LA District Attorney’s “resignation” from DA association nothing more than publicity stunt, says director

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LOS ANGELES, CA- A couple of days ago, Law Enforcement Today reported on far-left Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon’s “resignation” from the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA).

Gascon said he resigned from the association claiming a “lack of diversity” within the group, along with a number of other accusations in his “resignation” letter.

The only problem is, Gascon hasn’t been a member of the organization since October 2019.

The president of the CDAA, Vern Pierson told the Daily Caller in a statement that Gascon’s statement claiming he had resigned from the organization was nothing more than a “publicity stunt.”

“Mr. Gascon cannot resign because he has not been a member of CDAA since October 2019 when he quit his job as DA of San Francisco,” said Vern Pierson, president of the CDAA and the El Dorado County District Attorney.

Pierson also took exception to Gascon’s “lack of diversity” claim, noting that Gascon actually ran against an African American woman for the Los Angeles DA position.

“On the ethnicity issue, his remarks are disingenuous, as he ran against the first sitting Los Angeles District Attorney who was both a woman and an African American. Incidentally, she was a CDAA board officer and in line to become president.”

Pierson continued, “This appears to be a publicity stunt to divert attention from his favoring criminals at the expense of victims and growing calls for his recall,” noting that serious crimes including shootings have been on the increase in the city.

Gascon, who was elected to the position largely with the help of billionaire George Soros, who has gotten numerous other far-left, soft-on-crime DA’s elected across the country said the group’s “tough on crime” approach doesn’t align with his goals, which is clearly to let as many people walk on as many crimes as he can.

“CDAA continues to be a member organization solely for those willing to toe the ‘tough on crime’ line,” his statement read.

“For the rest of us, it is a place that fails to support us, our communities or the pursuit of justice.”

Gascon’s statement then went on to criticize the CDAA for the board’s “lack of diversity.”

“The absence of a single person of color on CDAA’s 17-member board is blinding. This is the leadership that sets the direction for an organization of elected prosecutors, all of whom disproportionately prosecute communities of color at a time when the nations is facing a reckoning over systemic racism, and in a state with a plurality of minorities, no less.”

“Whether by ignorance or defiance, the extent to which CDAA has lost touch with the public its members are elected to represent and serve is baffling.”

Unfortunately for Gascon, his selective outrage is manufactured. It is also clearly payback.

The CDAA filed an amicus brief in a lawsuit brought by the Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) against Gascon after he attempted to bypass California’s Three Strikes law.

Gascon has been under scrutiny from the day he was sworn in for his soft approach to crime.

One case in particular has caused outrage, that being the case of a man who killed a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy in the back of the head outside a Alahambra, California fast food restaurant while off duty in 2019.

The family of that deputy, Joseph Gilbert Solano is irate after Gascon expressed a desire to drop special circumstance allegations against the suspect, 31-year-old Rhett Nelson, Fox News reported.

Nelson is also accused of shooting and killing Dmitry Koltsov, a professional skateboarder from Russia on the same day. Nelson was arrested and charged with the murders of both men, as well as second-degree robbery and another count of attempted murder.

When Gascon made the announcement saying he wanted to drop special circumstance allegations against Nelson, Solano’s family spoke out.

“Completely in shock, I can’t even tell you, my heart just dropped, I couldn’t believe it,” said Christina Solano, the deputy’s sister to Fox 11 Los Angeles.

“He should be there for the families, we are the victims here, not this person who shot him. I don’t understand what his purpose is to let these murders out of jail, I don’t get it, he’s like the Devil, I don’t understand it,” she added.

Special circumstances allow for harsher sentences for crimes under certain conditions, for example using a handgun in commission of crimes, firing a weapon from a vehicle, and committing multiple murders, Fox News said.

With special circumstance sentencing included, Nelson would be facing a maximum life sentence without parole, Fox 11 said. If those were dropped, Nelson’s sentence would be reduced to 40 years with the eligibility for parole.

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For our original reporting on Gascon, we invite you to:

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LOS ANGELES, CA –Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón (D) has resigned from the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA) claiming the group is an “organization solely for those willing to toe the ‘tough on crime’ line.’

Gascón is battling a lawsuit brought by other California prosecutors and backed by the CDAA against his criminal justice reforms.

Gascón sent a letter to CDAA President Vern Pierson informing the group of his withdrawal from membership. Gascón made several accusations against the group in the disorganized and scattershot letter.

One cause for his resignation was the lack of diversity within the CDAA board, according to the letter.

Gascón wrote:

“The absence of a single person of color on CDAA’s 17-member board is blinding. This is the leadership that sets the direction for an organization of elected prosecutors, all of whom disproportionately prosecute communities of color at a time when the nation is facing a reckoning over systemic racism.

“Whether by ignorance or defiance, the extent to which CDAA has lost touch with the public its members are elected to represent and serve is just baffling”

Gascón also blasted the group for standing against his justice reforms, and for supporting a lawsuit against the new DA, who took office in December and angered fellow prosecutors with controversial justice reforms.

Some of the reforms promised by the former San Francisco DA and LAPD assistant chief include instructing prosecutors not to seek the death penalty, not to use sentencing enhancements, and not to seek cash bail.

At the end of December, the Association of Deputy District Attorneys of Los Angeles County (ADDA) sued Gascón to prevent him from enacting reforms requiring them to avoid sentencing enhancements, an order they say violates state law.

In January, the CDAA filed an amicus brief supporting the ADDA lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court stating, “the voices of victims fall silent and the might of the State has failed its most vulnerable.”

CDAA Chief Executive Officer Greg Totten issued a statement at the time of filing the brief that the group did not want to take action against an elected district attorney, but had a responsibility to step in:

“No constitutional provision and no statute vests any district attorney with veto power over the law. We are also dedicated to the ethical duties every prosecutor holds, and the oath each takes to ‘support and defend’ and ‘bear true faith and allegiance’ to the California Constitution.

“No prosecutor- elected or otherwise- may disregard these solemn responsibilities nor direct his subordinates to do so.”

Last week, a Superior Court judge in L.A. County temporarily blocked some of Gascón’s reforms, including his efforts to end sentencing enhancements, including those seeking longer sentences under California’s Three Strikes Law. Gascón had claimed the sentencing enhancements help increase recidivism.

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Reacting to the ruling, the ADDA issued a statement reading:

“The court ruled as we expected in holding that the district attorney cannot order his prosecutors to ignore laws that protect the public from repeat offenders. This decision was based on what the law is and not what an officeholder thinks it should be.”

In his resignation letter, Gascón said the CDAA is opposing important reforms that have been “embraced” by voters. He claimed the CDAA has stood in opposition to reforms that would prevent children from being tried in court as adults, combat racial discrimination in jury selection, and provide protections to sex workers who report crimes.

Gascón wrote:

“I had long hoped that CDAA would evolve and come to embrace commonsense criminal justice reforms backed by data, science, and research that will make our communities safer and stronger. Instead, CDAA has dug its heels in, rejected science, and willingly turned a blind eye to a two-tiered criminal justice system that places communities of color and poor defendants at a clear disadvantage.

“It’s past time we move beyond the antiquated notion that safety and justice are achieved by overcriminalization and harsh prison sentences.”

The rambling letter then accused the group of misappropriating funds. The DA claimed that CDAA diverted millions of dollars from environmental and workplace safety cases to lobbying efforts against criminal justice reforms. Gascón said he could not be a member of a group that cannot responsibly handle its finances:

“Ultimately, CDAA cannot claim a commitment to prosecutorial excellence while misappropriating millions of public dollars, ignoring the will of the voters, and fighting reforms that evidence clearly indicates will enhance safety, racial equity, and save scarce taxpayer resources.”

Anne Irwin, head of the reform group Smart Justice California, said that Gascón’s decision to withdraw from the CDAA could cause a shift in the power balance in California:

“The CDAA has enjoyed a very cushy and close relationship with the California legislature for decades. They have been unrivaled … and they spoke with one voice. They were able to influence a tremendous amount of legislation over the decades and able to shape criminalization in California.”

Representing one-fourth of California’s population, Gascón’s resignation could destroy the “one voice” of CDAA, according to Irwin.

Gascón’s withdrawal from CDAA joins only one other of the state’s 58 District Attorneys. San Joaquin DA Tori Salazar, a Republican, withdrew from the CDAA last year over the group’s stand against criminal justice reforms. At the time, Salazar said other Das should “look at ourselves, accept responsibility” for the “generational harm” caused by tough-on-crime policies.

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