Gascon Cannot Ignore the Law, says Judge today: County District Attorney Will be Forced to Follow Current Law Rather Than Imposing His Own "Justice Reform" Version
The court ruled as we expected in holding that the District Attorney cannot order his prosecutors to ignore laws that protect the public from repeat offenders.
February 13, 2021
2/8/21: Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant ruled in favor of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County (ADDA) in a lawsuit against District Attorney George Gascón. The ADDA brought a civil lawsuit against the District Attorney to seek a court ruling to clarify Deputy District Attorneys' legal obligations in light of the District Attorney's directives. It is not about the District Attorney's beliefs on what criminal laws should be applied or not applied in cases.
The court ruled as we expected in holding that the District Attorney cannot order his prosecutors to ignore laws that protect the public from repeat offenders. As detailed in our reply brief, the court ruled that the District Attorney's policy violated the law to benefit criminal defendants and ordered him to comply with the law. This ruling protects the communities which are disproportionately affected by higher crime rates and those who are victimized.
The District Attorney, as is his right, may choose to appeal the court's decision, and we respect that. However, as the court ruling makes clear, this decision was based on what the law is and not what an officeholder thinks it should be. We want to thank the many other elected District Attorneys that shared our concerns and strongly supported the litigation that could not be avoided. We continue to respect the District Attorney, and we look forward to working with him and his Administration in furtherance of the interests of justice and our membership.
The ADDA continues to support common-sense criminal justice reform. One of the underpinnings of proposed reform assumes that an entirely new social infrastructure-complete with educational programs, vocational training, counseling, and supervision-will take the place of standard-length prison sentences. However, that infrastructure does not exist. It is difficult to conclude that letting convicted prisoners out early-without the theoretical support system in place-is likely to do anything but expedite recidivism.
The law firm Brown George Ross O'Brien Annaguey & Ellis LLP is representing the ADDA. The Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) is the collective bargaining agent and represents over 800 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles.