By Michele Hanisee
George Gascón has, once again, demonstrated his lack of legal knowledge. In a recent tweet, he claimed that Prop 20 would “divert millions from victim services, education, substance abuse/mental health treatment back to prisons” [sic].
Prop 20 has zero language that would divert funding from any other program. Prop 20 actually expands victims’ rights by requiring notice to victims of their right to be heard prior to the release of the offender and by preventing release of offenders within 35 miles of the victim’s home. It protects victims by requiring the probation department to notify the District Attorney and the court when a probationer is given flash incarceration for violating the terms of their release.
Prop 20, though it amends Penal Code Section 3454, leaves in place the requirements of that section mandating that the county board of supervisors develop post-release programs including “appropriate rehabilitation and treatment services.”
There is no language in Prop 20 that will result in anyone being sentenced to prison who is not already eligible for prison under existing law.
The real question is whether George Gascón believes that rape of an unconscious person, trafficking a child for sex, assault with caustic chemicals-like throwing acid in someone’s face, or felony domestic violence are violent felonies? Does he think that when the California Board of Parole considers whether an inmate should be released, the entire criminal history of the inmate should be considered? Does he believe that DNA should be collected from a person who was arrested for crimes like battery against a spouse, willfully causing great bodily harm or death to a dependent child or an elder?
Gregory Gadlin was serving time for slashing his girlfriend’s face and hands with a butcher knife, but was released early because his crime wasn’t considered “violent” under Prop 57 guidelines. Does George Gascón think that the victims of Gadlin and other violent offenders released early were adequately protected by Prop 57?
Based upon the “legal analysis” in his tweet, we know the answers to these questions. He opposes Prop 20, which will be on the November ballot and make common sense fixes to many of the unintended consequences caused by Propositions 47 and 57.
Michele Hanisee is President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, the collective bargaining agent representing nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles.