Why LA Must Show the Gascon the Door
If Los Angeles district attorney George Gascon has his way, the City of Angels will have sex offenders and violent criminals in their teens roaming free, under the pretext that they are juveniles. Never mind that they may be repeat offenders. Never mind that such leniency will encourage gangs to get their work done by those who should be in school or on the playground.
Thankfully, there is growing outrage against Gascon’s abominable ideas, and a campaign to have him recalled is gathering steam. It must succeed so that Los Angeles is spared the fate of San Francisco, which Gascon (as DA in 2011-19) left in shambles and, in the words of former San Francisco deputy DA Nancy Tung, with the reputation of a city “where you can commit a crime and get away with it.”
In L.A., Gascon’s Restorative Enhanced Diversion for Youth Pathway (REDY) program extends the privilege accorded to juveniles who have committed relatively minor offenses to those accused of serious and violent crimes. Such leniency will only reinforce criminal behavior by giving juvenile delinquents an early taste of impunity. Moreover, this is a dangerous perversion of the rationale behind handling juvenile criminals with kid gloves.
Why would a DA, whose job, first and foremost, is to deter crime through efficient prosecution, even consider letting serious crimes go unpunished? Why would someone in the hard-nosed business of presenting evidence and bringing criminals to justice step out of his domain to entertain quixotic ideas about criminal sociology that are best left to experts and the deliberative process of legislation?
The answers are connected to the leftist-anarchist agenda for destroying America. At another level, they relate to Gascon’s zero experience as an attorney. Perhaps also to the complex, wrongheaded psychology of a former police officer who is striving too hard to project himself as a progressive using the language of the “woke” social sciences. Witness his propensities for abstractions, like the name of his REDY program and his statement that his focus is on “long-term sustainable solutions.” Even the left-leaning New York Times ran an article about Gascon’s ‘reforms’, asking, ‘How Far is Too Far?’
The leftist-anarchist agenda for America is backed by multi-billionaire George Soros. In his 2019 book, In Defense of Open Society, Soros outlined a case to re-engineer the U.S. justice system. In 2014, he contributed $50 million to the American Civil Liberties Union’s Campaign to End Mass Incarceration, designed to cut U.S. imprisonment rates by 50% by 2020. He has poured millions into the election of ‘progressive’ district attorneys -- “active catalysts for change” -- who will put his ideas into practice across the country, including in California, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and several other states. He has also backed campaigns to slash police budgets.
Unsurprisingly, wherever Soros has succeeded, the consequences have been disastrous; crime has risen precipitously and conviction rates have plummeted. Perhaps the worst is playing out in Los Angeles, the largest county and biggest jail system in the U.S. Here, Gascon has served his master’s agenda faithfully. His very arrival was a surprise. Fresh from wreaking havoc as DA in San Francisco, the massively unpopular Gascon made an announcement a month before an election in which his position was in play that he was resigning his S.F. post to run in L.A.
Facing Jackie Lacey in the race for DA, Gascon received $2.25 million from Soros and additional funding from the Working Families Party, a group closely allied with the Communist Party USA, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Squad member Rep. Ayanna Presley, Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom, and Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who mobilized her supporters to work for Gascon’s campaign. In short, Gascon is beholden to the leftist-anarchist ecosystem.
The second factor -- his ignorance of the cut-and-thrust of the courtroom -- is best set out by Tung, his former deputy, who wrote scathingly of the “massive attrition” at his S.F. office and the demoralization of staff who know their supposed leader has never been in their shoes in court. She generously gave her boss a B-minus.
Once sworn in as L.A.’s district attorney, Gascon, whose first meeting was with BLM, pledged to end “tough on crime” prosecutions, release inmates from overcrowded prisons and hold police accountable for misconduct. He wrote an open letter to the LAPD accusing them of engaging in “unconstitutional policing.” In addition, he said, “juveniles would no longer be prosecuted as adults, regardless of their circumstances or criminal history.” True to his word -- and to the horror of many, including his staff -- he introduced REDY as a pilot program in November and expanded it to include juveniles who have used weapons or force to commit robbery or sexual assault.
Like Tung, Gascon’s deputy in L.A., John McKinney, is frustrated and alarmed. He wants the new provisions removed, especially because sexual battery against children by older teens is a big problem in the county. He also describes other REDY provisions as grossly irresponsible and gravely impacting safety, citing a spate of smash-and-grab robberies by juveniles. He characterizes the program as political payback -- a means for Gascon to show Soros and his other supporters that he is promoting their political agenda. Public safety isn’t part of the equation.
Gascon has also ignored harsh practicalities: there is a shortage of programs that accept youthful offenders from L.A. County. Those with strict eligibility criteria will not accept gang members, juveniles who used a weapon, or any antisocial youth seen as unresponsive to the treatment they provide. So these criminals will remain at large, without any oversight. Plus, with the advent of the pandemic, even appropriate candidates are being counseled via Zoom meetings. In all ways, REDY is a golden opportunity for adult felons to solicit a juvenile to commit violent crimes while they watch from the periphery.
With Gascon continuing to roll back all tough-on-crime measures like the death penalty, the elimination of criminal enhancement, and the prosecution of juveniles who commit serious crimes, it’s not difficult to understand why there’s an effort to have him recalled. At a December 8th press conference, he boasted of turning around the criminal-legal system to make it “more humane, more equitable” -- again the newspeak beloved by the Left.
But L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, from the trenches of crime-fighting, had a sharp and relevant response. He said he had hoped Gascon would use the press conference to resign “…which is what anyone would expect from a DA who will not prosecute criminals, values offenders over victims, and has received a formal vote of no confidence from 31 cities.”
The crime figures Villanueva gives also scream for Gascon to go: L.A. homicide rates rose 36% in 2020, and figures for 2021 so far make it 92%. Assault, arson, rapes -- all up. The sheriff links the uptick to the refusal to prosecute 2,690 cases that would normally have been prosecuted -- that’s 30% of all cases.
Taxpayers are having to hire security to protect themselves. Private security executive Joel Glucksman has seen an 80% increase in requests this year, thanks to the “revolving door at the back end because the DA doesn’t want to prosecute and got rid of cash bail.” Frustrated police officers keep arresting the same offenders who are released back onto the streets in short order.
Disastrous District Attorney George Gascon has got to go!
Image: Shaun Calhoun
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