It’s been nearly three years, and the protests outside Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s office are only getting bigger. What started as several hundred people gathered outside the Hall of Justice has swelled into the thousands as demonstrators call for the ouster of Lacey, the first Black district attorney in the nation’s most populous county, for failing to prosecute police officers who kill civilians.
Former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón seemed on a daunting course last fall when he left to challenge his two-term counterpart in Los Angeles as a progressive reformer. It’s never easy to engage a county of 10 million people on any issue, and police misconduct and racial inequities in the criminal justice system were hardly top-of-mind issues for most voters at the end of 2019.
Demonstrators gathered in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon to protest Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, who has come under fire for not prosecuting more police officers for misconduct.
The planned protest follows weeks of marches across the region, expressing outrage at police brutality and the killing of George Floyd. Lacey, who is locked in a runoff for reelection, was targeted by protesters last week.
The widespread fury over George Floyd’s death provides a sudden window of opportunity for a national movement that has tried for years to remake the criminal justice landscape through high-profile prosecutor races around the country.
Amid reports from across the country about escalating clashes between protesters and law enforcement, it’s worth looking underneath the images for the roots of the outrage. It is the extrajudicial killings of unarmed people by police, and not the protests against them, that too often spark the cycle of violence and death in the United States. It is the cruel and unyielding knee on the neck of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and thousands of other police officer knees, fists and trigger fingers that undermine public safety and instill fear.
Los Angeles County is the nation’s largest prosecutorial jurisdiction and its district attorney should be a leader and a trendsetter in the administration of justice. Gascón could be that leader. He’s the better choice than Lacey. Gascón is an innovative thinker and experienced administrator who is adept at using data to craft policy and monitor progress. He is an advocate for effective reform in a way that Lacey is not.
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris has thrown her support behind George Gascón in his bid to unseat Jackie Lacey as Los Angeles County’s top prosecutor, campaign officials said Tuesday. Harris — who served as San Francisco district attorney for seven years before Gascón took over the office in 2011 — called Gascón a “proven leader” in the criminal justice reform movement.
El distrito necesita un nuevo líder para avanzar en ámbitos importantes como la prevención de muertes a manos de policías, la implementacón de la legalización de marihuana y, especialmente, que los fiscales ya no pidan más la pena de muerte.
Gascón has vowed to prioritize and use data to focus on violent and repeat offenders, while pursuing alternatives to incarceration when it makes sense to do so. With L.A. County’s justice system full of people with mental health and substance-abuse problems, it’s time to try something new. We endorse Gascón.
Los Angeles County Democrats endorsed former San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascón over incumbent Jackie Lacey on Tuesday night, intensifying what’s expected to be a hard-fought race to determine who will serve as the county’s top prosecutor beyond 2020.
On a host of issues—including police shootings, bail reform, marijuana legalization, and the death penalty—critics say Lacey, once seen as a reformer, has sought to preserve the status quo.
In other parts of the country, progressive prosecutors who are promising to end mass incarceration, abolish cash bail, dole out shorter sentences, and end the disparity in sentencing of people of color are remaking the criminal justice system. Up until now, this reform wave has yet to touch Los Angeles County. The current L.A. County District Attorney, Jackie Lacey, first elected in 2012, has largely approached the job as a traditional tough-on-crime prosecutor. Now she’s got a serious 2020 primary challenger in George Gascón.
Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey’s campaign cut ties with a political fundraiser Friday after learning that it helped to organize an event this year aimed at boosting President Trump’s reelection campaign, marking a politically awkward moment for Lacey as she seeks Democratic endorsements in her own reelection bid.
All over the nation, organizers are calling attention to the tremendous power of prosecutors and demanding reforms that protect public safety and accountability for all communities, especially black people, people of color and poor people.
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT–This month, I joined fellow faith leaders on the steps of the Hall of Justice to deliver a letter urging Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey to stop seeking the death penalty. The letter, signed by more than 110 faith leaders from communities across L.A., expresses our collective regret and dismay that the death penalty is still very much alive in our community, and asks DA Lacey to bring the immoral, unjust, and irreversible practice to an end.
For months, George Gascon, a former beat cop, police chief and then district attorney of San Francisco, has weighed a run for the same job in Los Angeles. On Monday morning, with a backdrop at the hulking Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles, a symbol of the city’s place as the nation’s largest jailer, Mr. Gascon said he was finally entering the race, setting up what activists have described as the most important district attorney’s race in America.
Former San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascon said Monday that he will challenge Jackie Lacey to become Los Angeles County’s top prosecutor next year in a race that may test the political mood for criminal justice reform in one of the nation’s most progressive and diverse cities.
We have no problem asking Lacey what she’s done for us lately. We’re interested in hearing about the cops she has not prosecuted for excessive force and the criminal justice reforms she has not supported, among other things. Gascon, meanwhile, has not just supported but has written or initiated many important reforms.
Now, those two views on criminal justice that were nurtured in the tumult of South Los Angeles — locking up criminals versus finding ways to keep people out of prison — are likely to be at the center of one of the most widely watched local elections next year.
“Making our communities safer and more equitable remains my life’s work, and I’m simply not ready to slow down and put public service behind me,” Gascon wrote.
Gascón established himself as one of the country’s most progressive district attorneys during his eight years in office. Activist groups have been pushing him for months to run in Los Angeles, where he began his law enforcement career in the city’s Police Department more than four decades ago. Los Angeles County has the largest district attorney’s office and jail system in the country and is viewed as a crucial battleground in the national criminal justice reform movement.
In an open letter released Wednesday, 75 legal experts implored Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey to stop seeking the death penalty for those on trial in L.A. County. Released on the heels of a report last month which found that only people of color had been sentenced to death within the county over the past seven years, the letter notes that, “The American death penalty is broken in every way… It is time for us to stop pretending that the death penalty can or should work.”
“This race is a huge opportunity,” said Anne Irwin, a lawyer and director of Smart Justice California, an advocacy group. “Los Angeles has the biggest prosecutors office, and affects more lives, than any other prosecutors office in the country. Electing a reform-minded prosecutor there will change the criminal justice landscape nationally,” she said.
Gascón has been on the front lines of criminal justice reform and police accountability… Lacey is a more traditional law-and-order prosecutor.
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón has proposed a Sentencing Review Unit that exemplifies how a new wave of prosecutors are embracing this challenge and revisiting past excessive sentences.
Advocates and attorneys say Jackie Lacey’s rhetoric doesn’t match her actions.
The contributions are at odds with the district attorney’s prior public statements about the ethics of campaign donations. Lacey condemned an opponent during the 2012 race for taking money from a man convicted of fraud a decade earlier.
Since Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey took office, every defendant who has been sentenced to death in the county is a person of color, a report shows.
At a news conference Wednesday, Nixon expressed withering criticism of the district attorney’s investigation of Moore’s 2017 death and said she was grateful that federal investigators now are involved in the case. “I did not see that coming,” Nixon said of the federal charges. “I was so happy … that it got snatched from Jackie Lacey.” “Jackie Lacey, she dragged her feet,” Nixon added.
Jackie Lacey, the Los Angeles district attorney, proclaims that she is taking serious steps to treat mentally ill people thrust into the justice system with dignity and respect… But digging beneath the surface of her record reveals surprisingly little substance…The reality is that DA Lacey represents a Los Angeles that has fallen behind most US cities on making a more humane justice system.
Attorneys for the mother of Gemmel Moore, a 26-year-old man who died of a methamphetamine overdose at the home of Ed Buck, have filed an amendment to a wrongful death lawsuit that targets Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Assistant Head Deputy Attorney Craig Hum for failing to properly investigate and charge Buck after Moore’s death in 2017.
District attorneys once won election to office in California by promising to treat young offenders like subhuman super-predators, to be locked away forever. In ballot measures and legislative elections, voters have signaled that they want something different. Maybe it’s time prosecutors start listening.
It’s disheartening that Los Angeles County’s top prosecutor, Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, hasn’t embraced some criminal justice reforms.
Los Angeles County’s District Attorney said Friday she is not going to follow the lead of her counterparts in San Francisco and San Diego, who are dismissing or reducing thousands of past misdemeanor and felony marijuana convictions.
A prosecutor who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation said the payment to Nishita does nothing to change the culture in the District Attorney’s Office. She alleges District Attorney Jackie Lacey has protected sexual harassers in the office and retaliated against victims and whistleblowers who speak out.
Prosecutors say Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey isn’t doing enough to protect sexual harassment whistleblowers in her office.
The extraordinary action makes San Francisco the first major city in the country to shut down juvenile hall in an effort to eliminate the jailing of children.
“Prosecutors should act to address the inherent unfairness of penalizing people for activity that is no longer illegal,” Gascón said in a statement. “Using technology, we have been able to proactively bring greater racial equity and fairness to marijuana legalization in California. I am thrilled to see other counties and states following suit by offering similar relief in their communities. It’s the right thing to do.”
“The question we want to ask ourselves is, ‘Would you charge based just on the behavior, without the race and other demographic information?’” said Mr. Gascón. “We wanted to see what might be causing a disparate application of the law.”
She is opposed to Proposition 62, which repeals the death penalty. She joins the state’s district attorneys supporting Prop 66, which accelerates the death penalty appellate process. “It’s ridiculous – the delays and antiquated rules,” Lacey said. She does not support the initiative legalizing marijuana, Proposition 64.
It’s time to put the war on drugs in the rearview mirror. Prop. 47 is helping us make that happen.
Public safety and the fair administration of justice require that everyone feels safe reporting crimes and testifying in court. Courts need to be safe zones, but with rhetoric coming out of Washington, D.C. that demonizes immigrants and threatens mass deportations, entering a courtroom is more daunting than ever. Public safety is suffering as a result.
California’s money bail system is broken, unjust and unsafe. Reform is long overdue. It needlessly keeps too many people behind bars, weakening their connection to positive facets of their lives — jobs, housing, treatment and family. What’s worse, money is a terrible proxy for dangerousness, and some individuals simply pose too great a public safety risk to be released.
Justice reform in America is at a crossroads. A bitter partisan divide, scare tactics and false choices about public safety threaten to erode the positive changes of the last decade.
Drug abuse, like mental illness, should be treated primarily as a public health problem, not a criminal problem. Our overreliance on prisons has proved to be the most destructive drug of all. It is time to wean ourselves off this dependence
The truth is, the death penalty is broken beyond repair, will always risk innocent lives and is a waste of taxpayer dollars. The only viable solution is to replace it with life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Technology has a proven role in preventing crime. When auto theft was on the rise in the 1990s, manufacturers created anti-theft technology that greatly reduced vehicle thefts nationwide. Law enforcement worked hand in hand with manufacturers to harness a technological solution then, preventing crime and victimization. We urge the wireless industry to join us now so we can repeat our previous success and protect wireless consumers everywhere.
In my 30 years in law enforcement, I have often witnessed the unintended consequences of well-meaning but poorly developed public safety policies. Few have had as profound an impact on our constitutional rights as the widespread use of immigration holds issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. What the federal government touts as a sound public safety practice is having a chilling effect on local law enforcement’s effectiveness.
In my three decades in law enforcement, I have watched as needlessly harsh penalties have overcrowded our prisons, bankrupted our state, and fed a costly and unnecessary cycle of crime. As U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently put it, there are simply “too many people in jail for too long, and for not necessarily good reasons.” What’s worse, overincarceration is making Californians less safe, not more.
Members of the law enforcement community must sound their voices in support of comprehensive immigration reform for the sake of public safety and for the sake of our country.
As law enforcement leaders, we must have the courage to face the fact that locking everyone up is not winning. Recognizing that jails and prisons are not the answer to every crime or every offender is a paradigm shift that flies in the face of assumptions that we have built upon for many years. Yet, by grounding our work in a commitment to improving public safety, prosecutors can lead the way in reforming our sentencing laws and practices.
Under Prop. 36, up to 3,000 nonviolent “three strikes” inmates will have an opportunity to petition for a shorter sentence, pending a judicial determination that the inmate is no longer a risk to society. This will stop life sentences for nonviolent, nonserious crimes and make room in prison for our most violent criminals.