Reform-minded LA district attorney survives second recall attempt

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George Gascón is sworn in as his wife, Fabiola Kramsky, holds a copy of the Constitution during a mostly virtual ceremony in Los Angeles on Dec. 7, 2020. Photo by Bryan Chan/County of Los Angeles via the Associated Press.

The effort to force Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón into a recall election failed Monday.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the campaign seeking to remove him from office needed 566,857 valid signatures—which represents 10% of residents eligible to vote when he won his election in November 2020—by mid-July. However, the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder/county clerk’s office found that only about 520,000 of the submitted signatures were valid.

The registrar’s office also told the Los Angeles Times that while a total of nearly 715,000 signatures were submitted, about 27% were tossed out because they were duplicates or provided by residents who were not eligible to vote.

The New York Times, CNN and Politico also have coverage.

Gascón has faced criticism from law enforcement and business leaders over his progressive reforms and rising crime rates in Los Angeles. Soon after his swearing in, he announced sweeping directives to reduce prison terms, including thousands of old cases involving murder and other violent crimes, as well as reforms to end cash bail and the death penalty.

An initial attempt to recall Gascón failed last year, but according to the Los Angeles Times, the second attempt raised millions of dollars and attracted support from police unions and politicians, including Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rick Caruso. Many of Gascón’s prosecutors also supported the recall.

“George’s approval rating is 29%,” wrote Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami on Twitter Tuesday. “37 cities representing millions have no confidence in him. More victimization, increase in murders & crime & less safety are not reforms or progress. The fight isn’t over. It’s just beginning.”

Gascón also wrote on Twitter on Monday after the failed recall effort, saying he was “grateful to move forward.”

“Rest assured LA County, the work hasn’t stopped,” he wrote. “My primary focus has been & will always be keeping us safe & creating a more equitable justice system for all.”

Earlier this summer, voters in San Francisco recalled progressive San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. A Democrat and a former deputy public defender, Boudin had expanded diversion programs, ended cash bail, prosecuted police misconduct and eliminated gang enhancements in sentencing.

See also: “Progressive prosecutors are encountering pushback”

ABA Journal: “Prosecutors are working toward the release of the longest-serving inmates” “New prosecutors reopen investigations into deadly police shootings”

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