YOLO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Years after a local district attorney helped put multiple men behind bars, that same DA is asking a judge to take another look at their sentences.
Multiple men, who were teenagers at the time, were convicted in an assault that took place at a West Sacramento Lowe’s parking lot nearly a decade ago. The sentences — 20 years to life — were exactly what Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig wanted but not anymore.
Just as time passes and laws change, Reisig said he too has evolved.
“It was violent. It involved a gang attack and threats, and it was a very serious crime,” Reisig said. “Thorough review by all of us, we believe that they have earned a second chance.”
The two convicted men have been in prison ever since. While there, Reisig said he’s convinced those men have changed for the better.
“Have they gotten an education, have they received their GED, have they gone to some college, have they participated in rehabilitation and what kind of remorse have they shown for the crime? We look at everything,” Reisig said.
The reason the DA is able to ask a judge to re-sentence these particular inmates is because of a law that took effect back in 2019 granting DA’s in each county that ability.
It’s called the Prosecutor-Initiated Resentencing Law. Former San Francisco County Prosecutor Hillary Blout helped write it. Blout is now the founder and executive director of For the People, a nonprofit that assists California DA’s on the topic.
“Prosecutors are looking more at the person. They are looking at how has this person evolved, what were the drivers for the reason this person committed this crime to begin with, and how have these drivers been addressed,” Blout said.
Reisig said he will only pursue a resentencing case after getting the go-ahead from the family of any potential victims, adding that the opportunity to help a person from behind bars — if warranted — is the right thing to do.
“I just really believe in second chances, and I believe that there is an incentive to create for people who go to prison when they know this possibility is there for them,” Reisig said.
Reisig currently has three of these types of cases in the works. The one he discussed with FOX40 and another involving a then 15-year-old.
The judge said he will make his decision on Friday.