Difficulties in obtaining funding and sufficient staff, combined with skepticism from many parts of the justice system, have kept the number of prosecutors’ internal investigative units small. Nevertheless, the units are a major reason for the increase in exonerations across the U.S., a John Jay webinar was told Tuesday.
Nearly all the remaining federal prosecutors that former President Donald Trump appointed across the country are set to be removed by President Joe Biden. Accommodations have been made to allow a couple of attorneys handling highly sensitive investigations to continue with their work.
In a ruling Monday, LA County Superior Court Judge James Chalfant decided that George Gascon’s attempt to bypass California’s Three Strikes Law and order prosecutors to dismiss strike sentencing enhancements is unlawful. It’s the latest round in a campaign led by critics against the reform-minded prosecutor.
Recall efforts directed at L.A. County Dist. Atty. George Gascón and San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin are part of a growing California backlash against reforms in criminal justice. “Yesterday’s heroes fear they are today’s villains,” writes one reformer.
Following brutal attacks that left two elderly men dead last week, San Francisco officials sought to dispel perceptions that the city is soft on crime under its new reform-minded district attorney Chesa Boudin. “Anybody who thinks San Francisco is an easy touch (should) think twice,” said Police Chief William Scott.
Reform prosecutors like newly elected Los Angeles DA George Gascón have swept into office promising fairness and equity. But a Washington public defender argues that genuine change requires reallocating funds supporting “progressive” prosecutorial programs like diversion to community services and indigent defense―an approach that evokes calls to “defund the police.”
Jason McCabe Calacanis, a tech investor and former journalist in the Bay Area, put up a GoFundMe page on Jan. 2 titled, “Hold the DA of SF accountable to the people” of San Francisco, in the aftermath of a fatal hit-and-run that the city prosecutor Boudin declined to prosecute.
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón’s effort to push through sweeping criminal justice reforms has sparked an unprecedented revolt. Rank-and-file Los Angeles prosecutors have sought to block their new boss in court and district attorneys elsewhere in California have said they will not share cases with him.