New LA district attorney makes radical changes to criminal justice system on day one

LA's new district attorney makes radical changes to criminal justice system on day one

Los Angeles County’s new district attorney, George Gascón, who was heavily backed by George Soros, announced on his first day in office that he would pursue radical changes to the county’s criminal justice system. This includes scrapping cash bail, declining prosecutions for numerous types of misdemeanours, and prohibiting prosecutors from seeking enhanced prison sentences.

“‘The dramatic reversals of deeply ingrained, traditional law enforcement strategies in the nation’s largest district attorney’s office, also will include a review of thousands of old cases to determine whether lighter sentences or prisoner releases should be sought,’ Gascón said at his swearing-in ceremony,” the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

“The reforms announced Monday added to a list of moves Gascón vowed to make during a contentious election against the incumbent district attorney, Jackie Lacey, including a promise to bar his prosecutors from seeking the death penalty in new cases and to end the practice of trying juveniles as adults. He followed through on both issues Monday, announcing them among the slew of new policies he is implementing.” 

Gascón issued a directive to prosecutors ordering them to stop prosecuting several misdemeanours, with exceptions. These offences include disturbing the peace, driving without a valid license, loitering to commit prostitution, and resisting arrest.

The directive stated: “The purpose of the Diversion Policy Directive is to utilize remediation to protect public safety, promote individual rehabilitation, and encourage prosecutorial discretion.” 

“I recognize for many this is a new path… whether you are a protester, a police officer or a prosecutor, I ask you to walk with me. I ask you to join me on this journey,” Gascón stated. “We can break the multigenerational cycles of violence, trauma, and arrest and recidivism that has led America to incarcerate more people than any other nation.” 

A veteran prosecutor who wished to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation told the Los Angeles Times that Gascón’s “policies are a slap in the face to crime victims — both past victims and the ones to come.”

“His blanket policies do not take into account that we are the only people standing between truly dangerous criminals and the general public,” the prosecutor stated. “I am already getting concerned emails from concerned victims. What am I supposed to say to them?”