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New Times / Letter To The Editor

The following article was posted on February 13th, 2013, in the New Times - Volume 27, Issue 29 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 27, Issue 29

Remember 'justice for all' in Sarna's case

San Luis Obispo

Jim Griffin

By now people should be familiar with the case of Austin Sarna from reading the fine New Times articles by Matt Fountain (most recently “SLO stabbing defendant to fight charges,” Jan. 31).

Sarna came to the assistance of a young man being attacked by a gang of admittedly drunken local hooligans near Mission Plaza last January. According to Sarna, he brandished a knife after being threatened himself by the thugs, and then used the knife after being attacked, kicked, and beaten by several of them. None of the attackers—one a local athlete from a prominent family and others of them being also well known in the community (some with prior offenses)—has been charged by the local DA with anything. Only Sarna, a poor young man with now a fiancé who recently gave birth to their child, has been charged, and with attempted murder plus two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, no less.

Sarna admittedly was in possession of a knife. But the circumstances of this case in SLO are clearly those of his being a Good Samaritan and then defending himself against a violent, gang-like attack. The charges against him are ridiculously harsh and unfounded. The DA’s office should drop all felony charges against Sarna and arrive at a reasonable resolution to the case. The DA should also remember quaint things that still have importance to some of us: “equal protection under the law” and “liberty and justice for all,” regardless of social class and economic circumstances.