For more than 15 years Shirley Ree Smith has denied shaking and ultimately killing her 7-week-old grandson, Etzel Glass, at a Van Nuys apartment. Now her attorney has asked the governor to forgive her crime.
"You caused the death of a child then you should be punished for it," said Maria Alvarez-Garcia of Fresno.
Alvarez-Garcia said she will see to it that Smith is not forgiven. And this is the reason why: her 8-year-old grandson, Adam, lives everyday with the consequences of being shaken when he was a year old.
"It's a struggle. Adam is going to wear diapers for the rest of his life. Adam is not going to be able to walk for the rest of his life. He's going to be a baby as you see him now."
Alvarez-Garcia has made it her mission to protect other children from abuse. She helped pass Adam's Law, after her grandson, which calls for stiffer child abuse penalties.
Monday she sent out messages on Facebook and called her friends and other child advocates. She wants everyone who is willing to flood Governor Jerry Brown's office on Tuesday with calls and emails demanding he deny Smith's request for mercy. "What I'm afraid of, this is going to open a new leeway for criminals to get away with something they chose to do on innocent children who have no voice."
Alvarez-Garcia also reached out to Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea. He personally knows Adam, and says he will be calling Governor Brown. "I can understand her passion. I feel for the lady that is trying to get out of prison. I don't know all the circumstances, but the fact of the matter is a child died by her hands, and there should be consequences for that."
Smith's case is a unique one. Her conviction had been overturned by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court Of Appeals. But in a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the conviction.