In an astonishing article today, San Mateo DA Steve Wagstaffe tells KCBS that his office is really on top of things when it comes to honoring crime victims and Marsy's Law. Tell that to the family who sued his office and prosecutor Melissa Mckowan in a highly publicized molestation case for violating their Marsy's Law rights in 2010.
Tell that to two parents of Ayres victims whose rights were violated. In 2009, the attorney for a family of a victim wrote to Mckowan, asking that they be notified of each and every hearing in the Ayres case. They were never contacted. And the prosecutor never contacted an in-statute Ayres victim or his mother, in the past four years about the case and never told them he wouldn't be testifying again.
To that end, they are astonished that Wagstaffe would claim the following to KCBS today:
In response to this special series, San Francisco’s presiding judge and the state’s chief justice are both recommending reforms. KCBS has also learned that one Bay Area prosecutor, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, is taking it even one step further – training his attorneys to observe a victim’s Marsy’s rights even if the victim doesn’t ask for them to be honored.
KCBS Cover Story Series: Marsy’s Law
“We try to comply with it in every case that we can, whether or not there’s a request,” he explained. “It does not take a request for us to do it, let’s try and make it happen in every case.”
According to Wagstaffe, so few victims invoke their rights under Marsy’s Law that he wants the attorneys in his office to act as if those rights are automatic, if not outright mandatory.