Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Alyssa Erdley
News with Attitude 

Santa Monica City Council to Consider a Resolution Demanding Lawful Action by LA County DA George Gascon

Phil Brock puts forward a resolution asking for public safety from the district attorney

 

August 1, 2021

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Armed robber in Rialto. Gascon would not add enhancements for the use of a gun during the commission of the robbery.

July 27, 2021 The City Council will discuss tonight a resolution asking Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon to follow state law regarding bail and sentencing of criminal defendants. The resolution, put forward by Councilmember Phil Brock, does not go so far as to state no confidence in Gascon. But in some ways it goes further than the no-confidence votes of 24 other cities in the county.

Brock's resolution digs into the specific directives Gascon has issued that both violate state law and which badly damage public safety. Brock asks Gascon to follow these specific state laws, laws he says "enhance public safety and protect the general public and victims' rights."

With a nod to the idea that is may be appropriate to sentence alternatively for "many offenses," the resolution, Item 13-O on the agenda, takes issue with three main actions by Gascon. He forbade his staff for asking for cash bail. This contradicts a law that was legislated last November through the California initiative process to keep cash bail. The other two main beefs the resolution has with Gascon is his direction to dismiss without conditions a long list of misdemeanor crimes and his elimination of nearly all sentencing enhancements.

The main thrust of the resolution states, "The City Council of the City of Santa Monica requests that the Office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney uphold the laws of the State of California, whether they were established by the state legislature or the voters of this state, and requests no Special Directives be issued by the Office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney which contradict these laws."

News stories of the region abound with cases of criminal defendants re-offending while released on their own recognizance. One defendants stole a dozen vehicles while out on zero bail, in some cases two in the same day.

In addition, the criminal cases qualifying for zero cash bail under Gascon's directives are astounding. According to Michele Hanisee, President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys (who are suing Gascon so they can do their jobs). They include felony assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, felony domestic violence resulting in a traumatic condition, molestation of a child aged 15 and older, human trafficking of a minor for commercial sex acts - to name only a few.

The misdemeanors Gascon has directed his staff to dismiss include trespassing, disturbing the peace, criminal threats, drinking in public, drug and paraphernalia possession, under the influence of controlled substance in public, public intoxication, resisting arrest, driving without a valid license or with a suspended license, minor in possession of alcohol, loitering, and loitering to commit prostitution.

Gascon has directed his staff not to pursue any sentencing enhancements except for elder and child abuse, hate crimes, and human sex trafficking. This means no sentencing enhancements will be added to cases involving gangs, involving the use of a gun to commit a crime. No prior strikes can add to the sentencing.

Gascon's claim is that "Additional punishment provided by sentencing enhancements or special allegations provide no deterrent effect or public safety benefit of incapacitation--in fact, the opposite may be true, wasting critical financial state and local resources." However, his evidence for this claim is based in push polls, research done by advocacy groups, and a distortion of facts presented by true research, as we have noted in other articles.

Brock is rightfully alarmed by the lawlessness allowed and even encouraged by the current directives issued by DA Gascon. When people are allowed to break into your home, come at you with a knife, or smoke meth at the entrance to a school - with no consequences for any of these actions, then the city becomes unlivable.

Unsurprisingly, George Gascon is the target of a recall campaign. The Facebook group related to his recall has 43,000 members. To date, the campaign has collected 60,000 signatures. To force an election, they must collect 579,062 signatures from registered voters in the county by October 27.

Meanwhile, to voice your support for Santa Monica's resolution demanding law from the law enforcers, email [email protected] by the meeting tonight.

The full text of the resolution is below:

RESOLUTION NUMBER ____ (CCS) (City Council Series)

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL FOR THE CITY OF SANTA MONICA REQUESTING THAT THE OFFICE OF THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY UPHOLD THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA AND RESCIND SPECIAL DIRECTIVES 20-06, 20-07 AND 20-08

WHEREAS, the City of Santa Monica values and places the highest priority on public safety; and

WHEREAS, creating a safe city for everyone is one of the City of Santa Monica’s strategic goals; and

WHEREAS, the City of Santa Monica supports the work of the Santa Monica Police Department; and

WHEREAS, the City of Santa Monica supports the Office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s goal of alternative sentencing for many offenses; and

WHEREAS, the Office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney issued a series of Special Directives in December 2020 including Special Directives 20-06, 20- 07, and 20-08; and

WHEREAS, Special Directive 20-06: Pretrial Release Policy, eliminated cash bail for any misdemeanor, non-serious felony, or non-violent felony offense; and

WHEREAS, Special Directive 20-07: Misdemeanor Case Management, lists numerous misdemeanor charges that will be declined or dismissed before arraignment and without conditions unless “exceptions” or “factors for consideration” exist. These misdemeanor charges include trespassing, disturbing the peace, criminal threats, drinking in public, drug and paraphernalia possession, under the influence of controlled substance in public, public intoxication, resisting arrest, driving without a valid license or with a suspended license, minor in possession of alcohol, loitering, and loitering to commit prostitution; and

WHEREAS, Special Directive 20-08: Sentencing Enhancements/Allegations eliminates several sentence enhancements, including the Three Strikes Law, gang enhancements, and violations of bail; and

WHEREAS, some of the Special Directives issued by the Office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney contradict state laws that were enacted through the state legislature as well as the legislative ballot initiative process to prevent and prosecute crime and protect the general public; and

WHEREAS, it is of the utmost importance for the City of Santa Monica that policies that aim to restructure or amend prosecutorial directives are consistent with state law and issued with reasonable intent and priority to enhance public safety and protect the general public and victims’ rights; and

WHEREAS, the City of Santa Monica strongly believes that accountability must always be present in every decision made by the Office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA MONICA DOES HEREBY RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

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Only because the police decided the defendant was burglarizing the home and not 'merely' trespassing was this man held on bail; he broke into a Santa Monica home occupied by a mother and daughter and took over the living room

SECTION 1. The City Council of the City of Santa Monica requests that the Office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney uphold the laws of the State of California, whether they were established by the state legislature or the voters of this state, and requests no Special Directives be issued by the Office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney which contradict these laws.

SECTION 2. The City Council of the City of Santa Monica requests that the Office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney rescind Special Directives 20-06, 20- 07 and 20-08.

SECTION 3. The City Council of the City of Santa Monica hereby directs staff to transmit this resolution to applicable and interested offices and organizations.

SECTION 4. The City Clerk shall certify to the adoption of this resolution, and thenceforth and thereafter the same shall be in full force and effect.

APPROVED AS TO FORM

________________________ GEORGE S. CARDONA Interim City Attorney

 
 

Reader Comments(1)

ChrisPbacon writes:

The fact that you even have ask a district attorney to follow the law is proof of his catastrophic failure. Since he's not following the law, that makes him a criminal himself because he's creating a lawless society and putting people in harm's way every day. He's breaking the law by not following it, so I wonder why he can't be arrested. I never thought I'd see far-left Santa Monica take public action against Gascon like so many other cities already have. Well, the resolution hasn't passed...yet. When nothing changes, I hope Santa Monica issues their own vote of NO confidence in a month or two.

 
 
 

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