New Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon has come into the job like a wrecking ball. Gascon is looking to implement a number of reform policies that are so extreme, the union that represents most of the prosecutors who work at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office are now asking for a restraining order that would block him from implementing those policies. The union claims some of his new reform policies are unethical or even illegal for prosecutors to carry out.
In a letter delivered to county officials, including Gascon, The Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County said that a number of the district attorney’s reform-oriented directives conflict with both the DA’s office and individual prosecutor’s obligations under California law. Those directives include barring prosecutors from seeking sentencing enhancements for prior convictions under three strikes, and blanket orders to dismiss various elements from cases still pending.
In the letter sent by the association, attorney Eric M. George said, Gascon’s directives would require deputy district attorneys to “violate the law, violate their oaths, …and violate their ethical duties as officers of the court.”
On Gascon’s first day in office, he banned the use of strikes and ordered prosecutors to dismiss strike allegations that had already been filed, “in the interest of justice”
Aside from the restraining orders, Gascon’s office is caught up in another controversy as a special advisor in his office is reported to have offered a “sweetheart” deal to a gang member murder suspect behind the back of the prosecutor in the case.
The murder suspect was offered a seven-year plea deal without the prosecutors’ knowledge. At the hearing, attorney Sam Dordulian who is representing the victim’s family, said, “That’s the kind of back door underhanded unethical deal that is just completely inappropriate, and yet it was done on this case, or yet they tried to do it.”