Woke DAs Supporting Murderers
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.
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Cooley said on Saturday, in reference to the brief:
“This undertaking is absolutely inconsistent with the proper and statutory role of a public prosecutor.”
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He added that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors “is funding this lunacy and other instances of Gascón’s bizarre personnel decisions, retaliation law suits, hostile work environment settlements, and on and on.”
Two LA judges were also critical.
And then there is my comment, in response to the reporter’s question of whether it is unethical for a prosecutor to support a defendant:
Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, who filed an amicus brief calling for rejection of McDaniel’s argument, said that support by prosecutors of “a position of a defendant in a particular case, it happens now and then, and sometimes it is justified.” He continued:
“The Attorney General agreed with the defendant in the U.S. Supreme Court in Lange v. California this term, and the Supreme Court agreed 7-2. I cannot say as a blanket rule that agreeing with the defendant is always wrong for a prosecutor. It is not ‘improper’ in the sense of violating any ethics rule.”
“What is wrong in the McDaniel case, in my opinion, is supporting a murderer with a far-fetched legal theory to create a new, pro-murderer rule that the California Supreme Court has considered and rejected many times over decades, a rule that would overturn the well-deserved sentences of hundreds of murderers. That is supporting injustice rather than justice.”