Current News



Gavin Newsom is 'arrogant and defensive.' Fresno DA doubles down against California governor after shooting of California officer

Robert Rodriguez, The Fresno Bee on

Published in News & Features

FRESNO, Calif. — The war of words between California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Fresno County District Attorney Lisa A. Smittcamp was renewed Thursday with the local prosecutor using words like “arrogant” and “defensive” to describe the governor.

The verbal spat between the two erupted after Tuesday’s fatal shooting of Selma Police Officer Gonzalo Carrasco.

Smittcamp blamed the state’s prison reform efforts for allowing Carrasco’s alleged killer, a convicted felon named Nathaniel Dixon, 23, to be free after only serving six months of a five-year sentence.

Newsom responded to Smittcamp’s words during a Wednesday news conference by saying “she should be ashamed of herself and she should look in the mirror.”

Smittcamp doubled down on her comments Thursday, taking aim at what she calls the failed policies of the state’s criminal justice system, in the wake of Carrasco’s death.

“Governor Newsom continues to demonstrate his ignorance and lack of understanding of how the criminal justice system works.” Smittcamp said in a statement released Wednesday evening.

She also called Newsom the “biggest proponent of the early release of criminals and enhanced time credits for inmates and regulations allowing accelerated time credits to be arbitrarily granted to inmates when they are sentenced to prison.”

A spokesperson for the governor added that Smittcamp chose not to charge Dixon for his earlier crimes to the full extent of the law, which would have ensured that he spent decades in prison.

In 2020, Dixon pleaded no contest in two separate cases. In one case he was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm and in another case he was convicted of possession of a controlled substance while armed with a firearm. He was sentenced to a total of five years and four months in prison.


As part of a deal with prosecutors, three felonies — possession of a controlled substance while armed, carrying a loaded firearm in public and carrying a concealed firearm — were dropped in one case.

And in another case, four felonies were dropped, including possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, possession of a controlled substance while armed with a firearm, carrying a loaded firearm in public, and having a concealed weapon in a car. A misdemeanor charge of resisting a police officer was also dropped, according to court records.

While not responding specifically to why the charges were dismissed, Smittcamp on Thursday accused the governor of being “arrogant and defensive as proof positive that he is attempting to deflect responsibility for his failed policies.”

“But he also proves, once again, his lack of understanding of the sentencing structure and process in which criminal cases are handled in the Superior Courts of the State of California.”

Smittcamp invited the governor to her office to discuss his policies.

“Maybe if he would listen to real prosecutors, instead of supporting impostor DA’s, he may learn the true ramifications of his failed policies,” she said in her statement.

Dixon remains in custody and is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Fresno County Superior Court.

©2023 The Fresno Bee. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus