Fallout over “justice reforms” are so bad that LA County prosecutors file lawsuit against their boss.
I noted that billionaire George Soros is behind the team that helped elect Los Angeles county’s new District Attorney George Gascón this past November. Gascón promptly announced sweeping changes as he was sworn into office, including the end of cash bail.
One month later, let’s check how he’s working out for Los Angeles.
In a strong rebuke to LA’s “reforms,” a judge allowed the San Diego County district attorney’s office to reclaim jurisdiction over several charges filed in Los Angeles connected to a violent crime spree that left two people dead.
In a motion filed last week, San Diego County Dist. Atty. Summer Stephan asked a judge to give her office control over five robbery counts filed against Rhett Nelson, 31, part of a broader slate of charges he faces for his alleged role in a days-long crime spree that spanned across Southern California and left two people dead in 2019, including Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Solano.
Nelson was charged with two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and seven robberies committed in or near San Diego, Long Beach and Los Angeles. Under previous Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, a slew of sentencing enhancements were also filed against Nelson because he allegedly used a gun in each crime and is charged with multiple murders. If convicted under those terms, he would have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Stephan had agreed to consolidate all charges in Los Angeles, but changed her mind in response to Gascón’s directive barring prosecutors from using enhancements. According to her filing, Stephan feared Nelson could become eligible for parole after spending 20 years in prison if convicted without enhancements.
A little farther north, Sacramento and Fresno counties district attorneys expressed their anger and frustration at Gascón’s policies.
Last week, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert characterized many of Gascón’s directives as “illegal and unconstitutional” — a contention repeated again by Fresno County D.A. Lisa A. Smittcamp.
…Smittcamp wrote: “Your special directives are extreme, and they are already wreaking havoc on crime victims and ignoring their constitutional rights. Your lack of concern for victims’ rights and public safety is of great concern to all of us who pride ourselves on protecting those very things. Crime has no boundaries, and these special directives will certainly impact areas outside of Los Angeles County.”
There is very disturbing news that, because of the new rules, Los Angeles deputy district attorneys who successfully prosecuted a case secual assault case will be barred from attending the man’s upcoming parole hearing.
[The victims’ mother] Constance tells FOX 11 she was stunned when she recently received a letter from the state notifying her that Beltran would have his first parole hearing on March 11.
The shock was made even worse when the family learned that under D.A George Gascón’s reforms, their prosecutor won’t be allowed to attend Beltran’s parole hearing, and the family will be left to argue against his release on their own.
“Somehow the responsibility is in our court to protect society, and that’s simply not how it’s supposed to work,” the brother said.
“There’s just every element of protection for him, this violent monster criminal, and very little protection for us,” the sister said.
The fallout from the Gascón reforms has led the union representing Los Angeles County prosecutors to sue their boss.
The Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County argues in the lawsuit that deputy district attorneys cannot follow the directives without violating state penal code.
“The directives violate California law, which imposes a mandatory duty on prosecutors to plead and prove strike priors,” the union said in a statement. “Dismissals of those priors can only be based on individual circumstances, not a blanket policy.”
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