What Is the New Los Angeles District Attorney's DA's Background? What Are Some Of The Big Changes That Have Come To LA?
Part of being a great criminal defense attorney is knowing your opponents. In most of my cases, my opponent is the district attorney's office.
As a former police officer, you would think that the new head DA, George Gascon, would be tough on crime. That said, a lot of his opponents do not agree with that statement.
He took over the district attorney's office in San Francisco, and approximately 40% of the prosecutors there quit because of his policies. They're kind of the opposite.
They're conservative law enforcement with conservative prosecutorial methods. And so, you'd think he didn't stand a chance against Jackie Lacey, who was a long-time prosecutor in Los Angeles. She had gotten a lot of respect. She worked her way up to the DA's office.
Abolishing the Three-Strikes Law in Los Angeles
Consequently, has the DA changed things? The answer is absolutely, yes. When the new DA was sworn in a couple of weeks ago, he put out a new policy manual for his deputies.
It has basically changed their policies on a number of different things, including effectively abolishing the three-strikes law in Los Angeles. However, the three-strikes law still applies to the rest of California.
All of the surrounding counties still utilize the three-strikes law and send people to prison for long periods of time based on it. He's basically ordered all of his deputies not to use any prior strikes against people who have been convicted of new offenses.
If there are any cases pending right now, which I personally have many, he's ordered them to ask the judges to strike the strikes.
A lot of the judges in Los Angeles are refusing to do so. However, they can file an amended complaint, which could be effective in getting rid of those strikes.
Strike All Special Allegations
He's also ordered them to strike all special allegations, which is huge because that includes:
- great bodily injury allegations,
- weapon allegations, and
- a host of other allegations that bring years in prison.
Therefore, he's definitely changed the landscape.
Presumption of Probation in Felony Cases
Another big change relates to how the DAs prosecute felony cases. When the DAs prosecute felonies in Los Angeles County, they are to assume that the defendant gets probation instead of prison time. The defense used to have to beg them for a non-prison sentence. Now, he's taking the opposite path.
If the prosecutor wants to give somebody prison time and go against his policy, they have to submit a memo to the director of the district attorney's office, which is basically controlled by his people. Only then will the defendant possibly get prison instead of probation.
A lot of the DAs have basically revolted. Some of the revolts have been discreet. They've told judges that they are instructed to follow the policies versus putting it in the record.
However, that is a dangerous move. A lot of the head prosecutors are going to be switched to different positions, and he will most likely bring in his own people who will take over the 38 courthouses in Los Angeles County.
Crimes Not Included for Removing Special Allegations
When that occurs, they'll really start to enact his policy in an effective manner. He has, however, retracted certain allegations for
- sex-related offenses,
- hate crimes,
- crimes against children, and
- elderly people.
He's not using his policy on those offenses. It is yet to be seen whether he retracts anything else. We'll see how his office reacts to his policies. We'll also see what the judges will do to try to block his policies.
As a criminal defense attorney, I am going to do everything I can for my clients to ensure that the pendulum swings in their direction. My job is to make sure that they're treated fairly, and that their rights and liberties are protected.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436.
We serve people is all Southern California courts, including LA County, Orange County, Ventura County, Hollywood, Pasadena, Torrance, Riverside, and San Bernardino.
Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.