Prosecutors blast DA Gascón for challenging three strikes rule

The union representing Los Angeles County prosecutors blasted District Attorney George Gascón Friday for his decision to appeal a court ruling that blocked one of his directives preventing prosecutors from alleging prior-strike allegations in criminal cases.

“Last month, a unanimous Court of Appeals panel reminded George Gascón that `he is an elected official who must comply with the law, not a sovereign with absolute, unreviewable discretion.’ He obviously disagrees with that basic premise,” according to a statement from the Association of Deputy District Attorneys.

The appeals court ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the association challenging directives Gascón issued the day he took office in December 2020.

Last year, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant ruled largely in favor of the association, saying Gascón cannot issue a blanket order telling prosecutors to ignore laws the ADDA contends were designed to protect the public, including three-strike allegations and sentencing enhancements.

A three-judge panel of the California Second District Court of Appeal largely agreed in a 71-page ruling last month, stating in part that “voters and the Legislature created a duty, enforceable in mandamus, that requires prosecutors to plead prior serious or violent felony convictions to ensure the alternative sentencing scheme created by the three strikes law applies to repeat offenders.”

Gascón on Thursday announced plans to appeal that ruling, saying it “sets a dangerous precedent.”

“The court is effectively taking the charging decision out of the prosecutor’s hands —  the core function of a prosecutor’s office,” according to the statement from the D.A.’s Office. “The decision also forces prosecutors around California to ignore important research that shows longer prison sentences do not lead to increased public safety and to ignore the unique factors of each individual case that militate against using strikes.”

The District Attorney’s Office contended the three-strikes law “imposes draconian penalties on defendants who were previously convicted of certain prior felonies.”

“These policies increase recidivism rates, have little-to-no deterrent effect and keep people in prison long after they pose any safety risk to their community,” according to the D.A.’s Office. “The also disproportionately affect minorities — almost 93% of people sent to prison from Los Angeles County are Black people and people of color.”

The ADDA, in its statement Friday, said the decision to appeal the court’s ruling shows Gascón “is convinced that the rule of law doesn’t apply to him.”

“He believes his election is a mandate from the voters that vests him with unlimited power to impose his personal ideology, even when doing so means disregarding the will of the voters, the legislators, and the governor who enacted the three strikes laws,” according to the association. “He insists on treating first time offenders and repeat offenders the same. Yet the `science and data’ on which he relies dissolves under basic scrutiny.

“The public should recall that he ran on the promise that his policies would deliver safer communities. Now he denies responsibility for the rising crime that is affecting all our communities.”

Gascón issued a series of special directives upon taking office, with many of them raising the ire of some law enforcement officials who accused him of being soft on crime. Gascón, who was elected on a progressive agenda, has said he had a mandate from the people who wanted to see changes in the justice system, moving away from excessively long prison sentences that he claims have done little to reduce crime or act as a deterrent.

Gascón is facing a second recall effort, with the Registrar- Recorder/County Clerk’s Office currently reviewing the validity of more than 715,000 petition signatures to determine if enough of them are valid to force a recall election.

Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.

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Joshua88
Joshua88
29 days ago

Three strikes include stealing food to feed your hungry child.
Mr. Gascón is correct.

And btw, he is not responsible for rising crime; the criminals are.

gdaddy
gdaddy
28 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

Soo delusional. So do you believe guns don’t kill people, rather people kill people? Conservatives say that and I think it is dumb as it is the fault of both people and guns. You’re the equivalent on the other side…He is directly responsible with rising crime, as humans all have a cost/benefit for decision making. Criminals know they will be out the same day in many cases if they are caught, and likely will face light penalties. Things like armed robbery are being treated as non-violent offenses. As a result, criminals are thinking, “If I steal this, there is a… Read more »

WEHO Resident
WEHO Resident
28 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

False! Shoplifting is not a strike offense. Do not spread misinformation. If by stealing to feed your child you mean armed robbery, then I hope someone does that to you. Then we’ll say, that’s ok, the thug was just stealing the Rolex or Iphone to feed his kid. Get a grip. Of course criminals are responsible for crime. Elected DAs who don’t prosecute crime and politicians who weaken criminal laws are absolutely responsible for the RISE in crime.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
27 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

good grief. is that you George Gascon?????

BrownEyedGuy
BrownEyedGuy
25 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

If only the criminals terrorizing LA were more like Jean Valjean, Gascón’s policies would make sense.

Eastside Straight Girl
Eastside Straight Girl
30 days ago

Gascon is a crime creator! He has done more damage in the short time he has been in office then the whole time that I have lived 20 years in WeHo/LA County. He is a Soros funded kook that is beyond the woke category of insanity!

WEHO Resident
WEHO Resident
30 days ago

Gascon is a sociopath with no empathy for crime victims. It is literally his job to prosecute criminals and seek justice for victims. He does the exact opposite. He goes to bat for child molesters and murderers. He doesn’t even know how to prosecute a crime since he’s never even practiced law. And yet people in LA elected this evil idiot. Let’s hope the same people have learned their lesson. The rapid increase in crime in West Hollywood within the last year is not a coincidence.

Joe Bologna
Joe Bologna
30 days ago

Yet, I bet if you go on the Nextdoor app for West Hollywood, you’ll find lots of folks singing his praises. It’s bizarre and baffling.

JF1
JF1
1 month ago

Gascon has to go. For all our sakes.

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