As RedState has covered extensively, one of the first things Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon did upon taking office was to institute an office-wide policy of not charging “enhancements” for gang crimes or crimes enabled by the use of a gun, and not charging “prior strike” enhancements, all of which had the effect of greatly lowering a chronic offender’s potential prison exposure and taking away a great deal of leverage in getting the defendant to agree to a plea deal – or in enticing a defendant to testify against co-defendants.
Gang members are ever so grateful, as demonstrated in this jailhouse audio where a convicted murderer/gang member calls Gascon a “champ” and says he is going to get Gascon’s name tattooed on his face.
LISTEN: In jailhouse audio obtained exclusively by @FoxNews, convicted murderer & gang member Luis Angel Hernandez calls progressive Los Angeles District Attorney @GeorgeGascon a “champ” & vows to get Gascon’s name tatted on his face for dropping his gun & gang enhancements. pic.twitter.com/TsFDZZP6Hn
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) April 18, 2022
Since Gascon took office 16 months ago, criminal gangs have become so emboldened in the County that they essentially run the show, while law enforcement agencies do what they can knowing that the DA’s office is going to side with the gangs. Criminal gangs are responsible for the surge in follow-home robberies, for relieving freight trains stuck outside of downtown LA of their cargo (most notably, of firearms shipments), for massive retail theft, and, of course, for the surge in violent crime.
The ignorant don’t think that gang bangers know about Gascon and what he’s doing, but Melugin’s video shows that’s wrong.
Hernandez “shot and killed a delivery person for a marijuana delivery service during an armed robbery in 2018” and is a member of the OTF gang, according to Melugin’s report. In the recording, Hernandez brags about the enhancements of being a gang member, using a firearm during the commission of a crime, and the special circumstance of committing a murder during an armed robbery being dropped and praises Gascon:
“This s–t looking real good. Now we got a new DA in LA … so they’re going to drop a gang of, um, like my gun enhancement, my gang enhancement,” he says in the jailhouse phone call. “My gang enhancement is 10 years, fool, for being a gang member. And then the gun in the commission of a crime.”
With those enhancements and the special circumstance Hernandez faced a possible sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, but the policies Gascon enacted the day he was sworn in also prohibited that. No wonder Hernandez says:
“I’m going to get that n—–’s name on my face. That’s a champ right there. F—in’ Gascón.”
And with the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation’s current practice of recommending early release even for violent offenders who continue to be violent in prison (see RedState’s exclusive report on Martin Haro here, and reporting on the Sacramento mass shooter here), there’s no doubt that unless there’s continued public pressure on Gascon, Newsom, and the CDCR, unrepentant violent gang members like Hernandez will continue to be released early and will harm innocent Californians.
Regardless of your political opinions about California, even progressive Democrats in Los Angeles who voted for Gascon did NOT vote for the policies he instituted on December 7, 2020, which go far beyond what he said on the campaign trail or articulated on his campaign website.
Both the prohibition on charging enhancements/special circumstances and pursuing charges in which the sentence exposure was life in prison without the possibility of parole are part of Special Directive 20-8, first exclusively obtained by RedState. In the introduction to the directive, Gascon wrote (emphasis mine):
Sentencing enhancements are a legacy of California’s “tough on crime” era. It shall be the policy of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office that the current statutory ranges for criminal offenses alone, without enhancements, are sufficient to both hold people accountable and also to protect public safety. While initial incarceration prevents crime through incapacitation, studies show that each additional sentence year causes a 4 to 7 percent increase in recidivism that eventually outweighs the incapacitation benefit.
Therefore, sentence enhancements or other sentencing allegations, including under the Three Strikes law, shall not be filed in any cases and shall be withdrawn in pending matters.
In addition, Gascon’s policy provided that any defendants sentenced during the 120 days preceding the issuance of the directive were eligible for resentencing and that Deputy District Attorneys were not allowed to object to such resentencing.
It’s abundantly clear that the DA’s policy that statutory ranges for criminal offenses alone aren’t sufficient to hold people accountable or to protect public safety, especially in light of the fact that the Parole Board and CDCR have an extremely liberal point of view when it comes to allowing violent offenders to be released early.
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