Patrick Lopez-Aguado: Sabbatical Highlights
Associate Professor Patrick Lopez-Aguado started 2020 on academic sabbatical after recently being awarded tenure. During this time Lopez-Aguado focused on learning how to use his research experience to help address unfair criminal justice policies in Santa Clara County, particularly the use of sentencing enhancements for gang-involved defendants. In January he published an op-ed article in the San Jose Mercury News arguing that the County’s use of gang enhancements is not only ineffective and overly punitive, but that it is also profoundly racist as these longer sentences are almost exclusively used against Latinx defendants. Since then, Lopez-Aguado has been actively consulting a number of attorneys who represent clients facing gang-enhanced charges, particularly in cases in which defendants claim that they have been falsely labeled as gang members.