A federal judge is expected to approve the prosecution's recommendation to drop charges against Alex Sanchez, the gang peacemaker accused of conspiracy since June 2009. The outcome brought tears of joy and relief to Sanchez, his family and hundreds of supporters in the human rights and immigrant Salvadoran communities.
In its filing Monday afternoon, the prosecution warned that it could re-file new charges against Sanchez, a move that would draw angry criticism from the communities who have followed the case, which had been slated to come before a jury in June 2013. Sanchez has been free on bail since early 2010, though under restrictions, which hamper his gang peacemaking efforts. He has been supporting a nine-month gang cease-fire in the prisons of El Salvador where hundreds of lives have been spared. His efforts in Pico-Union’s streets and schools are widely admired by violence-reduction advocates and community leaders like Fr. Gregory Boyle of Homeboy Industries. A letter-writing campaign was launched on Sanchez' behalf after his arrest, and a play based on his life story was recently performed at the San Francisco International Arts Festival.
Details of the government's decision have yet to emerge, but Public Defender Amy Jacks said in a Monday night statement, “the evidence it presented to the grand jury does not support the charges brought against Alex... If the court grants the government's motion, Alex can focus on what he has done so well for many years: helping our community with gang intervention and prevention, and promoting peaceful solutions to our conflicts.”
For more information, please see also by Tom Hayden, “Alex Sanchez Wins Bail," and, "At the Alex Sanchez Trial, a Window Onto the Global War on Gangs."