ADDA Makes Inquiry About Chief of Staff Joseph Iniguez

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Below is a letter sent Tuesday by John Rees, executive director of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys to Tim Pescatello, senior manager of the Los Angeles County’s Employee Relations Division. The letter sets forth an inquiry concerning Joseph Iniguez, District Attorney George Gascón’s controversial chief of staff. Iniguez ran for district attorney in 2020, then pulled out of the race, endorsing Gascón. Many have questioned his fitness for his position. Iniguez was arrested on Dec, 11, 2021, by a Pocatello Azusa police officer and booked on suspicion of public intoxication, but the Office of Attorney General, to which the case was referred, dawdled in its investigation and the one-year period within which charges could be filed expired.

This letter serves as a request for you to confirm or deny a disturbing rumor that is gaining  currency in the District Attorney’s Office (Office).

Under normal circumstances, attempts at “rumor control” between this Association and the Office would be quickly and effectively accomplished by a mere phone call, text, or email.  However, the word “normal” cannot be applied to this Administration. For as you know, given the District Attorney’s extreme anti-union animus, it is all but impossible for ADDA to communicate with this Administration at all, let alone quickly or effectively. While the rumor in question may seem both wild and half-baked, we are duty bound to confirm or debunk it  for the benefit of the entire Office.

Accordingly, through other than official channels, we are given to understand that the District Attorney intends to promote—at least on a short-term basis—a completely unqualified political appointee on his Unclassified Staff to the highly responsible permanent Civil Service  management classification of Grade V Deputy District Attorney (DDA). Reportedly, that individual is his unclassified Chief of Staff, one Joseph Iniguez.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, Mr. Iniguez is a modest little man with much to be modest about. Reportedly, prior to his meteoric rise to the top as Acting Chief Deputy (ACD) in the Unclassified Service, Mr. Iniguez was a Grade II DDA. Reportedly, prior to his assentation to the ACD position, Mr. Iniguez had amassed a less-than-stellar Office record of having prosecuted a mere four felony cases—two of which he supposedly lost. While at some point he became a Grade III DDA, to the best of our knowledge, information, and belief, Mr. Iniguez has never been promoted to the level of Grade IV DDA.

(NOTE: given that Mr. Gascon has admitted that he, himself, has never tried any cases, this could mean that three of the top four Office executives in the largest prosecutorial agency in the nation may have collectively tried a grand total of four cases.)

Why, you may ask, would Mr. Iniguez—who receives a princely compensation package in excess of $406,000 per year—be interested in taking a pay cut occasioned by being placed in a Grade V DDA position? The answer may involve a sinister and a twisted scheme.

To begin with, Mr. Gascon will not be the District Attorney forever. When that occurs, the successor Department Head is highly likely to replace Mr. Iniguez with someone who is considerably more qualified and capable. This means that Mr. Iniguez may have to demote to his last Civil Service rank (e.g., Grade III DDA). However, by placing him on a Grade V DDA position on a short to very short-term basis, Mr. Iniguez may claim that he is entitled to be returned to his highest Civil Service classification (e.g., Grade V DDA). Additionally, by being placed in a Grade V DDA position following Mr. Gascon’s departure, Mr. Iniguez could avoid having to serve as a Grade III DDA under other attorneys that he may have stepped on while serving in the Unclassified Service.

As you know, the position of Grade V DDA is a very important Civil Service management  classification that only the most experienced and most capable Grade IV DDAs attain. Under any circumstances, it is difficult to imagine that Mr. Iniguez has meaningfully added to his otherwise unspectacular prosecutorial record.

If any of the forgoing is correct, then for the County to knowingly permit anyone so manifestly unsuited to be appointed to such a critical managerial position would be a travesty to the merit-based Civil Service system as well as to the very underpinnings of good government.

Tim, it is hoped that what we have heard and what has been related to you is merely an unfounded rumor. As always, if you have any questions in this regard, please contact me at your earliest convenience. That said, your prompt attention to this matter will be greatly appreciated.

Prosecutors Union Seeks Meeting to Discuss Gascón

Rees on Tuesday sent a separate letter to Pescatello saying:

The purpose of the letter is to briefly highlight our ongoing concerns with management of the District Attorney’s Office (Office) and to request to meet with you.

Policy changes and the management practices have resulted in numerous situations that have recently escalated to create working conditions that negatively impact service to the public and threaten the mission of the Office. We look forward to sharing information/data that may sort out the underlying issues and substantiate the hostile working environment by work unit that our members continue to experience.

Accordingly, below you will find a partial summary our ongoing concerns:

1. Since 2020, vacancy rates have increased in all levels of Deputy District Attorneys (DDA) in the Office.

2. Coinciding with staff vacancy rates, caseloads for all levels of classification have increased to unmanageable levels creating a backlog of cases and a resulting inability to meet the statutory prosecution deadlines.

3. Since 2020, retention of talented DDAs has become an issue with more DDAs leaving service by moving to other County positions, to other counties, and generally leaving County service in advance of actual retirement age than previously.

4. Recruitment has not produced enough candidates to fill Grade I DDA vacancies.<

5. Since 2020, the applicant pool for all DDA positions is historically low because of the reputation and policy direction of the current Administration.

6. Working conditions and salaries are no longer comparable to other County positions at the same grade level due to the policy changes that impact both workload and staffing.

7. Punitive transfers and reassignment of the most experienced and more senior DDAs to positions of lesser responsibility and into areas outside of their technical expertise has further created a hostile and toxic environment that is clearly a violation of the County’s Policy of Equity. More senior DDA’s are threatened with reassignment and increased commutes for any shared policy concerns that they may have expressed.

8. This Administration fails to engage in good faith interactive processes to address medical accommodations of more senior employees relying instead on transfers and reassignments to chill any discussions.

At the meeting, we will need to discuss data exchanges, sources of information and agree to an informational exchange process that directly deals with each of the above concerns. In addition, there may be a need to investigate different aspects of each allegation to find the root cause of the hostile work environment given that varying degrees of mismanagement may exist by work unit.

We look forward to scheduling a meeting in the very near future. Thank you in advance for your prompt reply.

California Could Further Reduce Gun Violence. If Only We’d Do It.

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By Eric W. Siddall 


For as long as he’s been our governor, Gavin Newsom has advocated for stronger gun laws. On the national level, he has condemned lax enforcement in Florida, Texas, and Missouri, where gun laws are far less stringent than in California. On the state level, he has passed regulations to combat gun violence.


Every prosecutor would agree that gun violence is an American epidemic. We see it, up close and personal, almost every day. And we fervently believe, like the governor, that policymakers and prosecutors should do everything they can to hold people accountable when they use guns to victimize their fellow Californians.


Tragically, some elected prosecutors like George Gascón (Los Angeles) and Pamela Price (Alameda) don’t agree. Every day, they refuse to file firearms-related sentencing enhancements in cases in which a defendant uses a gun while committing a crime.


Their “so what, who cares?” approach to gun violence undermines every Californian’s common sense desire: to treat those who use guns to terrorize and kill their neighbors more harshly than those who don’t.


Governor Newsom has the opportunity to approach this de facto abolition of California gun laws with the same passion he exhibits at the state and national level. 


He is right to slam gun policies in other states like Florida or Texas. But the undermining of our state gun laws by some local prosecutors is much more subtle – yet just as destructive. And Newsom should know, better than most, that getting guns out of the hands of criminals is both the right thing to do, and it’s what Californians want.


California has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, but those laws don’t matter if the people charged with enforcing them don’t care enough to use them.


We implore the governor to use his platform to make California a safer place to live, by pushing California’s elected District Attorneys to enforce our gun laws. His leadership on this issue would go a long way toward improving the lives and communities of the Californians who elected him. 


Eric Siddall is Vice 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. Woke LA DA George Gascón has 10,000-case backlog, ‘toxic’ attitude driving staff away: sources

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Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón is an “authoritarian” and “toxic” manager whose ultra-woke approach has led scores of prosecutors to quit and 10,000 cases to pile up, sources tell The Post.

Justice is not being served in the most populous county in the nation because Gascón has driven talent away, demoted top lawyers and fights anyone who doesn’t share his views, according to multiple sources who have worked for him.

One former LA prosecutor said Gascón’s policies have eroded trust with the public the office serves, through generous plea deals allowing criminals to get out of jail or prison without serving hard time or declining to prosecute crimes at all.

“In my career as a prosecutor, I’ve never had victims’ families actually hate us until I came into this office,” a former deputy DA told The Post.

“We are hated by all the victims because of lack of prosecution and low sentences because of his policies.

“Gascón is so focused on justice for black and brown defendants, but the victims and their families are also black and brown. Where is the justice for them? We are making them victims of the criminal justice system yet again.”

Cuba-born Gascón, 69, assumed office in Los Angeles in 2020 after eight years serving as the DA of San Francisco. He has been divisive from the start and has survived two attempts to recall him from the position.

“The reputation of the office has been destroyed and people know he’s hostile to his employees,” said Eric Siddall, vice president of the LA County Association of Deputy District Attorneys.

“He has an authoritarian management style, and engages in retaliatory acts against employees who don’t share his ideology.”

Sources claimed the District Attorney’s Office has over 200 open positions, which has contributed to the huge backlog in cases, which sources say is up to 10,000 which have yet to be filed.

The DA’s Office disputed the hiring figure, claiming they only have a total of 139 positions available and blaming “retirement and a previous hiring freeze,” but would not comment on the number of cases piled up.

Former Los Angeles County DA Steve Cooley, who ran the office from 2000 to 2012, told The Post that recruitment was never previously an issue, but the office has recently started to “hemorrhage” talent.


ADDA Thankful for ‘Friend of Court’ Briefs

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Los Angeles, April 26, 2023 – The Association of Deputy District Attorneys (“ADDA”) today thanked the victim advocates, legal experts, and community groups that have filed “friend of the court” briefs with the California Supreme Court supporting the organization’s landmark lawsuit against Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón.

“On behalf of our members, we want to thank those who have filed briefs in support of our position: that no one – not even George Gascón – is above the law. We are humbled and grateful for their support.” said ADDA President Michele Hanisee.

“This groundbreaking lawsuit will define the boundaries of the separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches and whether that system of checks-and-balances is worth protecting. We think so, and it’s a position that a state superior court and a panel of state appellate court judges have agreed. We hope the California Supreme Court follows suit when it decides this case in the weeks and months ahead,” Hanisee added.

The lawsuit alleges that Gascón’s directive not to charge prior “strike” convictions violates California law, which imposes a mandatory duty on prosecutors to plead and prove strike priors.

“These briefs echo and add to our defense of a fundamental, non-partisan American principle: no one person is above the law,” said ADDA Vice President Eric Siddall. We are free to disagree with the law. We can – and should — critique its shortcomings and inefficiencies. When it doesn’t work, we can – and should – work like hell to change it. But no one person – no matter how high their office, how deep their pockets, or how inflated their ego – is above it. Not even George Gascón.”

Below are some excerpts from each of the amicus briefs in support of ADDA.

Professors Paul G. Cassell, Margaret Garvin, and John C. Yoo.
“The District Attorney’s refusal to enforce the Three Strikes Law not only violates the text of the California constitution and this Court’s precedents, it also rejects California’s implementation of the principle of the separation of powers.”

“Like all other powers vested in the Executive branch by the California Constitution, prosecutorial discretion is not absolute. The form of discretion Gascón claims aggrandizes the traditional scope of the executive power under the California Constitution, subverts and encroaches upon the role of the Legislature, and ignores the will of the people.”

“Gascón’s theory of prosecutorial discretion proves too much. It would extend prosecutorial discretion beyond its traditional bounds and subsume the role of the Legislature and the will of the people in defining crimes.”

Crime Survivors Resource Center, Justice for Murdered Children, and Barbara Jones
“Whether it is a Southern politician trying to preserve slavery, a conservative politician who opposes abortion and LGBTQ+ rights, a conservative rural sheriff who likes guns, a county that did not think COVID-19 was a serious health issue, or a progressive urban district attorney who does not want to punish dangerous serial criminal offenders, they are each subject to the rule of law. They must comply with the laws to which they are subject even if they do not like them and even if they conflict with their professed values.”

“Ultimately, whether Three Strikes law is good or bad public policy is irrelevant to the issues presented in this case. The sole question is whether Gascón has the power himself to alter state law because he does not like it. He does not.”

Criminal Justice Legal Foundation
“This case calls on the judicial branch to survey the line between the executive and legislative powers of the state. In theory, judgments about the wisdom of the competing policies should not matter in marking out this line. In the ebb and flow of political change, the sides could switch at any time. Even so, appellants have chosen to set forth as background information a sharply skewed portrait of both the history of the Three Strikes Law and the current state of research regarding public safety and sentence length.”

“The District Attorney’s claim that long sentences have a strong criminogenic effect, sufficient to outweigh the incapacitation benefit, is contradicted by the published research literature as a whole, not supported by it.”

California District Attorney’s Association
“Demonstrating a lack of understanding of the source of his authority, the District Attorney perversely turns the separation of powers doctrine on its head in an attempt to insulate his actions. He mischaracterizes the nature of “discretion” to apply to his capricious nullification of the law. He compels his subordinates to violate their own legal duties and ethical obligations. And he cloaks his actions in secrecy by failing to abide by a process that would put the impact of his decisions more squarely in the public eye.”

“The District Attorney presents this Court with a twisted view of the separation of powers doctrine. Through his reasoning, a single county prosecutor may be empowered to ignore the legal constructs of the People, the Legislature, and the Judiciary, declaring which law will be followed in that prosecutor’s county. Separation of powers provides checks on the branches of government, it does not serve to negate them.”

About The ADDA
The Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) is the collective bargaining agent representing over 800 Deputy District Attorneys working for the County of Los Angeles.

ADDA Notes National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

Swim Again domestic violence video teaser image

During National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, ADDA wishes to show our support for all victims of crime, including survivors of domestic violence like those showcased in this documentary, Swim Again: Surviving Domestic Violence.