George Gascon, Los Angeles County’s new district attorney who was heavily backed by leftist megadonor George Soros, announced on Monday radical changes that he would pursue, including getting rid of cash bail, declining prosecutions for numerous misdemeanor crimes, and banning prosecutors from seeking enhanced prison sentences.
“The dramatic reversals of deeply ingrained, traditional law enforcement strategies in the nation’s largest district attorney’s office, also will include a review of thousands of old cases to determine whether lighter sentences or prisoner releases should be sought, Gascón said in a speech during his swearing-in ceremony,” The Los Angeles Times reported. “The reforms announced Monday added to a list of moves Gascón vowed to make during a contentious election against the incumbent district attorney, Jackie Lacey, including a promise to bar his prosecutors from seeking the death penalty in new cases and to end the practice of trying juveniles as adults. He followed through on both issues Monday, announcing them among the slew of new policies he is implementing.”
Gascon issued a directive to prosecutors notifying them that the following misdemeanors would be declined for criminal prosecution moving forward, with exemptions: Trespassing, Disturbing The Peace, Driving Without A Valid License, Loitering To Commit Prostitution and Resisting Arrest.
“The purpose of the Diversion Policy Directive is to utilize remediation to protect public safety, promote individual rehabilitation, and encourage prosecutorial discretion,” the directive stated.
NEW: L.A. County DA George Gascon has issued a directive to prosecutors that the following misdemeanors will be declined for prosecution, with exemptions.
-Disturbing the peace
-Driving without license
Details/exemptions below @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/uVsIC4Dg43
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) December 8, 2020
“I recognize for many this is a new path … whether you are a protester, a police officer or a prosecutor, I ask you to walk with me. I ask you to join me on this journey,” Gascon said. “We can break the multigenerational cycles of violence, trauma and arrest and recidivism that has led America to incarcerate more people than any other nation.”
A veteran prosecutor, who requested anonymity because they feared retaliation, told The Angeles Times that Gascon’s “policies are a slap in the face to crime victims — both past victims and the ones to come.”
“His blanket policies do not take into account that we are the only people standing between truly dangerous criminals and the general public,” the prosecutor added. “I am already getting concerned emails from concerned victims. What am I supposed to say to them?”
The Los Angeles Times reported in November that Gascon had been boosted over incumbent Jackie Lacey, by millions of dollars from Soros and philanthropist Patty Quillin, whose husband is Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. Because people are limited to how much money they can give directly to campaigns, the majority of the money given by bigtime donors are given to Super PACs. Soros was the top donor in the race, giving $2,250,000 to back Gascon.
Fox News highlighted several local attorneys who won with Soros’ backing this election cycle, including Shalena Cook Jones, the Democrat district attorney-elect for Chatham County in Georgia and St. Louis Democrat Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner.
This report has been updated to include additional information.