SANTA ANA – In a “notable judgment” for victims of violent hate crimes, Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced that his office has secured a novel civil award against two individuals who targeted a man based on his ethnicity, forced him out of his car and beat him until blood flowed from his ears.
“Victims of crimes inspired by hate deserve every remedy available under the law,” Brown said. “This notable judgment ensures that in California, justice doesn’t stop at the criminal courtroom door.”
The judgment, signed late last week, requires James Joseph Kelly III, 28, of California City and Justin Louis Mullins, 26, of Garden Grove each to pay $25,000 to Felipe Alvarado, 31, whom they brutally assaulted and verbally harassed.
The incident began about 2 a.m. on August 9, 2007 in Garden Grove. As Alvarado waited at a traffic light at the intersection of Magnolia Street and Trask Avenue, Mullins and Kelly pulled up and began verbally harassing him. Alvarado ignored the insults, but on the other side of the intersection, in the parking lot of his workplace, the two men jumped out of their vehicle, forced Alvarado out of his vehicle and dragged him to the pavement. Defenseless, Alvarado was punched, kneed and kicked until blood flowed from his ears.
During the assault, the men insulted Alvarado with ethnic slurs. The beating left him with permanent back pain and hearing loss.
Today’s civil judgment follows criminal convictions in October 2008. Kelly was sentenced to nine months in jail on one count of misdemeanor assault. Mullins was sentenced to three years in state prison for misdemeanor assault, driving under the influence and violating probation.
The civil case marks the first time the Attorney General has filed a case to benefit victims of violent crimes under the Ralph Civil Rights Act, which enables victims of many types of hate crimes to pursue civil penalties in addition to criminal charges. Given the circumstances and brutality of the crimes, Brown decided to pursue a civil case after the defendants were released from confinement.
Victims who believe their rights have been violated under the Ralph Act or any of California’s other civil rights laws, can file a complaint with Brown’s Civil Rights Enforcement Section at http://ag.ca.gov/contact/complaint_form.php?cmplt=PL.