Dan Schorr, the Republican candidate for Westchester County District Attorney, held a news conference today at the Westchester County Courthouse to condemn how DA Janet DiFiore’s handled the case of David Sanchez, who is serving five years in prison for brutally attacking his ex-girlfriend last year.
Sanchez, who was a psych patient at Sunset House in Thornwood, was dating one of the counselors there when one night, he held her captive in her own car, torturing her for hours and threatening to kill her. Sanchez was charged and later indicted for attempted murder and other felonies, but the DA’s office allowed him to plead to felony assault if he agreed to the five-year prison sentence. Read the story here.
The sentence was criticized by the victim in her written statement to the court, and blasted by those who read the story on LoHud.com. Schorr, a former domestic violence prosecutor, has been a consistent critic of what he describes as “easy plea bargains” handed out by the DA’s office and has taken other dispositions to task, such as the 8-year prison stint given to career criminal and prolific burglar Kahlil Gonzalez.
Janet DiFiore sent out a written statement defending her office’s decision by arguing that first-degree assault and attempted murder are equal under the law:
“This case was aggressively prosecuted. There was no reduced plea in this case. Mr. Sanchez plead guilty to assault in the first degree, a “B” violent Felony, the highest level of crime charged in his indictment. Assault in the first degree carries the same penalty as attempted murder and the same penalty that would have been imposed had Mr. Sanchez been found guilty after a trial. As Mr. Schorr must be aware, on top charge convictions, the Court makes sentence determinations, not the District Attorney’s office.”