Soros-backed Los Angeles DA takes quick action on sweeping criminal justice reform after inauguration

Los Angeles County’s newly elected district attorney is making good on campaign promises and quickly moving to make radical changes in the criminal justice system.

District Attorney George Gascón, who defeated incumbent Jackie Lacey, immediately took action on criminal reform policies Monday right after being inaugurated. The controversial former San Francisco district attorney has raised the ire of law enforcement and even some Democrats who worry about his vows to take people off death row, eliminate cash bail and focus more on rehabilitation than prison.

The 66-year-old, who immigrated from Cuba at 13, defeated Lacey, the first woman and first black person to head the office, in a campaign that supported by wealthy donors, including billionaire George Soros.

Gascón, who formerly served as an LAPD officer, immediately let it be known that he has “profound intolerance” for dishonest officers.


(Source: CBS News Los Angeles)

“Those who engage in unconstitutional policing have severely hindered the standing and safety of us all,” he wrote in an open letter to Los Angeles police officers, according to KNBC-TV. “We are all scarred by their misdeeds, leading many in our communities to perceive police as persecutors instead of protectors.”

He went on to detail some of the sweeping changes he plans to implement, reiterating that his office will not seek the death penalty in any cases. Accused suspects with misdemeanors and “non-violent, non-serious” felonies will be released on their own recognizance while those accused of certain serious or violent crimes will have no cash bail requirements.

The new district attorney, who had multiple sexual harassment complaints filed against him during  his tenure as an LAPD officer, noted that hundreds of people now behind bars would be eligible “to be freed tomorrow.”

Juveniles will not be tried as adults, no matter the crime and a greater emphasis will be placed on rehabilitation instead of jail and prison.

“We will, for example, divert rather than prosecutor many low-level first-time offenses due to the collateral consequences and destabilizing nature of a criminal conviction,” he wrote.

“You can expect that I will work to reduce incarceration and punishment except in those circumstances in which punishment is proportional, is in the community’s best interest, and serves a rehabilitative or restorative purpose,” Gascón added and also pledged to eliminate sentencing enhancements.

He told officers that he plans to consider all evidence, and that “there will be neither sacred cows nor sacrificial lambs.”

“You can expect that I will work to reduce incarceration and punishment except in those circumstances in which punishment is proportional, is in the community’s best interest, and serves a rehabilitative or restorative purpose,” he noted.

Four cases involving police shootings that were previously closed will be reopened, Gascón pledged.

“The pursuit of justice is timeless and that’s why these policies will be applied retroactively. At least 20,000 people currently incarcerated in prison will now be eligible for consideration for resentencing,” he noted.

“For decades those who profit off incarceration have used their enormous political influence–cloaked in the false veil of safety–to scare the public and our elected officials into backing racist policies that created more victims, destroyed budgets, and shattered our moral compass,” Gascón said. “That lie and the harm it caused ends now.”

As progressives cheered the drastic new changes being announced, many others worried how much further left Los Angeles will go.

Frieda Powers

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