Woke Los Angeles county District Attorney George Gascon has been accused of letting 10,000 cases pile up and driving scores of prosecutors to quit.
Described as an ‘authoritarian’ and ‘toxic’ manager, Gascon is said to have driven talent away, demoted top lawyers and fought anyone with opposing views, multiple sources who have worked with the DA told the New York Post.
Gascon’s ‘woke’ policies have caused public distrust, according to a former LA prosecutor – who said generous plea deals are allowing criminals to get out of jail without serving hard time or crimes are not being prosecuted at all.
‘In my career as a prosecutor, I’ve never had victims’ families actually hate us until I came into this office,’ a former deputy DA told The Post. ‘We are hated by all the victims because of lack of prosecution and low sentences because of his policies.’
‘Gascón is so focused on justice for black and brown defendants, but the victims and their families are also black and brown. Where is the justice for them? We are making them victims of the criminal justice system yet again.’
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon has been under fire for his ‘woke’ policies
Gascon has been accused of letting 10,000 cases pile up and driving scores of prosecutors to quit
Eric Siddall, LA County Association of Deputy District Attorneys vice president, said the reputation of the office has been destroyed.
‘People know he’s hostile to his employees,’ he said.
‘He has an authoritarian management style, and engages in retaliatory acts against employees who don’t share his ideology,’ he told The Post.
There are reportedly over 200 open positions in the District Attorney’s office, with not enough candidates willing to fill them, sources told The Post.
The lack of staff has led to a backlog of up to 10,000 cases.
The DA’s Office contested this claim, insisting they only have 139 open positions, and blamed the lack of staff on ‘retirement and a previous hiring freeze’ – but did not mention the 10,000 cases that have yet to be filed.
‘During the hiring freeze, our office sought permission from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to fill positions but that request was denied,’ A source from the LA County DA’s office said.
‘During this administration some prosecutors have left for other jurisdictions, while others have been hired by our office from other jurisdictions.’
The office argued that there are many reasons why a case is not filed immediately, including the need for further investigation.
‘A delay in filing a case does not preclude the prosecutor from filing a case at a later date as long as it is within the statute of limitations,’ according to the DA’s office.
Former Los Angeles County DA Steve Cooley, who ran the office from 2000 to 2012, told The Post that from a historical standpoint, recruitment had not previously been an issue until Gascon took office.
But the lack of talent does not come as a shock to Cooley.
‘I’m not surprised because some of the people he’s brought in are just odious people. Who would want to come and work here under such conditions?’ Cooley said.
DA Gascon soft-on-crime approach is under fire as violent crimes rise in LA
This isn’t the first time Gascon’s staff has spoken out against him.
Nearly 20 cases have been filed by high-ranking members of the DA’s Office who claim they were moved from their positions for criticizing Gascon’s policies.
LA County prosecutor Shawn Randolph was awarded $1.5 million in a lawsuit against Gascon, with more than a dozen similar civil claims from other employees.
In Randolph’s case, she argued Gascon transferred her as retaliation for pushing back against his progressive policies, specifically not charging juveniles as adults in certain cases.
Gascon denied the accusation, and said the move was a ‘typical decision that happens when dealing with a large workforce like the LA County District Attorney’s office.’
One of the office’s top prosecutors, John McKinney, was preparing to try the murder of Briana Kupfer in January 2021, when he was suddenly moved from the elite Major Crimes Unit to supervise misdemeanor cases out of East LA, an unusual placement for someone who was responsible for high-profile cases.
‘I’m not doing any trials and I’m supervising two lawyers. That’s how small the office is,’ he said to The Post. ‘And because there are only two lawyers, anytime they go to trial, I basically become that first-year misdemeanor DA in court. So I’m in court on average, three days a week, and I go back and do what I used to do 25 years ago instead of trying complicated murder trials.’
McKinney told The Post that he was transferred in retaliation for speaking out against Gascon’s policies.
Last year, a veteran Los Angeles prosecutor slammed the woke DA over his soft policies as violent crime in the city surged eight percent since he took office.
Mark Burnley, who has worked with the DA’s office since 1999, condemned his boss in his goodbye letter in December 2022.
He was slammed again the same month for his office taking ‘blatant special interest’ in a case in which singer John Legend almost had his luxury Porsche stolen.
There has been public outrage and many complaints against Gascon’s woke policies and ‘soft-on-crime’ approach throughout this year.
In February, Gascon suspended an attorney who ‘misgendered’ a transgender child molester, who started identifying as a woman after DNA linked her to cold case of a man beaten to death in the woods.
Last year, the DA ordered prosecutors not to charge immigrants because they could get deported and instead said they should consider non-criminal programs.
Gascon has previously defended his policy decisions, saying a ‘tough-on-crime approach failed’ and his goal was to ‘dramatically change a system that has served no one, not the victims of crime, not those who are accused and not the public.’
But with multiple attempts to recall the left-leaning district attorney, many voters disagree. A poll showed nearly half of Long Beach voters supported a recall of the progressive DA in 2022, according to a Long Beach Center for Urban Politics and Policy poll.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney John McKinney is challenging George Gascon in 2024 by running for DA
McKinney said he was transferred in retaliation for speaking out against Gascon’s policies
Employees still under the DA feel undervalued, as they attempt to tackle the immense workload.
One prosecutor told The Post, ‘You have mid-career-level prosecutors doing the heavy lifting and are tired of being treated like s–t.’
‘The problem is, people started leaving because they became so fed up with his policies, so those of us who stayed are carrying two or three times the caseload.’
Gascon’s term ends in 2024 and he faces an uncertain future in the upcoming election.
The race to replace Gascon includes Deputy DA John McKinney, Jonathan Hatami and former US Assistant Attorney General Nathan Hochma.
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