Lobbying For Charges in Arson of Sikh Family’s Home

November 17, 2004

Source: Contra Costa Times


On November 17, 2004 Contra Costa Times reported, "a network of legal advocacy groups launched a public-pressure campaign this week urging prosecutors to charge a man with the September arson of a Sikh family's home. 'We believe race was a motivating factor. To what degree, it's hard to say,' said attorney Edwin Prather, who represents the Anand family. 'I think it's safe to say his anger toward the Anands was a primary motivating factor.' Mark Peterson, a deputy Contra Costa district attorney and also a Concord City Council member, said Tuesday that investigators could not prove that 39-year-old Gregg Ogan set the fire on Babel Lane on Sept. 5 or that he committed a hate crime. 'There was not sufficient evidence to file criminal charges. That was the conclusion after we reviewed the case initially,' Peterson said. 'Now we're investigating some evidence that (the Anand family's attorney) has submitted.' Prather agreed that the case does not meet the legal definition of a hate crime, but a coalition including the South Asian Bar Association, Asian Law Caucus, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, and the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund wants prosecutors to file arson and burglary charges."