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Will Gavin's Law, Honoring Killed Educator, Clear First Hurdle?
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 5 years ago on
March 18, 2019

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Hundreds of family and friends of a Clovis Unified educator killed in a hit-and-run accident gathered at a Fresno park on Friday asking Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) one thing: Bring home justice for their beloved Gavin Gladding.

“This is a very valid pursuit. We are encouraged. We are poised for the action in Sacramento on Tuesday and hoping we can get this thing through,” Gavin’s father, Gary Gladding, told the crowd at Keith Tice Park, adjacent to Fort Washington Elementary where Gavin served.

Like many attending the event, the elder Gladding wore a white t-shirt with a picture of a dove and the words “Gavin’s Law.” Many others wore blue and white hats with “G-Love” inscribed on them.

Gladding’s Death Inspires Bill

Gavin Gladding

Gladding, a vice principal at Fort Washington, died last September while jogging along the shoulder of Friant Road, struck by a driver who later fled the scene.

In a pre-hearing statement to the committee, Patterson believed the suspect “was likely drinking at a party before the accident; however, because he fled the scene, law enforcement was unable to determine if he was under the influence.”

While justice was eventually metered upon Gladding’s killer, Patterson and many others were frustrated by the lack of consequences for leaving the scene and avoiding a possible DUI and/or vehicular manslaughter conviction.

Gavin’s Law” as Patterson calls it (AB 582), would increase the penalties for hit-and-run drivers from a maximum of four years to a range of 4-to-8 years, depending on the severity of injuries. Rogelio Alvarez Maravilla received three years in prison after pleading no contest in the accident that killed Gladding.

Patterson Seeks Support

The first step in the legislative process is a hearing in the Assembly Committee on Public Safety Tuesday morning. There is a 6-2 Democratic to Republican split on the committee.

Patterson encouraged the Friday crowd of about 100 to attend the hearing.

“If this committee gets the sense of injustice, then I will hope they will do justice. If they can be touched by the truth of what has happened, and the unnecessary lack of consequences that fosters some of this kind of hurting, killing and fleeing, maybe we can get this through the public safety committee,” Patterson said.

While Patterson had the support of the people, and those in the law enforcement like Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, the legislator knows he is making a tough ask in today’s Sacramento.

Watch Patterson’s address to the crowd at the Gavin’s Law rally below:

Fighting Sacramento

“(The public safety committee) has an ideology, and it has a point of view … with instructions from leadership, to basically reduce sentences, don’t increase them. Let people out earlier, not later. It’s called criminal justice reform.”Assemblyman Jim Patterson

Patterson points to the makeup of the committee, as set by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood).

“It has an ideology, and it has a point of view as a committee that the individuals chosen are there really, with instructions from leadership, to basically reduce sentences, don’t increase them. Let people out earlier, not later. It’s called criminal justice reform,” Patterson told reporters after the event.

Patterson said the law has bipartisan support, but he’s been lobbying his fellow members. He knows that the bill could hinge on the opinion of committee chairman Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles).

“If that chair decides to give it a “no,” that puts real pressure on other members to follow along,” Patterson said.

Jones-Sawyer did not reply to GV Wire’s request for comment by press time.

If the committee passes the bill, it lives to fight another day. If not, the bill dies.

Patterson vowed to bring it back session after session if that is the case.

ACLU Among Opponents

According to the bill analysis prepared the committee, six groups support AB 582. Most of them are local law enforcement — the District Attorney’s office, the Sheriff’s office, the Fresno Police Department, and unions representing both police officers and sheriff deputies. They are joined by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Listed opponents include the ACLU, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, California Public Defenders Association and the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.

The staff reports notes California’s problem with prison overcrowding. The San Francisco Public Defender’s Office notes other reasons people may leave the scene that have nothing to do avoiding liability (such as fear of deportation or unpaid traffic tickets). They would be over penalized, the public defenders say.

A similar bill introduced last year was withdrawn before a vote. At the time, the ACLU wrote of AB 2014 (authored by Democrat Eduardo Garcia):

“Increasing the term of imprisonment for leaving the scene of an accident will do nothing to prevent future accidents or even to deter drivers from leaving the scene.”

Committee Members

Name Party Area
Reginald Jones-Sawyer (chair) D South Los Angeles
Rebecca Bauer-Kahan D Orinda
Sydney Kamlager-Dove D Los Angeles
Bill Quirk D Hayward
Miguel Santiago D Los Angeles
Buffy Wicks D Oakland
Tom Lackey (vice chair) R Palmdale
Tyler Diep R Westminster

Lackey, the ranking member, is one of AB 582’s co-authors.

Click on this link to watch the meeting, starting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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