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D.A. not pressured

Posted: May 1, 2009 9:52 p.m.
Updated: May 2, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Your "Mexican consulate forces deal in ID theft case" article (March 20) inaccurately portrays the Los Angeles County District Attorney's handling of the 54 identity theft cases resulting from a search warrant at L&M Optical.

You were correct in asserting that the District Attorney's Office received a letter from the Mexican Consulate, but you did not accurately report the tenor of the letter. The letter was a request that our office find a way to bring justice with compassion.

It did not apply pressure on the District Attorney's Office to reach any particular disposition.

The gravamen of the defendants' crimes was the unlawful use of another person's identification to obtain a benefit. The legislature has deemed that the charged crimes involving identity theft may be pursued as either misdemeanors or felonies.

The dispositions reached in the 54 cases were in accord with existing District Attorney Office policy.

In each case, the decision as to the appropriate level of the offense (felony or misdemeanor) was made after considering the individual defendant's criminal background, severity of the criminal act, and the strength or weakness of evidence present to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Quite simply, correspondence from the Mexican Consulate in no way affected any of these factors.

Although some may disagree with the sentences imposed, such persons should be aware that the dispositions were reached after thoughtful consideration of multiple factors.

The defendants were sentenced in compliance with California law as well as Los Angeles County District Attorney policies already in place to ensure just results for all parties involved.


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