LA Deputy DAs Sue to Block Gascón’s Pro-Criminal Directives
A civil lawsuit filed the Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) in Los Angeles Superior Court this morning is seeking a writ of mandate to prohibit newly-elected DA George Gascón from forcing the prosecutors in his office to violate California charging and sentencing law. In those directives, the District Attorney ordered deputy district attorneys to dismiss pending strike priors, special circumstance enhancements, gang enhancements, firearm allegations, and certain other “felony prior” enhancements. The directives prohibited the filing of strike prior enhancements in new cases. A statement regarding the lawsuit from the AADA notes that the directives violate California law, which imposes a mandatory duty on prosecutors to plead and prove strike priors. Dismissals of those priors can only be based on individual circumstances, not a blanket policy. Similarly, special circumstance allegations that will result in a life without parole sentence cannot be dismissed under the section cited by the directive.
“Los Angeles County prosecutors have been placed in an impossible position. Do we follow our legal and ethical responsibilities and risk getting disciplined, even fired, by our new boss? Or do we follow his policy directives and risk losing our California State Bar Cards and, by extension, our ability to practice law anywhere in the state? We’re asking a court to answer those questions,” stated ADDA Vice President Eric Siddall.