A Lawless DA

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon doesn’t like California’s Three Strikes law, which requires prosecutors to include in their charging documents prior felony convictions—which on conviction for the current crime can seriously extend the penalty for that crime. Pursuant to his dislike, Gascon has refused to charge those prior felonies, and he’s ordered the prosecutors in his office to refuse, also.

Subsequent to implementing that practice, Gascon was ordered by the relevant California State district court to cut that out and to charge in accordance to the Three Strikes law. He appealed and lost at the appellate level. He’s still refusing to charge under the law, and now under two court orders, and he’s appealing the whole thing to the State’s Supreme Court.

Gascon’s rationale?

Gascon on Thursday called the appellate court’s decision “a dangerous precedent” and argued that it amounted to “taking the charging decision out of a prosecutor’s hands.”
“The Three Strikes law imposes Draconian penalties on defendants who were previously convicted of certain prior felonies[.]”

Say Gascon is right on both of those—the charging decision has been taken from the prosecutor, and the Three Strikes law leads to draconian penalties. That’s what the law requires, for good or ill. Gascon’s beef is with the political arms of California’s government; he doesn’t get to simply ignore laws of which he personally disapproves. His role as a District Attorney is to prosecute defendants within the bounds, and according to the requirements, of the law.

The recall of George Gascon must proceed to a successful end, so the good citizens of California can be rid of a prosecutor who doesn’t believe in law or in rule of law.

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