FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The heated back and forth between Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp and Governor Gavin Newsom entered the next round of verbal jabs Thursday.
Smittcamp responded to Newsom – after he inferred during a recent news conference that she has to bear part of the blame for the Selma shooting due to a botched prosecution of the suspect in a previous trial.
Newsom said Smittcamp failed to charge 23-year-old Nathaniel Dixon properly for his prior offenses and that he should have spent decades behind bars.
On Thursday, Smittcamp told us that the governor is misinformed.
“For the governor to come out and say that he was facing decades in prison, it’s just ignorance. It’s not true. It’s incorrect information. And I don’t know how to say that politely. So I just say it frankly. And you know, I think we all know what this is. This is political grandstanding,” said Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp.
Smittcamp initially came out after officer Carrasco’s death with a statement that read in part:
“Every legislator in the state of California who supports this over-reaching phenomenon they try to disguise as legitimate criminal justice reform, has the blood of this officer on their hands.”
When asked for a response, Newsom delivered an explosive reaction of his own.
“She should blame herself. I’ve been listening to this for years from her. She has the prosecutorial discretion. Ask her what she did in terms of prosecuting that case. I’m sick and tired of being lectured by her on public safety. Sick and tired. So with all due respect to her statement, she should be ashamed of herself and she (should) look in the mirror,” he said.
Newsom’s team followed it up further, providing us with this statement:
“After initially charging the suspect with 10 offenses, the Fresno DA agreed to a plea agreement with only 2 charges that carried a sentence of 5 years and 4 months. He was not convicted for his violent conduct at the time of his arrest, during which he had two illegal loaded guns in his car, he lunged at an officer and tried to grab the officer’s firearm, and forcefully resisted arrest. At the time of his crimes he was also under a domestic violence restraining order and had recently failed on probation for a prior strike conviction — an armed robbery with a deadly weapon the year before.”
Smittcamp says 98% to 99% of court cases end in plea deals like this one. Dixon was behind bars from August 2020 to September 2022. He was released due to credits for time served – and Assembly Bill 109.
“He’s out because he has the benefit of all of these newfound time credits,” said Smittcamp. “For Gavin Newsom to try to purport that he is not a fan of early release from prison. It’s mind-boggling to me. I can’t come up with an intelligent response.”