Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón took office in December of 2020. Since then, he has faced two recall bids, both of which have been unsuccessful at removing him from office. Recently, he defended his policies against critics who deem him to be too soft on crime and stated that he would continue working to reform the criminal justice system.
Gascón’s Policies on Crime
Gascón, who was formerly a top prosecutor in San Francisco, ran on a platform of enacting a more humane criminal justice system. With the nation’s largest jail system, Los Angeles County was particularly well-suited for these reforms. In addition to promising to end cash bail, the District Attorney has also made several other sweeping policy changes so that many non-violent crimes will not be prosecuted aggressively. For one, Gascón has virtually prohibited charging juveniles as adults, regardless of the seriousness of the crime. Furthermore, he has barred line prosecutors from seeking enhanced sentences under California’s Three Strikes Law. Many cases that would normally constitute a strike in other counties will not end up as such in Los Angeles County because Gascón has demanded to personally approve every decision by the prosecutor assigned to the case.
Criticism of Gascón’s Policies
Due to Gascón’s controversial policies, he has faced criticism from many recall advocates who claim that he has failed to ensure public safety and order. Gascón’s critics believe that his policies are to blame for allowing the release of a man from prison who subsequently shot and killed two El Monte police officers. Gascón, however, blames the COVID-19 pandemic for the rise in crime, as well as the difficulty in getting the courts equipped to handle criminal cases. He has also stated that the rise in crime is not unique to Los Angeles, and that crime has risen across the United States since 2019, even in counties with more traditional law-and-order policies.
Recall supporters submitted a total of 715,833 signatures to the county’s registrar, but only 520,050 were deemed valid. The petition required 566,857 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot, meaning supporters fell over 46,000 signatures short. The county’s registrar has reported that about 88,000 of the signatures were turned down because they were not from registered voters.
Looking to the Future
Despite attempts to remove him from office, Gascón has stated that he will remain firm in his stance on criminal justice reform. However, he has agreed to build a management team and improve in communicating his policies to residents who are legitimately scared. His critics are not letting up either. Los Angeles County prosecutor John E. McKinney has stated that recall supporters will continue to keep the pressure on, and attributed Gascón’s decision to file six homicide charges against a woman for running a red light and colliding with several cars to his desire to avoid further recall measures. Although the future of Gascón’s term is uncertain, it is clear that his policies will continue to reform the criminal justice system. The good news is that homicides are starting to decline in Los Angeles County this year, and there is hope that things will return to normal soon.
Contact Wallin & Klarich Today
In order to be an aggressive criminal defense attorney handling Los Angeles County cases, you must understand not only the law, but also the politics of what is going on within the District Attorney’s office. At Wallin & Klarich, we are up to date on the latest developments, and that knowledge could be the difference between you or your loved ones spending years in prison or having your case dismissed. If you have been arrested for a crime, contact Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible to see how we can help. With 40+ years of experience, Wallin & Klarich is your best choice amongst Southern California criminal defense firms. Our attorneys have helped thousands of clients in a wide range of cases, and we have the skills and resources to help you avoid hefty fines and jail time.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available and convenient attorney near you.
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