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Gavin's Law, Punishing Hit-and-Run Drivers, Advances in Assembly
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 4 years ago on
January 14, 2020

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A law to toughen criminal penalties on hit-and-run drivers inspired by a Fresno tragedy passed a major legislative hurdle Tuesday.


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Jim Patterson
“(This bill closes) a loophole and sort of change this perverse incentive to hit, run, kill and leave.” — Assemblyman Jim Patterson
The Assembly Public Safety Committee approved “Gavin’s Law” 5-0 with three members not present.
“(This bill closes) a loophole and sort of change this perverse incentive to hit, run, kill and leave,” Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) told the committee.

Driver Who Killed Gladding Already Out of Prison

Last year, Patterson won over a skeptical committee on enhancing the penalties for hit-and-run drivers.
Patterson proposed Gavin’s Law — AB 582 — in response to the 2018 death of Clovis Unified educator Gavin Gladding. He was killed while jogging on Friant Road, by a 19-year-old driver who fled the scene.
Upset about the lack of consequences for a driver not stopping when causing catastrophic injuries, Patterson pushed for the law.
Rogelio Alvarez Maravilla, who drove the truck that killed Gladding, received a three-year prison sentence. But the state released him a week ago after serving just one year.

Testimony From Gladding’s Wife Swayed Committee Chair

The committee’s chairman, Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), was inclined to spike the bill until he heard the testimony of Gladding’s widow, Susan Gladding.
“I’ve been on this committee for seven years. And, Mrs. Susan Gladding, you are the first witness that ever come before this committee that basically turned the committee through your compassionate, emotional testimony,” Jones-Sawyer said last year.
Jones-Sawyer, at the time, agreed to carry over the bill for consideration in 2020.

Portrait of the late Gavin Gladding
— Hit-and-run victim Gavin Gladding

Revised Bill

A year later, with some revisions, Patterson presented the bill again.
The new version of the bill reduced the penalties that Patterson initially sought. A hit-and-run driver causing serious injuries is subject to a minimum of two years and a maximum of four years in prison. That’s down from four-to-six years in last year’s version.
Similarly, causing death in a hit-and-run accident will bring three-to-six years in prison. Patterson previously had proposed six-to-eight years.
Gladding’s family was present at the hearing but did not speak.
Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) said he supported the bill because “if you have been drinking, it makes sense to run away rather than stay. We can’t allow that. This isn’t quite as much of a deterrent as you wanted, but I think it will help.”
The bill next heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

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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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