We’ve reported on the individual Deputy District Attorneys and judges in Los Angeles County who are fighting back against George Gascon’s nonsensical directives in which he decreed a number of misdemeanors that would no longer be prosecuted, instituted blanket, office-wide policies against charging juveniles as adults, against seeking even life in prison, against adding any “enhancements” or special circumstances (i.e., gun, gang, multiple victims) or “strikes” (prior convictions) to charges, and instructed prosecutors to make motions to remove any enhancements, special circumstances, or strikes alleged in pending cases.
As we also reported, many DDA’s in Gascon’s office believe that the directives are unethical and counter to the oaths they swore as members of the California State Bar and as Deputy District Attorneys, and that the directive to not make strike allegations/make motions to remove existing strike allegations is possibly illegal.
Gascon has hit back against DDA’s who’ve publicly criticized his policy, most notably against DDA Jonathan Hatami, who prosecuted the monsters who tortured and murdered 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez. After Gascon’s attack on Hatami, the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County (LAADDA), a union representing the 1,000-plus DDA’s in the county, issued a statement rebuking Gascon, and Tuesday the group announced that it’s seeking a restraining order against Gascon, blocking him from implementing a number of his Special Directives. NBC LA reports:
The Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County said in a letter delivered to County officials, including Gascon, a number of the DA’s reform-oriented directives, including those barring prosecutors from seeking sentencing enhancements for prior convictions under Three Strikes, and blanket orders to dismiss other elements from pending cases, conflict with both the DA’s Office’s and individual prosecutors’ obligations under California law.
A temporary restraining order is needed, the Association said in the letter, because portions of Gascon’s directives require deputy district attorneys to, “…violate the law, violate their oaths, …and violate their ethical duties as officers of the court,” wrote Eric M. George, an attorney for the Association.
According to LAADDA’s letter, prosecutors have an obligation to evaluate each case on its merits and a blanket policy shouldn’t apply to all criminal filings.
“By directing prosecutors to amend a charging document to remove an enhancement that the Court has already declined to dismiss, the Special Directives unlawfully attempt to wrest from the judiciary its legislatively-mandated role to determine whether enhancements should be dismissed, “in furtherance of justice,” the letter said.
They have a point. Isn’t one of the main arguments for justice reform that people who possessed small, personal-use quantities of illegal drugs were being treated the same way that drug dealers were, and that sentencing and rehabilitation didn’t take into account each individual’s circumstance?
Max Szabo, an independent PR rep who’s known Gascon from his San Francisco days and who is somehow acting as the District Attorney’s Office spokesperson even though he’s not an employee, “acknowledged the union action but declined to comment” on the pending litigation. Interestingly, the NBC report notes:
Almost simultaneously an unsolicited statement was sent to reporters by the UC Berkeley Law School’s Three Strikes Project that said, “We are confident this attempt to obstruct the will of the voters will be struck down.”
The Berkeley statement, quoting law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky and director of the Three Strikes Project Michael Romano, said that DA Association’s action shows it has a “longstanding opposition to reform.”
“DA Gascon’s policies will enhance health and safety in Los Angeles and begin a much needed process to reduce epidemic levels of mass incarceration,” the statement said.
Yeah, that wasn’t coordinated at all. Chemerinsky is a long-term Gascon ally who serves on his Public Policy Committee and his transition team. Romano heads up the Enhancements, Three Strikes, and Charging and the Resentencing divisions of Gascon’s transition team. And, “epidemic levels of mass incarceration”? How many thousands of California prisoners have been released just this year because of the Wuhan flu? And we know that thousands more were never charged for their part in riots and looting earlier this year, to say nothing of the following facts (courtesy of the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California):
- California’s county jail population has remained relatively static since 2015,
- California’s state prison population has been stable since January 2017 despite 10,000 prisoners being returned to California prisons from out of state, and
- Nearly half of the state’s 115,000 prisoners serve less than four years behind bars.
So, what you have in that statement are two members of Gascon’s team – albeit members of his campaign and transition teams and not paid county employees – giving the “statement” that Szabo couldn’t make officially for Gascon.
It’s surprising but telling that local mainstream media are acknowledging that the statement was unsolicited.
To those who would say, “Well, Los Angeles, you got what you voted for,” we can agree to disagree on that. A little research on Gascon’s campaign videos and literature shows them to be extremely misleading, and nowhere did he say he would be seeking to offer 7-year plea deals to gang members accused of murdering innocent strangers in drive-by shootings. Sure, there was more information on Gascon out there for people who were motivated to look for it. And they should have…
But, we must deal with where we are now and where to go from here. At this very moment, prosecutors are fighting back at risk of their jobs. Their union is fighting back. Law enforcement officers are fighting back. Crime victims are banding together, and judges are refusing to implement Gascon’s radical policies. The people who are most affected by Gascon’s insanity are minorities, people living in low-income and gang-infested neighborhoods, children, and domestic violence victims. (A woman was gunned down right in the middle of Kohl’s over the weekend by her estranged husband, a felon.)
Many of those people have mindlessly voted Democrat over the years, and their eyes are being opened. Are you going to seriously sit there behind your computer and type out wishes that they “get what they deserve,” and mock their past choices, or are you going to show a dash of grace, a smidge of compassion, a tiny bit of gratitude that eyes are finally being opened, and help eradicate this evil from our country?
From our country, yes, not just from California. Make no mistake, if conservatives and logical-thinking people don’t jump in right now and fight with the people of Los Angeles County, no matter how idiotic you believe they are, and Gascon beats this recall, you will have a Soros-funded DA implementing these same policies in your town soon.