The long-term California experiment in unrestrained leftism continues apace. Los Angeles' new District Attorney, a Bernie Sanders supporter, has made an early splash by preemptively announcing that his office won't prosecute certain crimes deemed to be low level. Many small government conservatives can get behind the notion of less state intervention in certain realms, and prioritization of resources is always part of the job. But this is quite a roster of effectively unenforceable crimes:
Gascon, a former San Francisco District Attorney and former Los Angeles police officer, announced in a series of policy directives that many misdemeanor cases will be dismissed...As of Tuesday, many misdemeanor cases will be declined or dismissed prior to arraignment unless "factors for considerations" exist. The list of offenses includes trespassing, disturbing the peace, a minor in possession of alcohol, driving without a license, driving with a suspended license, making criminal threats, drug and paraphernalia possession, being under the influence of a controlled substance, public intoxication, loitering to commit prostitution and resisting arrest. In addition, prosecutors will not seek the death penalty and those accused of misdemeanors and low-level felonies will be referred to community-based programs. For juveniles, those accused of misdemeanors will no longer be prosecuted.
I'm not opposed to de-prioritizing some of these offenses, but it's not hard to imagine some very unpleasant consequences arising from this set of decisions. Resisting arrest will not result in a prosecution? How will that impact law enforcement officers' already-difficult work? And would this not increase the likelihood of more dangerous confrontations between police and criminals? Also, while I'm sympathetic to cutting juvenile offenders some slack and not pushing them into a system in a way that risks turning them into career criminals, giving the criminally-inclined advanced notice that there won't be serious consequences for engaging in entire categories of crimes seems...unwise. What sort of message does that send to those young people? And won't broad-based lax enforcement of a litany of crimes perversely incentivize repercussion-free criminal conduct early in life? Do these policy-makers care, or are they just happy to score woke points? Of course, LAPD will likely need to focus on more serious crimes by default, given "progressive" politicians following-through on "defund the police" demands. From November:
A $150 million budget cut will compel the Los Angeles Police Department, over the coming months, to move a total of 234 officers back into patrol, reduce desk hours at its stations, cut special deployments and stop staffing teams that cover homelessness issues, it was reported Saturday...[Chief] Moore told the Times the department will cut its air support, robbery and homicide and gang and narcotics units. The plans are in response to the City Council cutting the department's multi-billion-dollar budget by $150 million, triggered by the widespread protests this summer and pandemic-driven fiscal crisis. He also told the Times the $150-million budget cut forced the cutting of 350 sworn positions, reducing its ranks from about 10,110 sworn officers to an estimated 9,752 by March or April 2022. Many more civilian employees will also be lost.
Budget cuts to gang and narcotics units, fewer officers, and prosecutors promising not to prosecute a whole litany of crimes. What could possibly go wrong? Defenders of this new approach argue that it's sensible to spend less resources on petty crimes while focusing on more serious offenses. But is that what's truly happening? The new DA – who has taken the death penalty off the table, remember – is reportedly going soft on an accused cop killer and double-homicide suspect:
NEW: Under new D.A. George Gascon’s reforms, I’ve confirmed his office is trying to dismiss all enhancements & special circumstances against the alleged double murderer/cop killer accused of shooting LASD deputy Gilbert Solano in the back of his head. His sister is irate. @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/SxnPiOuRPG— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) December 15, 2020
Gascon is seeking to dismiss special circumstances of multiple murders, and gun enhancements w/ great bodily injury. If a judge signs off on this at a January 11th hearing, it will take LWOP (life w/out parole) off the table for Nelson if convicted. Full story tonight 10pm @FOXLA— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) December 15, 2020
The District Attorney isn't just looking the other way on small misdemeanors. He's going soft on a man accused of murdering a law enforcement officer in cold blood after murdering another person. Why has Gascon's office moved to wipe away aggravating factor charges that would extend the alleged killer's potential prison sentence, pray tell? This is scary:
They're weakening charges against this suspect because they want it to be easier for a parole board to set him free in the future. That's literally their explanation. How must it feel to be a loved one of a brutally murdered victim, knowing that your local prosecutors will not only refuse to even consider capital punishment but will do their best to make sure that the killer will be eligible for future freedom? I'll leave you with another move toward lawlessness, this time in left-wing Seattle:
It's no surprise that people who can afford to do so are fleeing these jurisdictions. Why would you bother opening a business in places whose officials seem to have more interest in doing things like unscientifically shutting down outdoor dining at restaurants than putting bona fide criminals behind bars? It's difficult to argue with people feel like those in power out in California have their values and priorities upside-down. The California experiment is failing and the state is becoming a shell of its former self, strangled by leftism.