Los Angeles DA Recall Closes In On Needed Signatures 50 Days Before Deadline

The Recall DA George Gascon campaign announced on Wednesday that more than 450,000 signatures have been collected as of May 13th, closing in quickly on the 566,857 needed and the safety goal of 800,000 that the group wants to submit to the LA County Registrar in 50 days.

The second petition to recall Gascon has seen an explosion of support in recent months, especially when compared to the first petition. Following the election in 2020, Gascon, who previously was the DA of San Francisco, quickly instituted several so-called “reforms,” including ending policies that had juveniles being tried as adults, many crimes reduced to misdemeanors or having jail time reduced, and the removal of cash bail for most crimes despite California voters voting to keep it in 2020 in Prop 25. However, these policies led to criminals being emboldened and rising crime in the County, despite the COVID pandemic. Crime rates went up in everything from homicides to robberies. A petition was started up last year, but it fizzled out by October.

Supporters vowed to get another petition in place, and were emboldened by the smash and grab crime spree in LA and San Francisco in late 2021. With the public more aware of Gascon’s policies, more and more people began voicing opposition against Gascon. Entire City Councils, including the Beverly Hills City Council, voted outright in favor of his recall, and more than 30 cities in the County voted no confidence in him. The successful signature effort in San Francisco to recall their DA, Chesa Boudin, also encouraged many to give it a second chance.

In late January the second petition was approved by the County. With high crime, a lack of prosecution attempts against criminals, crime victims believing that the DA supports the criminals more than them, and previous petition factors being amplified, the 2022 petition quickly garnered signatures. Many lawmakers and political candidates immediately threw their support behind the recall, and by mid-March over 125,000 signatures were collected.

Over 450,000 signatures collected so far

On Wednesday, that figure shot up by over 300,000 signatures. As recall supporters are to send out more petitions to millions of LA County residents ahead of the June 7th primary, the recall campaign is now on track to not only meet the 566,857 needed signature line of 10% of all county voters, but is also likely to hit the 800,000 safety figure to account for double signatures, invalid signatures, and other factors that may result in their signature being removed.

“With 50 days to go, we are continuing to see increases in signature collection and anticipate additional bumps as our mail program is fully deployed,” the Recall DA George Gascon campaign said on Wednesday. “We are on the cusp of qualifying this recall and positioned exactly where we need to be to hit our goals within the remaining timeframe.  If residents and community leaders continue to step up, this will be the beginning of the end of George Gascon’s reign of terror over Los Angeles.”

Experts noted that other outside factors may only increase the number of signatures in the final stretch of collection days until the deadline in early July.

“Crime continues to play the big reason people are signing the petition. That and Gascon not prosecuting or going after criminals,” said James Long, a neighborhood safety planner in Los Angeles, to the Globe on Wednesday. “I mean, he is, but to nowhere near where he should be, not with crime this high and those arrested just walking out.”

“But that Boudin recall up in San Francisco has been encouraging to many. Outside at petition signature gatherings, one of the oddest groups of people who have come out in support of the recall have been former San Francisco residents who moved here. They still see the news from back home, and they have seen that Boudin is now all but certain to be recalled next month. To them, that’s amazing. They’ve seen how wrong things have become in both cities, and hey, if San Francisco can recall their guy, so can LA.”

Click here to read the full article at the California Globe

DA Gascón Won’t Bargain Because of Recall Support, Prosecutors Union Says

‘His authoritarian approach demeans the oath he took and the office he holds. It’s bullying, not leadership,’ claims the union leadership

A union representing about 700 prosecutors has filed a complaint with the Los Angeles County Employee Relations Commission alleging District Attorney George Gascón is refusing to engage in collective bargaining because its members overwhelmingly support efforts to recall him.

An unfair labor practice charge filed April 27 by the Association of Deputy District Attorneys claims the Gascon administration “has simply ignored the ADDA’s request for mid-term bargaining and has failed to provide the bargaining related material requested by the Union.”

“It is of note that there has been absolutely no response from the Gascón administration, not a phone call, not a letter, not an email; neither has the Gascón administration taken issue with the legitimacy of the union’s request for mid-term bargaining; nor has the administration voiced any objections to the material requested by the union,” the filing stated.

The ADDA contends Gascón, in violation of city law and city ordinances, is retaliating against the union because 98% of its members voted in February to endorse efforts to recall him.

Organizers of the recall effort have collected 400,000 of the needed 566,000 signatures required by July 6 to put the measure on the ballot  Additionally, more than 30 Los Angeles County cities have take votes of “no confidence” in Gascón.

The union is requesting that the Employee Relations Commission order Gascón’s administration to participate in bargaining and provide materials needed for those negotiations.

According to the ADDA, bargaining is necessary to resolve:

  • Increasing the number of Grade IV deputy district attorneys.
  • Compensatory time.
  • Special pay adjustment for selected Grade IV deputy district attorneys.
  • Issues involving environmental protocols and metal detectors.

“George Gascón broke the law within the first five minutes of his administration,” ADDA Vice President Eric Siddall said Wednesday, May 4. “His contempt for the judiciary and the rule of law continues to this day. Now he is engaged in anti-labor activity. His authoritarian approach demeans the oath he took and the office he holds. It’s bullying, not leadership … plain and simple.”

The District Attorney’s Office referred questions about the filing to the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office, which responded that it “does not generally comment on ongoing labor negotiations.”

The ADDA has been at odds with Gascón since his election in late 2020 amid promises of sweeping social justice reforms, which prompted several lawsuits. The union sued Gascón in December 2020 to block some of his directives it considers illegal.

Specifically, the suit focuses on the elimination of some sentencing enhancements, including the “three strikes” law — enacted by California voters in 1994 to add prison time to the terms of previously convicted felons.

“While an elected district attorney has wide discretion in determining what charges to pursue in an individual case, that discretion does not authorize him or her to violate the law or to direct attorneys representing the district attorney’s office to violate the law,” ADDA President Michele Hanisee said in a statement.

More than a half-dozen prosecutors have filed lawsuits alleging they were retaliated against and demoted for refusing to carry out Gascón’s  policies.

In December 2021, former Head Deputy Richard Doyle received an $800,000 settlement from Los Angeles County after claiming retribution from Gascón’ for refusing to drop charges against three anti-police protesters accused of attempting to wreck a train in Compton.

In the latest lawsuit, filed April 25 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Deputy District Attorneys Peter Cagney, Richard Todd Hicks, Mindy Paige and Karen Thorp allege Gascón retaliated against them for refusing to carry out his resentencing directives.

“Each plaintiff either opposed or disclosed to their supervisors that laws were being violated if they followed Gascon’s hastily conceived new resentencing guidelines, and that prison inmates that posed a serious and dangerous risk to society would be or were released from prison,” the suit says.

“Gascon’s policies effectively required prosecutors to unlawfully hide the truth from the courts by mischaracterizing many violent offenses and hiding the inmate’s propensity for violence, and danger to the community if given an early release from prison, from the courts and resentencing judges.”

Click here to read the full article at the LA Daily News

Campaign to recall LA County DA George Gascón Gains Momentum With Over 200K Signatures

Organizers of the second effort to recall embattled Los Angeles County DA George Gascón said they have gained momentum after collecting more than 200,000 signatures– with plenty of time to still hit their goal to get on the November ballot.

Campaign officials said they also have raised more than $4 million — already four times the money raised compared to last year’s recall efforts, which fizzled in September after failing to secure less than half of the approximately 500,000 signatures needed from LA County voters.

 “We are continuing to deploy our resources, and we are definitely going in the right trajectory,” recall spokesperson Tim Lineberger told The Post. “There is just a lot more support this time around since people are more aware that what’s been happening in Los Angeles County, especially crime increasing, is tied to George Gascón’s policies.”

While last year’s campaign garnered just 200,000 votes by the October 2021 deadline, the campaign this year has already collected more votes with still three months left before the deadline.

To get on the ballot, a total of 566,857 signatures — 10 percent of total Los Angeles County registered voters — must be submitted to the LA County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office by July 6.

This time around, recall organizers deployed several tools to get the word out — from the “Recall DA George Gascón” app to an “accountability” feature on their website that shows a list of Gascón’s major donors.

The campaign also made sure to set up permanent signing locations throughout Los Angeles County, which voters can track via the app.

Gascón ousted incumbent Jackie Lacey from office in November 2020, promising sweeping criminal justice reform. In his first 100 days, Gascón ended the filing of death penalty charges, stopped the practice of prosecuting children as adults and did away with criminal enhancements that he said “exacerbate recidivism.”

Last month, however, Gascón backtracked some of his controversial policies, according to a series of memos obtained by The Post.

Since Gascón pivoted on some of his policies, prosecutors can once again seek special enhancements for felony charges that would add additional prison sentences depending on the circumstance, such as a murder committed for the benefit of a gang.

Gascón Recall Bid Is A Factor In Race To Be Mayor

His name won’t be on the ballot in the June primary, but Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón still looms large over the L.A. mayoral race.

In a contest that has largely been dominated by discussion of homelessness and crime, the embattled district attorney has become a foil for two prominent candidates to voice their frustration with the direction of the city.

On Monday, real estate developer Rick Caruso joined City Councilman Joe Buscaino in backing the second attempt to recall the county’s top prosecutor in as many years.

Other prominent candidates, including Rep. Karen Bass and City Atty. Mike Feuer, have at times raised issues with Gascón’s tenure but do not endorse the recall effort against him.

USC law professor Jody David Armour said the Gascón recall campaign was playing a kind of proxy role in the race, with supporters aiming to show that they’re “a traditional, tough-on-crime, law-and-order candidate” by calling for Gascón’s ouster.

Many of Gascón’s critics have been quick to blame his policies for a dramatic increase in homicides and shootings in L.A. County that followed his election. The number of killings in the city jumped by 53% from 2019 to 2021, while homicides in areas patrolled by the Sheriff’s Department increased by 77% in the same time frame, records show.

Criminologists, however, have been quick to note that Gascón’s policies were unlikely to have an immediate effect on violent crime when they are largely focused on reducing the prosecution of low-level misdemeanors. Homicides decreased over the span of Gascon’s eight years in San Francisco, making the link between his policies and street violence murky at best.

Gascón — a former LAPD commander and San Francisco district attorney — unseated incumbent Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey to lead the nation’s largest local prosecutors office in November 2020. His win was heralded as a victory for the growing “progressive prosecutor” movement, and he announced a slate of sweeping policy changes the day he took office.

Gascón veered from his all-or-nothing stance on certain criminal justice reform issues two weeks ago, saying prosecutors can now seek to try juveniles as adults and pursue life sentences against defendants in certain cases. The move came as he faced increased blowback over his handling of the case of Hannah Tubbs, a 26-year-old allowed to plead guilty in Juvenile Court to sexually assaulting a child because Tubbs was a teen at the time of the crime.

An attempt to recall Gascón in 2021 fizzled because of a lack of organization and weak fundraising.

But this attempt has already collected $1.8 million, according to a January financial disclosure report, more money than the same campaign collected in 2021. The group has yet to release an estimate of collected signatures, but needs to rally roughly 560,000 supporters by early July to qualify.

Caruso had hedged on the topic since jumping into the race in February, saying he wanted to see a change from Gascón before weighing in on the recall effort.

He officially endorsed the recall campaign Monday, plowing $50,000 into the effort to unseat a man he has known since the early 2000s when Gascón was a member of the LAPD command staff and Caruso served as the president of the Police Commission.

Although the recall campaign has insisted it has bipartisan support, Republican megadonors Geoff Palmer and Gerald Marcil still account for one-third of all the money raised thus far.

“As I’ve said, many times, I firmly believe that George Gascón needed to stand up, admit that many of his policies have put the city of Los Angeles in peril, crime is rising, change those policies, or he should step down, and if he doesn’t step down, he should be recalled,” Caruso said in a video released Monday.

Caruso initially supported Gascón’s run for office in 2020, co-hosting a high-profile fundraiser for him where John Legend performed. He shifted later in the race, donating $45,000 to a committee supporting Lacey in October 2020, according to campaign finance disclosures.

Click here to read the full article at LA Times

California DA paints Opponent As ‘Gascón clone,’ Vows Not To Let County Become Like Los Angeles

Los Angeles County’s top prosecutor has come under fire over his directives opponents say fail to hold criminals accountable

A Southern California district attorney running for re-election is aiming to portray his opponent as a clone of George Gascón, the top prosecutor in neighboring Los Angeles County who is facing a recall attempt and backlash from elected officials and crime victims over his prosecutorial directives that critics say has contributed to a rise in crime.

In a campaign video released Thursday, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer paints Los Angeles as a dirty, crime-ridden city besieged by homelessness while criticizing defense attorney Pete Hardin as being soft on criminals. 

“He’s already announced exactly the same lines as George Gascón,” Spitzer is heard saying in the 2-minute video titled “Gotham.” “No bail. No death penalty. No (sentencing) enhancements.”

Amid a nasty campaign in which both sides have engaged in their fair share of mudslinging, Spitzer has vowed to not let coastal Orange County become like Los Angeles County, which has seen an uptick in violent crime since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

LA SHERIFF RIPS PUSH TO FIRE 4,000 UNVACCINATED DEPUTIES AMID CRIME WAVE: ‘IMMORAL POSITION’

To reinforce his point, his campaign prominently features the hashtag #NoLAinOC. The video ad begins with security footage from a smash-and-grab robbery, voiceovers from former and current elected Los Angeles officials criticizing the crime uptick and Gascón and two mothers whose sons were murdered. 

One is heard saying that “George Gascón has abandoned us. It’s important for you to know because another Gascón-type wants Todd’s job.” 

The footage then shows several news clippings accusing Hardin of sexual misconduct during his military service in the Marine Corps and as an Orange County prosecutor while painting him as the “Joker” character from the “Batman” superhero series. Spitzer has repeatedly invoked allegations made against Hardin that he resigned from the military over the crime of adultery, according to the Orange County Register

Denial of alleged wrongdoing

Hardin has denied any wrongdoing related to sexual misconduct.

On how to hold criminals accountable, Hardin, also a former federal prosecutor, has painted himself as a progressive who vows to combat gun violence and address mental health, drug addiction and other underlying issues related to crime. 

Click here to read the full article at FoxNews

Gascón Policy Is Again Assailed

D.A.’s refusal to try minors as adults draws new flak as sentencing nears in sex abuse by person who’s now 26.

A 26-year-old woman who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl in Palmdale could be sentenced to a short stay in juvenile hall or granted probation at a court hearing this month, sparking another round of outrage over Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón’s criminal justice reform platform.

The complicated case of Hannah Tubbs has drawn increasing frustration from law enforcement officials and politicians in recent weeks, who say the situation once again highlights the problem with Gascón’s blanket ban on trying juveniles as adults.

Tubbs, who identifies as female, was two weeks shy of her 17th birthday when, prosecutors say, she walked into the women’s restroom of a Denny’s restaurant in 2014, grabbed a 10-year-old girl by the throat and locked her in a stall, court records show. Tubbs then shoved her hand down the girl’s pants and sexually assaulted her, prosecutors say, stopping only after someone else entered the restroom.

The case drew widespread attention at the time, and the L.A. County Board of Supervisors issued a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. But Tubbs was not linked to the crime until 2019, when her DNA was entered into a database after she was arrested on suspicion of battery in Idaho, said Lt. Richard Ruiz of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Bureau.

Prosecutors filed charges against Tubbs in early 2020, shortly after Gascón took office. The reform-minded prosecutor has flatly refused to try juveniles as adults, citing scientific studies showing that adolescent brain development isn’t complete until age 25 and asserting that young offenders can still be rehabilitated in juvenile custody whereas they would only be hardened in adult prisons.

But Tubbs’ criminal record extends beyond the Denny’s attack and into her adult life.

She has been arrested for battery, drug possession and probation violations in Idaho and Washington, where she also has a pending misdemeanor case, Ruiz said.

Tubbs was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in Kern County and faced a prior allegation of sexually assaulting a minor, which did not result in a prosecution, according to Ruiz and a review of court records. Several calls to the Kern County district attorney’s office seeking additional information on both cases were not returned.

A final determination on Tubbs’ case was supposed to have been made earlier this month, but hearings were delayed because the defendant is in quarantine due to a COVID-19 exposure, Ruiz said. In the interim, proponents of a renewed effort to recall Gascón from office and area politicians have seized on the case as evidence that the district attorney’s policies are harmful.

“It’s useless to catch criminals like [Tubbs] if we don’t follow through and seek justice for victims such as the 10-year-old girl [she] sexually assaulted. She bears the burden of a lifetime of trauma,” L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose district includes Palmdale, said in a statement. Tubbs “will be offered therapeutic interventions under the auspices of ‘restorative justice’ … and possibly granted only probation or parole. Where is the justice for [her] young victim and her family?”

L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, a frequent critic of Gascón, has also complained about the case online and had scheduled a news conference to discuss the matter this week with recall leaders and crime victims’ organizations, but the event was canceled.

In an interview, Gascón said the case was complicated by the gap in time between the attack and Tubbs’ capture, her criminal record and the effect the attack had on the victim.

The young girl has since moved away from California and remains in therapy, according to an impact statement read in court last month, and Gascón said the victim did not want to testify at trial.

The Times reviewed an e-mail that said Tubbs has been diagnosed with multiple mental illnesses and might also qualify as “developmentally disabled,” factors that would raise legal questions about her culpability.

One of Tubbs’ public defenders declined to discuss the case, insisting they were barred from doing so by state law.

The district attorney also expressed concern that Tubbs herself would be victimized if held in an adult facility as a transgender woman, and noted a probation report actually recommended Tubbs be sentenced to home confinement. Instead, Gascón said, prosecutors asked for Tubbs to be kept in custody for two years where she could receive treatment and therapy.

Click here to read the full article at LA Times

Questions About Crime Ruin Soros-funded George Gascón’s One-Year Anniversary Party

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón gathered “progressive” prosecutors from around the country to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his time in office, but the party was derailed by questions about rising violent crime.

Gascón, who ran against the first black woman to hold the job, and who received millions of dollars in donations from left-wing billionaire George Soros, has pursued an aggressive, radical agenda of “criminal justice reform” since taking office.

But crime has spiked, leaving the city in the throes of what the Los Angeles Times has called a spate of “brutal, brazen” crimes.

Last week, Jacqueline Avant, a prominent philanthropist in the black community who was married to legendary music producer Clarence Avant, was gunned down in her home, allegedly by a man recently freed from state prison.

In a statement touting his achievements after a year in office, Gascón was short on crime numbers, but heavy on “reforms.” For example, he touted ending the death penalty — a controversial policy that he has applied to cases like child murder:

Death sentences are no longer sought in Los Angeles County. Nor will the office seek execution dates for people sentenced to death. In addition, post-conviction death penalty cases currently are being reviewed to determine if thereis [sic] ameritorious [sic] legal reason to vacate the death sentence or resentence the individuals in the interest of justice. To date, five people, including four with cognitive or intellectual disabilities, have been resentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Gascón had hoped to celebrate, as he did after 100 days in office, when he celebrated thousands of hours in reduced prison sentences. But as the Times reports, his party was crashed by reporters seeking answers to the public’s urgent questions:

One year and one day later, Gascón was flanked by progressive prosecutors from around the country as he stood before a room full of reporters during a 90-minute news conference meant to celebrate what he saw as his successes during his first 12 months on the job.

But on the heels of weeks of high-profile crimes, including the killing of a beloved Beverly Hills philanthropist, an explosion of gunfire that left one child dead in Wilmington and viral videos of smash-and-grab robberies at retail stores, Gascón instead spent much of his time sparring with reporters and trying to counter questions about criticism levied by those seeking to recall him.

Click here to read the full article at Breitbart

Violent LA Crime Wave, Jacqueline Avant Killing Result of Liberal Justice Reforms: Critics

A day after a career criminal was arrested in the fatal shooting of philanthropist Jacqueline Avant at the lavish Beverly Hills home she shared with her husband Clarence, a 90-year-old music producer inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year, her family issued a statement that read in part, “Now, let justice be served.”

But in Los Angeles, where left-wing lawmakers and activists have pushed a litany of progressive reforms that help violent criminals spend less-time behind bars, justice is not only fleeting — it’s twisted, critics say.

“It’s a s–t show over here,” said LAPD Det. Jamie McBride, a director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, a police union. “Bad guys are released quicker than we can finish the paper work, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

The Avants — whose daughter Nicole is a former ambassador to the Bahamas and married to Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, had been living a comfortable life in their sprawling 4,000 square foot , $7 million home in the ritzy Trousdale Estates neighborhood for decades, friends said.

But the elderly couple’s quiet lives were upended at around 2:23 a.m. Wednesday when cops say career criminal Aariel Maynor broke into their home and fatally shot Jacqueline Avant, 81. Clarence Avant was home but not hurt.

The couple also employed a security guard, who was shot at by the suspect but not hit or injured in any way, according to Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook.

The Avants hired the guard to protect them from a different type of L.A intruder — fans of the recent Netflix documentary about Avant called the “Black Godfather” who were dropping by the house uninvited, he said.

Avant’s alleged killer was arrested Thursday in Jacqueline Avant’s murder after being caught in another botched robbery in nearby Hollywood in which he shot himself in the foot.

Maynor, who is currently hospitalized under armed guard, was in violation of parole at the time of his arrest and “it didn’t sound as if he was reporting to his parole agent at all,” Stainbrook said. Police say he will be charged Monday.

Click here to read the full article at NYPost