The District Attorney
ABOUT THE JOB:
The District Attorney in Los Angeles County is responsible for the prosecuting individuals charged with felony or misdemeanor crimes, handles specialized felony cases involving narcotics, gang-related crimes, sex crimes, child abuse, child abduction, consumer and environmental protection, domestic violence, major frauds, insurance frauds and elder abuse. The District Attorney also assists crime victims and witnesses and conducts office hearings to resolve neighborhood disputes and minor criminal complaints outside the criminal court system. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office is the largest in the country.
Term: 4 Years (No term limits)
Can Help You With: Going to jail or prison
Cannot Help You With: Prosecuting rogue police officers who kill unarmed people or white Democratic donors who have Black men dropping dead in their apartments of crystal meth overdoses–but we are hoping that changes soon.
Jackie Lacey has to go. From her failure to charge Ed Buck to her reluctance to charge rouge police officers who kill unarmed people–she-has got-to-go.
But make no mistake, George will have to go too if he gets into office and doesn’t do right.
Los Angeles is already a bastion of crime and the last thing we need to do is make it worse by giving the impression that you can do whatever you want to whomever you want and there will no consequences. Now we can discuss later what those consequences are because they don’t always have to be long ass prison sentences and hefty fines can’t nobody afford to pay.
A lot of voters have expressed trepidation with supporting George–as have I. While I want to see the criminal justice system reformed, police officers charged when it warrants and everyone treated fairly under the law–that’s not the same as saying I want violent criminals roaming the streets free and no jails. Uh uh. I like jails and prisons just fine for the people who actually need to be in them. Remember, I did my best to help usher Ed Buck into the cell he currently occupies at 535 Alameda Street.
The problem with the current system is harsh sentencing laws like mandatory minimums, combined with cutbacks in parole release, that keep people in prison for longer periods of time. The National Research Council reported that half of the 222% growth in the state prison population between 1980 and 2010 was due to an increase of time served in prison for all offenses. There has also been a historic rise in the use of life sentences: one in nine people in prison is now serving a life sentence, nearly a third of whom are sentenced to life without parole. That needs to change.
Sentencing policies, implicit racial bias, and socioeconomic inequity contribute to racial disparities at every level of the criminal justice system. Today, people of color make up 37% of the U.S. population but 67% of the prison population. Overall, Black people are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, they are more likely to face stiff sentences. Black men are six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men and Hispanic men are more than twice as likely to be incarcerated as non-Hispanic white men.
What we need and what DA Jackie Lacey has stood in the way of is smart reform that recognizes that mass incarceration is not an effective means of achieving public safety.
We need to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences and reduce the number of lengthy sentences by making a 20-year maximum on prison terms. We need to prioritize shifting resources to community-based prevention and treatment for substance abuse.
For me, it is very important that we remove the barriers–not add more-that make it harder for people to reintegrate back into society after they’ve paid their debt to society. DA Lacey has not shown that she is willing to do that except for in tough times when she can get a bump in her bid for re-election. (Yeah girl, we remember your original position on expunging weed convictions.)
We also need to address the policies and practices, conscious or not, that contribute to racial inequity at every stage of the justice system.
And I cannot ignore the fact that the police unions in Los Angeles County have bought and paid for District Attorney Jackie Lacey and she has delivered for them every step of the way. Throughout her time in office, she has shown herself to be unwilling to prosecute police officers and sheriff’s deputies in the most troubling and egregious cases.
Independent expenditures–campaigns that can raise all the money they want to help a candidate– have raised $2.2 million in contributions to benefit Lacey’s re-election as DA.
Nearly all of that $2.2 million has come from law enforcement unions. Who do you think she’s beholden to?
I am not a person who believes that every single law enforcement officer who kills someone should be prosecuted. What would you do if someone started shooting at you and you had a gun and could shoot back? I know what I’d do.
However, I do believe that every single law enforcement officer who kills someone or uses excessive force against someone who is unarmed, has their back turned to them, is running away, is not a threat, or is involved in some other questionable circumstance, should be prosecuted so a jury should decide their fate–not the District Attorney who’s been bought and paid for by that officer’s union.
I am supporting George Gascón with the caveat that, I’ll be watching and paying close attention.
There are no more guaranteed lifetime positions for elected officials.
Just ask former Sheriff Jim McDonnell and soon to be former Sheriff Alex Villanueva and District Attorney Jackie Lacey.
For George Gascón, he should consider his first term, if elected, as a probationary period. We’ll see how he does, evaluate his performance, and act accordingly.
Times have changed. When it came to the District Attorney, the tougher on crime you were, the more electable you were. That’s not the case today.
Today we demand a District Attorney that isn’t bought by police unions and isn’t afraid to prosecute police officers when they break the law. We want a DA that doesn’t criminalize being homeless or mentally ill and understands that we cannot use jail to rid our streets of people we just don’t want to see or be bothered with. Jackie Lacey has proven that she is not that person. It’s time to move on to someone new. Vote for George Gascón for District Attorney on Nov. 3.
You can read all of my endorsements in my 2020 Voter Guide by clicking here.