Palo Alto, CA - A recent court case in California is highlighting the Santa Clara District Attorney's practice of offering special plea deals to violent felons in order to keep them from being deported.
Neha Rastogi endured 10 years of domestic violence abuse in her marriage to Abhishek Gattani. For 10 years she used her iPhone to record as Gattani would beat her. He smacked her countless times throughout those 10 years and would even create situations that he could blame Rastogi for just so he could beat her more.
When she was 8 months pregnant, he beat her and then made her stand up throughout the whole night. He threw her on the ground and kicked her in the belly. He beat her as she breast-fed their baby, accusing her of doing it wrong.
Gattani would accuse Rastogi of doing something wrong, beat her for it, and then say that it was his own fault for not beating her enough.
In November 2013, Abhishek Gattani was finally arrested for a felony assault while he was beating Neha Rastogi in the middle of the street. However, Rastogi asked the court to reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor, which they did at her urging. She later said that she did not understand how the American criminal justice system worked and hoped to keep her family together.
When a police officer asked her why she didn't leave, she said that she didn't think she could. In his report, the officer wrote, “The victim told me she did not think she could leave. In the past if she did anything other than take the assault it made her husband angrier, and the assault was worse. She added that he had already assaulted her that evening, and this was the second assault. She clarified the suspect used both hands to hit her on both sides. Initially his left hand held her right ear, but then he switched to striking her with his left hand.”
When Rastogi finally reported her abuse in 2016, she had a mountain of evidence showing 10 years of abuse. She would finally be getting justice after 10 years of abuse, or so she thought. Instead, the felony domestic violence assault charge was reduced to a misdemeanor "offensive touching," with felony accessory after the fact thrown in, a charge which makes no sense given the circumstances of the case.
The Daily Beast contacted the prosecutor in the case, Assistant District Attorney Steve Fein, to ask about the unusual charges. Fein explained that Gattani would have been deported if he had been charged with a violent felony. By changing the charges to a misdemeanor and a non-violent felony, Gattani would avoid deportation.
Fein indicated that his boss, Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen, seeks to avoid such deportations.
The plea deal left Gattani with a six month "jail term," although only 30 days were to be served in incarceration with the remaining balance served in a weekend work program. However, Gattani will only end up having to serve one day in jail for each of the 10 years he beat his wife. The felony will also be expunged from his record at the end of a 3 year probation period.
Neha Rastogi was understandably upset about the situation, especially considering that the court wouldn't allow her to speak until the sentencing had already been completed.
This goes far-beyond politicians not recognizing the difference between criminal and non-criminal immigrants. Granting special lenient plea deals to non-citizens doesn't just protect criminals; it gives them more privileges than American citizens.