Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon is apparently trying to silence crime victims and their families under the guise of avoiding “triggering” them.
The soft-on-crime prosecutor is disbanding a unit in his office that was set up to provide notification to concerned parties, i.e., those who suffered harm at the hands of criminals, about upcoming parole hearings for offenders.
The so-called Lifer Unit is shutting down by the end of the year; Democrat Gascon has already banned prosecutors from attending the meetings where convicted criminals seek their early release rather than being kept behind bars.
In a statement obtained by Fox News reporter Bill Melugin, Gascon’s office claimed, in part, that this is a matter of better allocation of staff resources. “The attorneys in the unit are needed in line operations to prosecute cases as we are greatly understaffed.”
This premise or excuse is ironic in that Gascon has continued to find ways to avoid prosecuting lawbreakers in crime-ridden Los Angeles, and as a result, he is likely to face a recall election in November.
In June, voters similarly fed up with revolving-door “justice” booted Gascon’s San Francisco counterpart Chesa Boudin from office.
It is also another example by which the left treats violent criminals, including recidivists, like victims, and actual victims are deemed irrelevant.
In a statement to me, DA @GeorgeGascon office says contacting victims & next of kin “can be very triggering”, the work is time consuming and “unnecessary”, and that the responsibility ultimately falls to the state.
Gascon already banned prosecutors from attending parole hearings pic.twitter.com/6fvap1qoCM
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) July 14, 2022
Gascon’s office is implying that it has the bests interests of the victims in mind.
“While a victim has a right to be notified, they also have a right NOT to be contacted. Lawyers in the parole unit have been using Victim Service Representatives, paralegals and Bureau of Investigation resources to contact victims and their next of kin who have not requested to be notified of parole hearings. After consulting with victim experts, we do not believe this is a trauma-informed approach. Contacting victims and their next of kin can be very triggering especially if they do not welcome the intrusion…”
Gascon also contends that it is up to the inefficient bureaucracy in California’s corrections department rather than his office to notify victims and their loved ones about upcoming parole conferences.
Soft-on-crime DA Gascón says he's 'not sure' LA Country is 'less or more safe' since he took office https://t.co/W8qbv597r7
— michelekirkBPR (@michelekirkBPR) June 18, 2022
Deputy District Attorney John Lewin told Fox News that “What Gascon wants to do is he wants to make it so that not only the next of kin are unaware of these parole hearings, but he wants to make sure that prosecutors and district attorney’s offices don’t hear about them either. When that happens, that means that (Gascon) and his public defender cronies can, in essence, do what they’re doing in the dark, and no one will ever know.”
In contact with Melugin, Deputy DA Juliane Walker, among other things, disputed Gascon’s claim that the unit had been downsized by the incumbent DA’s predecessor.
I received a lengthy message from Julianne Walker, a victim advocate in the “lifer” unit being disbanded. She says the Gascon admin statement isn’t truthful for a number of reasons, which she lists below. She has given me permission to publish her statement on the record @FoxNews pic.twitter.com/IwxbItKmmk
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) July 14, 2022
Walker also called out Gascon for using the insensitive “triggering” terminology for gun violence victims, which constitute the majority of cases.
She also noted that victim advocates don’t have training in the nuances of the law as it relates to parole. Insofar as the families are concerned, “[Gascon] is abandoning their constitutional rights and thinks a band-aid of some type of service like counseling will make up for his refusal to protect their rights.”
“Duties of the lifer unit include keeping victims and families of victims informed and keeping the county in line with the rights of crime victims enshrined in the California constitution,” Los Angeles Magazine explained.
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