LOS ANGELES - Great bodily injury, or GBI, is a term used in criminal cases where the victim was severely injured and a defendant is charged with a special circumstance allegation which adds more time in prison if they’re found guilty.
But under newly-elected District Attorney, George Gascón, Special Circumstance Allegations and Enhancements are no longer being allowed. In the case of baby Amber, this could mean the difference between years in prison and probation.
"At the age of 6 months, this little child was bludgeoned over the head by a babysitter. She suffered traumatic brain injury; she had a skull fracture, multiple hematomas in her head, she’s now permanently blind and now the District Attorney wants to drop the great bodily injury allegation which would mean this defendant would be eligible for probation, she would serve no time for a heinous, heinous crime," says Sam Dordulian, the family’s Pro Bono attorney.
While no one from George Gascón’s office would go on camera, an LA Deputy DA who handles high profile child abuse cases issued the following statement:
"The DA of Los Angeles County has stated that all allegations involving the Great Bodily Injury of a child (ex: burns, fractures, blindness, or broken bones) shall be dismissed. He has also stated that all prior crime allegations even ones involving prior child abuse and domestic violence convictions be dismissed. This includes all open cases, all completed cases, and all new cases."
Dordulian says, "If George Gascón can come and see this baby, I would love for him to tell me how this makes any sense, because it doesn’t make any sense to me."
We tried to speak directly with Gascon but his spokesperson, Maxwell Szabo, told us he wasn’t available.
Instead Szabo issued this statement:
"Special Enhancements are the leading cause of mass incarceration. They don’t enhance safety. Science data shows they exacerbate crime and create more victims in the future. Furthermore, Los Angeles has used a traditionalist approach favored by tough on crime types for the past 8 years and during that time, violent crime has increased by 30% in the county 55% in the city."
For Baby Amber’s mother, it’s simply about justice; punishing the person who harmed her baby.