On Monday, a California judge has ruled partially against the Soros-funded Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón‘s radical criminal justice “reform” package, ruling that some of his directives are in violation of California law and would have placed his deputy district attorneys in legal and ethical jeopardy. Believe it or not, lawyers are held to a standard of ethics, and they get in trouble when they break them.
Superior Court Judge James Chalfant, originally appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court by former Governor Pete Wilson in 1996, then elevated to Superior Court in 1998 by Governor Wilson, issued his ruling in response to a lawsuit that was filed by Gascón’s own deputy district attorneys, who argued in the suit that Gascón’s policies, which barred them from being able to apply sentencing enhancements long considered mandatory under California law, would have required them to break California law and their own required ethical obligations. They argued that certain policies are unlawful that require them to not seek sentencing enhancements mandated by California law.
For cases that have already been filed, Judge Chalfant agreed, issuing a preliminary injunction preventing Gascón’s policies from being enforced. It’s important to note that under California law, district attorneys who wish to drop sentencing enhancements have to make representations to a court arguing that certain circumstances exist that call for it, and Judge Chalfant ruled that Gascón’s policy would have forced his district attorneys to lie to the court.
Why is it so difficult for Democrats to follow the law, even when they disagree with it? The law is the law and a District Attorney is of the Executive Branch, which means he/she must “execute” the law the way it is written and only use discretion when it’s allowed in the law. The Executive branch cannot create or change laws. Only the Legislature can do that. Society breaks down when people see elected officials defying the law, making them feel that the law no longer matters. Government officials must get back to setting a better example and stop trying to change laws while executing their duties and responsibilities because of their ideology.
Judge Chalfant also didn’t like that Gascón’s policies don’t account for the effect they would have on the victims of crimes, which is required under California law. Again, why do Democrats always champion the wrong team, in this case, Gascón is fighting for the criminals and forgetting about the damage done to their victims? The judge cited, “There is not a single reference to a concern for victims in the sentencing process” in Gascón’s policies.
Noting that prosecutors normally have wide discretion when doing their job, Chalfant declined to admonish Gascón from enforcing his policies in cases brought in the future. Chalfont didn’t buy into the arguments made by the deputy district attorneys that California law clearly states that prosecutors “shall” seek sentencing requirements in certain cases, that “shall” is not always considered mandatory in legislative statutes and therefore that language is incapable of constraining discretion built into prosecutorial functions. It’s gobbledygook explanations like this that make you scratch your head and wonder how the smartest person in the courtroom is able to read the minds of the legislators who wrote the laws. What a gift, right?
Chalfont also ruled that Gascón’s policies shouldn’t have come as a surprise to the deputy district attorneys since he explicitly ran for office on implementing them. So, if a person runs for District Attorney on the promise to never charge a person accused of murder again, should we just slightly shake our heads and reminisce over how he’s only doing what he campaigned to do? This judge needs to explain to the people of Los Angeles how Gascón’s election victory allows for a legal interpretation of the simple, plain text of California’s laws.
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Gascón, who had over $2 million of George Soros’ money to help him get elected, has vowed to appeal the ruling and also promised to adhere to the injunction, for now, until the appeal is decided upon. On top of getting rid of sentencing enhancements, Gascón ran on getting rid of cash bail and reducing the prison population in Los Angeles. How is any of that helping the good people of Los Angeles?
Rich is a conservative syndicated opinion writer and owner of Maga-Chat.com. He writes about politics, culture, liberty, and faith.
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