Two deputies district attorneys (DDAs) in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office have been punished for following a parole policy announced last December by newly elected District Attorney George Gascon. The reason; following his policy to allow the release of a serial rapist would have made Gascon look bad. Shortly after his election last fall, Gascon issued a group of “Special Directives” that prosecutors in his office were required to follow. Directive 20-14 states; “This Office’s default policy is that we will not attend parole hearings and will support in writing the grant of parole for a person who has already served their mandatory minimum period of incarceration…However, if the CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) has determined in their Comprehensive Risk Assessment that a person represents a “high” risk of recidivism, the DDA may, in their letter, take a neutral position on the grant of parole.” There are no exceptions for violent criminals, including murderers and rapists, in the written policy.
Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, a Democratic abolitionist favoring eliminating the police, and an adamant supporter of groups such as Antifa, has won the primary to be on the ballot for election to the Seattle City Attorney’s Office. If elected, Thomas-Kennedy, will “single-handedly become the greatest threat to Seattle” says Seattle-based talk show host, Jason Rantz.
…..except when they don’t. One particularly dreadful case of a “progressive” prosecutor, Steven Descano, betraying a crime victim is the one set out below, in which Descano agreed to a sweetheart deal with a fellow who, over several years when the victim was in grade school, sodomized her again and again.
The Washington Post, not exactly a friend of stern law enforcement, has the story. The perversion of justice in this case is so bad that the girl’s family has retained an attorney to fight the plea deal before the sentencing judge. (Full disclosure: I’m a resident of Descano’s district, Fairfax County, Virginia, and contributed to the campaign of his election opponent, former AUSA Jonathan Fahey).
The Metropolitan News-Enterprise has this story on George Gascón and a few other “woke” California District Attorneys supporting the murderer in the recent California Supreme Court case of People v. McDaniel. (See earlier posts on the decision here and here.) The Met is an LA legal paper, so the story focuses on Gascón and the criticism of his friend-of-the-murderer brief by former DA Steve Cooley, among others.
Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, whose office in 2004 obtained a death sentence for double-murderer Donte McDaniel, has taken to task the county’s present chief prosecutor, George Gascón, for joining in an amicus curiae brief in support of that inmate, whose novel legal proposition, spurned last week by the California Supreme Court, would have resulted in the sentences of about 700 persons being upset.
The family of an elderly couple brutally murdered by a habitual criminal in 1996, have asked a Los Angeles County judge to remove the prosecutor in a hearing where double-murderer Samuel Zamudio is seeking to overturn his conviction. Scott Schwebke of the East Bay Times reports that Diana Teran, the deputy Gascón assigned to the case, was a defense attorney until last April 1, when she went on loan to the DAs office and is still receiving a $218,000 salary from the Public Defender’s Office. The attorney representing the victims’ family told the court that having a defense attorney serving as a prosecutor presents an “inherent conflict of interest.”
One of the most devastating changes to California law in recent years was Proposition 57, Jerry Brown’s “Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act,” adopted by voters in 2016. Everything about the initiative was a lie. It was not about public safety and rehabilitation, it was designed to release thousands of hardcore criminals from prison, years and sometimes decades early. Governor Brown claimed it would only allow non-violent criminals qualify for early release, but District Attorneys and the Courts determined that anyone, including criminals convicted of forcible rape and murder would qualify. The initiative also removed all control over who gets released early and how long a sentence they must serve from the legislature and placed it with the Governor and his Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Weeks ago the CDCR announced that it intended to make up to 76,000 prison inmates, including rapists and murderers serving life terms, eligible for parole and early release. This could not happen without Governor Gavin Newsom’s approval. 43 District Attorneys, led by Sacramento DA Anne Marie Schubert, are suing to block this policy.
Mark Calvey of The San Francisco Business Times has this story discussing a survey of City residents measuring their overall concerns about their environment. The article states the following:
Amid sharply rising concerns about crime and quality-of-life issues, 44% of respondents to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s annual CityBeat poll say they intend to leave the city in the next few years. The CityBeat survey found that homelessness and “street behavior” is a top concern for 65% of respondents, with crime and open-air drug-dealing a top concern for 46%. Longstanding problems facing San Francisco residents — housing affordability and cost of living — were far behind, cited as top concerns by 19% and 10%, respectively.
In a City Journal article former District Attorney Thomas Hogan notes that progressive DAs are abusing their discretion to set countywide policies to prevent the enforcement of laws enacted to discourage and punish crime.
Baltimore is not prosecuting shoplifting or drug-possession crimes. Despite recent violent protests and occupations, St. Louis is not pursuing cases for looting and rioting, while Portland isn’t pursuing charges for trespassing. Philadelphia won’t allow prostitution charges. San Francisco is not prosecuting indecent exposure offenses. Chicago declines arrests for thefts of less than $1,000.
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón’s Special Directive 20-08, forbids the deputies working for him from applying sentencing enhancements to charges against criminals, even for violent crimes. As reported by Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) President Michele Hanisee today:
Nearly all…crimes are probation eligible. Murder is probation eligible. Carjacking is probation eligible. Kidnapping is probation eligible. What typically causes a crime to be ineligible for probation is the addition of a sentencing enhancement, for example, use of a deadly weapon or infliction of great bodily injury. But since filing all but a handful of sentencing enhancements is prohibited, nearly every crime remains probation eligible. Thus – even for murder – the presumptive offer for those roughly 95,000 plus cases for which plea bargains are offered must be probation absent “extraordinary circumstances.”
The directive does not define what qualifies as “extraordinary circumstances.” What does that mean in the context of a murder case, or a carjacking case? But by definition, “extraordinary circumstances” will be a rare exception. The rule is that prosecutors must offer a plea bargain that results in the defendant going home on probation rather than serving time in custody. Even for murder.
The NYPost has this story on a 94-year-old Asian woman, Ann Taylor, who was stabbed by a man who was under ankle monitor surveillance when he committed this unprovoked attack against her in front of her San Francisco residence. The man, Daniel Cauich, “…had reportedly been arrested five times last year on burglary charges, was sprung by a judge on June 7 to await his trial after his most recent arrest for burglary on May 18.”