Where is the justice?

Jeff vonKaenel

On her reelection signs all around town, Sacramento District Attorney Anne Maria Schubert has the words, “Tough. Fair. Independent.” The missing word is “Justice,” which makes sense, since that has been so absent in her last three years in office.

Where was the justice when Schubert filed felony “lynching” charges against black activist Maile Hampton for allegedly grabbing a friend who was in police custody, during a January 2015 protest against improper use of force by law enforcement?

Where was the justice when Schubert failed to file charges against Sacramento police officers John Tennis and Randy Lozoya, who arrived at a scene that was under control and then tried to run over Joseph Mann before shooting him dead? Her opinion stated that “Officers Tennis and Lozoya were justified in shooting Mann to defend themselves and each other, to protect the public from imminent harm, and to prevent the escape of a suspected felon who posed a significant threat of death or serious bodily injury to others.” This opinion may be blind, but it certainly is not justice.

Where was the justice when Schubert decided not to file charges against Sacramento police officer Anthony Figueroa, who punched an alleged jaywalker 18 times, because she felt it was “not reasonably likely a jury would convict either Officer Figueroa or Nandi Cain of a criminal offense related to this incident”? Cain, the alleged jaywalker, received a half-million dollar settlement from the city last week.

The lack of an assured conviction did not stop Schubert from filing felony assault charges against Sean Thompson for smearing Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson with a cream pie. The homeless activist clearly got the raw end of the deal as the former NBA All-Star retaliated by repeatedly hitting Thompson. The jury did not convict.

Where is the justice for the hundreds of Sacramento residents who’ve sat in jail over the last three years, not because they have been convicted of a crime, but because they cannot make bail? Schubert is actively opposing bail reform.

Where is the justice for those who suffer because of a landlord who does not obey housing law, or an employer who cheats employees of their wages? Schubert has not made these types of crimes a priority.

Much of the public outrage we are seeing in our city’s streets today is due to Schubert’s past choices. It appears to many that the District Attorney has one law book for people with badges and another for the poor and for community activists.

Before the Stephon Clark murder, Schubert was seen as a sure winner. Although she is a Republican, many local Democrats endorsed her. That was then, and this is now. We as a community need to come together. We cannot come together with Schubert as our district attorney. Only a few days after the Clark killing, she received $13,000 in political donations from two police unions.

Those who have endorsed Schubert need to un-endorse her. One cannot look the demonstrators in the eye and say, “We need to change policing in Sacramento, but we are supporting Schubert.” It is not believable. A vote for Schubert will ensure that we will not have justice in Sacramento. And without justice, there cannot be peace.

Noah Phillips has just become a viable candidate. Most importantly, justice should always be a viable candidate.

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About the Author

Jeff vonKaenel
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.