of police encounters with the public to the cases where officers use unreasonable force, the number is miniscule. Given the minor number of such incidents, engaging in major, draconian police reforms seems to be ill advised and impulsive.

Because the people with the loudest voices are demanding action, legislators feel that something “has to be done.” This is akin to your car needing an oil change, so you go out and buy a new vehicle because you don’t want to maintain it. It’s pretty much the same thing.

Spector notes that over the past six years there have been seven wrongful deaths or other fully investigated and reviewed cases, and challenges members of the Connecticut Task Force to identify those where officers had a discriminatory motive. Likewise, it is prudent to note that during that same six years, over one million police officers have encountered likely one billion or more incidents while making 60 million arrests, and also responding to millions of violent incidents.

Yet, out of all of those encounters, the number of wrongful deaths…fully adjudicated cases…numbered seven. With the number of encounters each year between the police and citizens, including persons of color, the number of questionable incidents is infinitesimal.

One issue has been social media, where videos of incidents are taken and where full context of the encounter is not shown. The most recent incident in Detroit is a clear illustration of this. Had the Detroit police not released video footage of the incident, it would have appeared that they shot this man in the back, when in fact the video evidence showed him pointing his gun at police and appearing to fire at least two shots. If only cherry-picked social media footage were shown, these officers could very well have ended up in the same place as the two officers in Atlanta.

This is why the only incidents that should be considered are those which have been, as Spector notes, fully investigated and/or adjudicated. Anything short of that provides incomplete information. The Freddy Gray case in Baltimore clearly illustrates that point, where District Attorney Marilyn Mosby, in trying to appease the mob, overcharged six officers, who were all either acquitted or had their charges dismissed. This was done for nothing less than clearly, partisan reasons.

The nasty little secret about this war on police is two-fold. One, officers are less likely to engage with the public out of fear of being either assaulted or killed, or nearly just as bad being subject to trumped up charges from an overzealous District Attorney such as Paul Howard in Fulton County Georgia.  

Secondly, you see police departments being defunded, or as in New York City, their undercover anti-crime squad was disbanded, resulting in an explosion in violent crime in the city. Police officers are also going out with a target on their backs, with hundreds of officers being assaulted, some critically.

Already in 2020, over thirty officers have been shot and killed. This number has increased exponentially in the past seven weeks. Police officers are husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers. They want to go home to their families. And they know the politicians have not their backs, but those of criminals.

Tomorrow, we will address the issue specifically in Connecticut and look at some of the proposals being put forth to change policing in Connecticut…and not in a good way.


Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.


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