LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles County’s new district attorney is coming under attack for the policy changes he announced his first day in office.
Just after being sworn into office Dec. 7, George Gascón announced that he was eliminating cash bail on non-violent offenses as well as enhanced prison sentences. He also said that his office would not longer seek the death penalty and would take a less aggressive approach on lower-level offenders.
Attorney Brian Claypool — who represents several child victims of suspects who have been charged or sentenced under special crime enhancements — announced Wednesday that he was heading a campaign to recall Gascón, claiming that the changes being made are illegal and pose a danger to society.
“This is an abuse of power at the most catastrophic level,” Claypool said. “This newly elected district attorney has created a public safety risk in this community.”
Claypool alleged that Gascón has yet to sit down with families of murder victims or the prosecutors who tried those cases to get their input before announcing the changes.
But Gascón countered that argument Wednesday, introducing his advisory board of crime survivors. The head of that board said there was a lot of fear-mongering happening — a sentiment echoed by Gascón, who has said the changes he’s made will actually make L.A. County safer.
“I eliminated sentence enhancements because sentence enhancements doesn’t necessarily create more safety, in fact they often create more recidivism and they make us less safe,” he said.
Gascón also said that the sentencing guidelines for certain crimes will guarantee anyone convicted of those crimes will serve time in prison.