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April 2016
 
Victim Tribute Ceremony
From the Desk of the DA

National Crime Victims' Rights Week
 
The Yolo County District Attorney's Office held it's 10th Annual Crime Victim Tribute Ceremony on April 14, 2016.  The tribute is held each year during the National Crime Victims' Rights Week.   This year's theme  "Serving Victims. Building Trust. Restoring Hope."  is the heart and soul of the focus of our Victim Services Division and it underscores the importance of early intervention and serving victims where they are.  

While all crime victims were honored and remembered at the tribute, there were a select few survivors who were recognized for their perseverance and resiliency during the criminal justice process.  It takes great courage to stand a face the person who caused you harm.  
2016 Victim Tribute Awardees
Honoring Our Victims

At this year's Victim Tribute Ceremony Christine Ward, Executive Director of I-CAN & Director of CVAA, presented the moving key note speech.  She spoke of two times that she was a victim of crime and her experience through the process.   She commended the Yolo County District Attorney for the excellent service that is provided to Yolo County crime victims.

Honorees included:

Craig Ruport was attacked in a neighborhood dispute and had to fend off his knife-wielding attacker. Many people, including children, watched this frightening attack. Mr. Ruport cooperated with law enforcement and prosecution which aided in a conviction and hopefully a safer neighborhood.

John Vickers suffered a loss of nearly $12,000 dollars after two young men stole his car and vandalized his property. He is finally able to be recognized as a victim of a crime and not overlooked as someone who was just involved in a property crime issue.

 Asaida Martinez-Marin was brutally attacked by her boyfriend and pretended to lose consciousness in hopes the assault would stop. Eventually she was able to escape and get help from a neighbor who called the police. She showed courage in reporting the crime and assisted the DA’s office in successfully prosecuting the defendant.

Bob Morales' mother, Darlene Morales, was killed in a tragic collision due to a defendant with a history of epilepsy who should not have been driving. This defendant crashed his car on prior occasions and knew he should not be driving. Bob and his family came to nearly every court appearance and were extremely patient even after many court continuances.

The hero of the year award was given to David Barbosa for his heroic actions at the scene of the murder of Leslie Pinkston.  Not only did he call 911 to report the crime, he stayed with Leslie and comforted her in her last moments on this earth.  He then testified at the grand jury proceeding and trial against her murderer.  At the tribute ceremony, a letter written to David by Leslie's mother, Carla Crane, was read.

By: Wendy Wilcox, YCDA Administration
Child Abuse Prevention
 
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month; a period of time to recognize the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse. The Yolo County District Attorney's Office not only has services for child abuse, but also is a participant in the steering committee for Yolo County Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children or CSEC.  Child sexual exploitation is the sexual abuse of minors through the exchange of sex or sexual acts for drugs, basic necessities, such as shelter or food, and/or money. When most Americans hear the words "sex trafficking," they tend to think of it as an international problem. However, about 100,000 US children are sold into human trafficking every year and California is known to have three of the nation's 13 highest child sex trafficking areas in the nation: Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco.

Deputy District Attorney Tiffany Susz, who works in the Special Victims Unit, spoke about how the Yolo County District Attorney's Office is fighting against child abuse by prosecuting offenders. She discussed the Yolo County CSEC Committee and the multi-disciplinary team that come together when a potential case comes along. Even if the Yolo County District Attorney's Office is not able to bring about a prosecution, there are still many services offered to victims. Not only does the CSEC Committee assist victims of crimes, it also serves potential, at risk victims, and aims to provide resources to prevent child trafficking.

By: April Hoffman, YCDA Communications
National Denim Day
 
April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Our office showed support for victims of sexual assault everywhere by wearing denim.   Denim Day is a national effort that stemmed from the gross injustice against a rape victim in Italy whose perpetrator's verdict was overturned because it was deemed that her jeans were too tight so they could not have been forcibly removed, therefore making her a willing participant. This caused an international uproar thus creating Denim Day when people wear denim to show support for sexual assault victims and protest the perceptions that surround the topic of sexual assault.

By: April Hoffman, YCDA Intern
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