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Judge Nixes L.A. County District Attorney Gascón’s Questionable Directives and Criminal Justice ‘Reforms’

Judge Nixes L.A. County District Attorney Gascón’s Questionable Directives and Criminal Justice ‘Reforms’

“The District Attorney’s disregard of the Three Strikes law ‘plead and prove’ requirement is unlawful.”

At the end of January, Legal Insurrection reported that ultra-progressive Los Angeles County District Attorney Gascon’s “reforms” were putting the region’s criminal justice system in “free fall.” For example, Gascón forced his prosecutors to read statements in court impugning the state’s “three strikes” law and ending specific penalties.

The situation was so bad that the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County argues in the lawsuit that deputy district attorneys cannot follow the directives without violating the state penal code. A judge now has temporarily blocked Gascón’s efforts to impose his reform directives.

The directives forbade prosecutors from seeking longer sentences for repeat offenders under the state’s Three Strikes Law, as well as in several other types of cases. The Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County (ADDA) brought a lawsuit against him, and Judge James Chalfant granted their request for a preliminary injunction, allowing certain sentencing enhancements to continue for the duration of the case.

“The District Attorney’s disregard of the Three Strikes law ‘plead and prove’ requirement is unlawful, as is requiring deputy DA’s to seek dismissal of pending sentencing enhancements without a lawful basis,” Chalfant’s Wednesday order said.

The judge was forced to remind Gascón it stems from a law that California citizens approved.

Prosecutors must file three-strikes charges “in every case in which the defendant has a prior serious or violent conviction,” Chalfant said. “That is what the voters and the Legislature both wanted.”

Once the charges are filed, he said, a prosecutor may seek a shorter sentence as part of a plea agreement, or ask the judge for a reduction “in the interest of justice,” Chalfant said. But he said the district attorney’s order forbidding all three-strikes sentences puts prosecutors at risk of being found in contempt of court for illegal and unethical conduct.

Chalfant’s order, which impacts several thousand cases in LA County, was heralded by the firm representing the union.

The ruling affects a significant number of cases in L.A. County, where there are 10,794 defendants currently facing charges with sentencing enhancements, according to statistics provided to The Times in response to a public records request.

Gascón can still bar prosecutors from filing most sentencing enhancements in new cases, though enhancements for prior strike offenses must still be charged, according to the order.

“Today’s decision is a victory for the rule of law. This lawsuit has never been about whether sentencing enhancements are good or bad policy, but about whether a district attorney can force prosecutors to violate clear California law in order to carry out his desired policy changes,” Nathan Hochman, a partner at the law firm representing the union, said in an email.

Gascón is reportedly planning to appeal.


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Gascon in LA, Krasner in Philadelphia, Boudin in SF, Rollins in Boston etc. They are all Marxist radicals and must be driven from office by any means necessary.

    Massinsanity in reply to MAJack. | February 10, 2021 at 1:04 pm

    I disagree on Rollins. My initial reaction to her was similar to your take but she has proved to be far more rational in practice than I expected.

    Don’t get me wrong, she is way too far to the left for my taste but she it no where near as nutty/dangerous as Boudin or Gascon.

    If anyone thinks these cliens were lawfully elected, I have a Traitor Joe & ‘Ho to sell you.

AnotherBrian01 | February 10, 2021 at 9:30 am

A question that has never really been addressed. What are the limits to prosecutorial discretion? Can a prosecutor simply void vast swaths of laws by saying “I’m not going to enforce those laws”? Obama did that with his Dreamer executive action. That’s what Gascon just did. Can a DA ignore state law?

Wait, none of us are actually surprised that Dhimmi-crat politicians and prosecutors brazenly and blatantly disregard such quaint conceits as “laws” and “statutes,” are we?

It always fascinated me that when a liberal doesn’t feel like obeying a law there is no consequence to his actions.

    It’s demoralizing, but, this where the country is at. Look at the trend — from crone Clinton brazenly violating a slew of national security laws, with no criminal consequences; to no criminal consequences (or, even a scintilla of criticism and outrage) for vile Obama and his equally vile lackey-sycophants, Comey, Brennan, Yates, McCabe, Strzok, et al. having concocted Crossfire Hurricaine out of thin air, to subvert and hobble President Trump; to setting up President Trump’s National Security Advisor pick, Flynn; to covering up and distracting attention away from Chairman “Big Guy” Xi-den’s manifest corruption vis-a-vis the Ukraine (and, his 10% kickbacks from family members’ “pay-for-play” schemes), via the ridiculous and outrageously contrived hoaxpeachment; to a black law school student at the University of Virginia falsely accusing campus security officers of racist treatment, and, after being exposed, still being allowed to graduate; to vile Muslim supremacist and Jew-hating bigot, Ilhan Omar avoiding censure from the Dhimmi-crats, because of her skin pigmentation and her religious affiliation; to former FBI lawyer, Clinesmith, receiving a laughable slap-on-the-wrist “punishment” for lying to the FISA court — the trend that is being established by the Dhimmi-crats is a system in which members of the Dhimmi-crat “club,” and, its favored, alleged “victim” constituencies, receive a complete exemption from being held responsible for their actions, and, from being subject to any punitive measures.

Gascón will certainly appeal. It will then be interesting to see if the Laficornia courts agree with him or with the legislature. I’m betting the former, because ‘reasons’. This will gut this specific law and respect for the law in general.

Criminals prey on us, so we fight through the legislature to get laws passed, only to have the governor veto them.
We finally get laws passed and enacted, only to have the police not enforce them.
We work to get the police to arrest the criminals, and when they do, the District Attorneys let them go.
Eventually with great effort, we get the criminals locked up away from civilized society, and the politicians work to get them set free after serving only a token time behind bars.
After multiple times through the system and uncounted crimes, we finally manage to get them locked up… Or so we think, because this dip decides crime is not a reason to prosecute.

I’m starting to wonder if the criminals are the ones getting elected.

So, now that a Court has settled the question of whether this person acted against the law, when will he be charged with obstruction of justice for a couple hundred counts at least?

Or is this another case of a leftist openly violating the law, bragging about it, and getting a pass instead of having to serve the hard time he deserves?

Nice little setback for him, but just a minor skirmish in the war the left is waging and winning here in California. My son-in-law is an LAPD cop, he’s getting out.