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

Comments

  1. Philip Gallanders says

    How many times do we hear of a female person raping a young girl?
    Does it make sense to go along with the lie that a male,who says he identifies as a female is actually a woman.
    Tubbs has male DNA. Not female DNA.

    All of this legal rubbish is nothing less than them trying to persuade us that the Emperor is actually wearing clothes when it is obvious to anyone with a functioning brain that the official story is a lie.

  2. Gascon cites, “scientific studies showing that adolescent brain development isn’t complete until age 25,” and I tend to agree with that. So would he support raising the voting age to 25? Yeah, thought not.

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