Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Commentary: Who is George Gascon' and what is all the fuss about?


La Mirada-  At least three cities will be discussing the merits tonight of a series of directives that District Attorney George Gascon' has issued to his Deputy DA's directing them to alter the course of justice in Los Angeles County exciting reform-minded progresses and angering advocates of law and order.

The La Mirada city council fearing such initiatives are a major threat to public safety along with councils in Whittier and Lancaster could join Santa Clarita, Pico Rivera, and Beverly Hills tonight by approving a resolution that is tantamount to a vote of no confidence in Gascon'

But who is George Gascon' and what are these directives that have proved so controversial that Gascon' could join Governor newsom on the ballot in a recall effort.

George Gascon', 65, was born in Havanna, Cuba moving to Bell in 1967. After a stint in the U.S. Army, he became a career cop at LAPD rising through the ranks to the level of Assistant Police Chief before departing to Mesa, Arizona then to San Francisco where he was chief of police of both departments.

Gascon', a co-author of Proposition 47 that reduced many felonies to misdemeanors became District Attorney in San Francisco after Governor Newsom then its mayor appointed him to fill the vacancy left by Kamala Harris who had become the state attorney general in 2011. 

It was there in San Francisco heading the D.A.'s office that Gascon' embarked on a series of directives that discouraged officers from making low-level arrests in favor of diversion. Crime rose 37% during his tenure that ended in 2019 when he resigned in order to run in the election for his current post.

The Directives

Deputy DA's were instructed to not request cash bail for any misdemeanor, non-serious or non-violent felony offense. 

Bail is to only be requested in cases of felony sexual assault, threats of great bodily injury and cases where felony acts of violence had been committed IF there was clear and convincing evidence that release would result in great bodily violence to another or a flight from justice.

Gascon' has instructed that his deputies not file charges in misdemeanor cases including those for trespassing, disturbing the peace, driving while suspended or unlicensed, criminal threats of violence, possession of drug paraphernalia as well as possession of controlled substances including meth, heroin, and fentanyl.  

Charges are also to be rejected in cases involving resisting arrest, drinking in public, being intoxicated in public or under the influence of a controlled substance, or loiter in public for the purpose of prostitution.

Exceptions can be made for repeated accusations in a 24 month period in cases of trespass, disturbing the peace, driving suspended or unlicensed or criminal threats or force was iused against a law enforcenet in a resisting arrest incident. 

In the case where an exception will be made instead of an outright D.A. reject is not handed down, the case will still be dismissed after  completion of a diversion program.

In more serious felong cases Deputy D.A. are not to enfore the voter-approved three strikes law or seek the death penalty.

Gascon' has banned charging juveniles accused of serious crimes as adults and shall not be charged with misdemeanor crimes.  When apprpriate juveniles accused of a misdemeanor or less serious felony can be referred to a diversion program. A juvenile age 16-17 is also not to be charged that a crime that carries a strike. A juvenile that commits an armed robbery will only be charged with grand theft person. An exceptions exists to allow a chjarge of rape and murder.

The sentence sought by the people will be probation of the charge allows with except in extraordinary circumstances with the approval of a Bureau Director.

It's clear that when the new guy makes it a point to meet and confer behind closed doors with the shots callers at Black Lives Matter after being sworn-in before even sitting down to meet the people who work for his office and long serious look is called for.

Tonight will be that night in La Mirada.

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