By T.A. Hendrickson
Daniel Nogueira, 28, who threw a lit firework into the homeless encampment under the 2 Freeway in Eagle Rock in 2019, injuring two and setting the hills afire, will be placed in a mental-health treatment program rather than face trial and possible jail, the judge in the case said today.
Judge Kerry White, of Los Angeles County Superior Court, approved mental health treatment against the judgement of prosecutors with the L.A. County DA. “Our office believes the defendant poses an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety,” said Greg Risling, a spokesperson for the D.A. in an email response to questions from the Boulevard Sentinel.
Nogueira, the son of Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce President Michael Nogueira, has been free on a $1 million bond since his arrest in August 2019. It was not until April 2021 that charges were filed against Daniel Nogueira; the charges were arson, using an explosive device to injure/destroy and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon against two occupants of the encampment, according to the criminal complaint filed by prosecutors. Nogueira pleaded not guilty. The Sentinel reached out to Michael Nogueira for comment but had not heard back as of this posting.
In arguing for mental health treatment, Nogueira’s superstar defense lawyer, Alan Jackson, argued that Nogueira has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) which makes it difficult for him to control his impulses, according to the L.A. Times. Jackson said that Nogueira had used “extremely bad judgment” when he threw the firework into the encampment, but that he was engaged in “horseplay” and didn’t intend to hurt anyone, according to the Times.
The judge told Nogueira he was lucky that a 2018 law allows judges to approve mental health treatment in cases where they believe that mental illness contributed significantly to the crime, according to the Times.
DA spokesperson Risling told the Sentinel that the terms of the Nogueira’s diversion into mental health treatment are yet to be worked out. Generally, diversion into a mental health program before trial allows the defendant to avoid jail time as long as they complete treatment, at which time the court would dismiss and seal the case.