Parents Speaking Out on Father’s Day Weekend On Tragic Losses from Counterfeit Drugs

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By Michele Hanisee


Father’s Day is traditionally a time for celebrating the bond between fathers and their children. However, for some fathers, this occasion is a painful reminder of the tragic loss they have experienced due to counterfeit drugs. These grieving fathers are now stepping forward, breaking their silence, and demanding justice for their children who unwittingly consumed lethal substances disguised as harmless medications like Valium, Oxycodone, or Xanax. This Father’s Day weekend, their stories resonate as a stark warning about the grave consequences of the counterfeit drug epidemic.


Over 100,000 Americans died last year due to overdoses, and in many of these cases, fentanyl was the poisonous ingredient that led to their death. Fentanyl poisoning has become the #1 killer of adults aged 18-45 in the United States, surpassing car accidents and suicides.


Fentanyl is often consumed unknowingly, as it is mixed in with other drugs, or disguised as less dangerous prescription drugs. People think they were taking Adderall, Percocet, Xanax, or some other prescription drug and get poison instead. Life-threatening effects can occur in as little as two minutes, and it only takes a hundred-thousandths of an ounce (0.00007) which is an amount less than a tip of a pencil, to kill somebody.


Sadly, our state legislature and Attorney General, Rob Bonta, have failed to take action to address this public health and public safety crisis.


On Friday, I joined with fathers of fentanyl victims at a press conference in front of the Los Angeles offices of the Attorney General. These courageous fathers are no longer willing to remain silent. They stood in front of the Attorney General’s office and told heartbreaking stories of finding their teenage and young adult children dead in their bedrooms from fentanyl overdoses. They are urging Attorney General Bonta to put pressure on our legislators in Sacramento to take action. And the action they are seeking is so minimal, it is difficult to understand why any person with common sense would not support the legislation.


Alexandra’s law is named for the beautiful daughter of Matt Capuletto, who died of a fentanyl overdose after ingesting what she thought was a prescription drug. Alexandra’s law would require that when a person is convicted of selling fentanyl they be admonished that if they sell this lethal drug again in the future, and a person dies as a result of ingesting the fentanyl they sold, that they could potentially be charged with murder.


That is all these fathers were asking for. A warning. Yet our legislature has refused to enact this simple, and commonsense requirement.


On this Father’s Day, as families come together to celebrate the role of fathers, it is essential to remember those fathers who have been robbed of the opportunity to watch their children grow and thrive. By speaking out and demanding action from Attorney General Rob Bonta, these grieving fathers honor their children’s memory and strive to prevent others from suffering the same fate. Their heartfelt stories serve as a somber reminder that the fight against counterfeit drugs is a battle for justice and the protection of our loved ones.


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.

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.  

LA County Jail Decarceration Depopulation Plan Delayed Amid Backlash

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Los Angeles, April 3, 2023 – A dangerous proposal introduced by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Lindsey Horvath to “depopulate and decarcerate” LA County jails by declaring a humanitarian crisis in the County’s jail system was pulled from tomorrow’s Board of Supervisors agenda due to opposition from Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys (LAADDA), Los Angeles County Police Chiefs Association, Contract Cities and other Supervisors.

“The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ motion to gut parts of the criminal justice system without input from stakeholders is dangerous and reckless. The authors sought no advice from those who know and understand public safety issues. The proposal sought to lower the jail population without addressing the root causes of crime or protecting the public. This catch-and-release program comes without any plan or infrastructure to protect the community from violent criminals apprehended by law enforcement. It creates no lockdown facilities for the mentally ill. It benefits no one except career criminals,” Eric Siddall, Vice President of the LAADD.

“We need to ensure that the most dangerous offenders don’t get out, first-time offenders don’t come back, and those with serious mental illnesses get appropriate care and help. This proposal does none of that,” said Siddall.

Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Hahn issued a statement saying that while she agrees with the need to address jail overcrowding, “any plan to reduce the population of our jails needs to be decided in partnership with law enforcement, our deputy district attorneys and our courts.”

Supervisor Kathryn Barger said she also planned to oppose the motion, as did the California Contract Cities Association who expressed concern that this action has the potential to adversely impact public safety in Los Angeles County.

“We appreciate Supervisor Hahn’s and Supervisor Barger’s leadership here and for their willingness to join our members in recognizing that the time for applying short-term patches to festering, decades-old problems is over,” Siddall concluded. “We look forward to working together with them on addressing these issues.”

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 Affiliates with The Marine Engineers Beneficial Association

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ADDA is now a member of the Coalition of County Unions and AFL-CIO

Los Angeles, March 22, 2023 – The Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) has officially become affiliated with the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (MEBA) to support the efforts and strengthen the voice of ADDA members. Through ADDA’s affiliation with MEBA, ADDA is also a member of the AFL-CIO. Additionally, through affiliation with MEBA, ADDA is now a member of the Coalition of County Unions (Coalition).

“The ADDA board is committed to providing the highest level of representation to the Deputy District Attorneys who make up our membership. Our affiliation with MEBA will strengthen our ability to further our goals,” said ADDA President Michele Hanisee.

ADDA joined MEBA to benefit ADDA members. MEBA permits the ADDA Board to retain complete autonomy over the affairs of the Association. This affiliation will strengthen our organization and give our members a stronger voice. Now more than ever, working Deputy D.A.s need the strength and support of the larger organized labor community. Affiliation with MEBA achieves that goal while ensuring that the Board of Directors retains autonomy over the affairs of the Association.

“Affiliating with MEBA, the AFL-CIO, state federations and the Coalition isn’t just the right thing to do — it is essential in our struggle against the mismanagement and incompetence of the current District Attorney,” said ADDA Vice President Eric Siddall.

As the newest member of the Coalition, ADDA joins a number of other MEBA-affiliated unions, including the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS), the Association of Public Defender Investigators (APDI), the California Association of Professional Employees (CAPE), the Los Angeles County Lifeguards Association (LACOLA), and the Professional Peace Officers Association (PPOA).

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. 

Gascon’s Decision to Gut Office’s Special Victims Unit is Case Study in Incompetence

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By Ryan Erlich

In early December, our office held its first post-pandemic “in-person” training seminar.

George Gascón showed up, ostensibly to introduce us to a new class of recently hired deputies. He was late. He had a cameraman in tow (because he’s starring in a documentary about himself). No one clapped when he was introduced… except for a few members of what he calls his “executive team.” He wasn’t prepared. He mangled the names of many of the new hires. And when he finished his brief “comments,” he scanned the room and asked — out loud and to no one in particular — “what do I do now?”

Great question, George.

After two years of staggering administrative incompetence, managerial chaos, mounting legal bills, and plummeting approval ratings, what does George Gascón do for an encore?

File to run for re-election, of course. Which he did on December 28, 2022.

Like a shark that swims to stay alive, Gascón must believe that running again is the only way to stay politically relevant or, at the very least, seem important at cocktail parties.

Renown over results. That’s his trademark.

For the next year, the most treacherous place in Los Angeles County will surely be the space between candidate Gascón and a TV camera.

But the situation is far worse behind the scenes.

More than 100 attorneys have left the District Attorney’s Office since Gascón took over. Some were respected and experienced DAs who decided to retire earlier than anticipated. Others left to work as prosecutors in other jurisdictions.

Refilling the ranks has been hard. Hiring new deputies is, for the first time in a very long time, a real challenge. Many aspiring prosecutors don’t want to work for Gascón. And even the let’s-change-it-from-the-inside public defenders aren’t interested in boarding a sinking ship.

But our numbers aren’t the only things that are down. So are our spirits. We are beat up, ground down, stretched thin, and short-staffed. Morale is low, especially for those of us who still love the job because of, or sometimes in spite of, what it was, what it is, and what we know it could be.

If you ask my colleagues, I’m sure some would say that our chief complaint about Gascón is that he’s often wrong on policy and the law. But he is also an epic failure as an administrator, leader, and manager. Why? Because he cares more about his own political future than anything else, including public safety and employee well-being.

Here’s an example.

Four weeks ago, a news outlet published an internal memo, now almost a year old, from the managers of our Victim Impact Program (“VIP”), which includes the units in our office that handle domestic violence and sexual abuse cases. These managers are more than just administrators; they are subject matter experts, mentors, and highly trained, experienced trial lawyers.

Their memo, which was addressed to key decisionmakers in Gascón’s administration, warned that “[c]ritical staffing shortages, combined with drastically increasing caseloads and additional work requirements… are creating operational and organizational risks with a significant potential for negative public safety impacts.”

In other words, if the office doesn’t flood these important units with resources and personnel, the most vulnerable victims and their loved ones will suffer. And some could end up dead.

Less than 24 hours later, Gascón announced that he was dissolving VIP and gutting those units.

Even now, almost a month after the initial rollout (and rollout is a generous term; it was more like a “Dear John” letter left on the mantel), practical details are hard to come by.

In videoconferences and telephone calls across the county, Gascón and his “executive team” seem to be making it up as they go along. (Un)surprisingly, few of the managers assigned to implement these changes knew they were coming.

Our union, the Association of Deputy District Attorneys (“ADDA”), immediately asked to meet with the administration to discuss these changes. Since then, we have made four separate requests for 35 basic items of bargaining-related information, including pre- and anticipated post-change caseloads; the names and work locations of affected deputies; information about what, if anything, the office is doing to attract and hire new deputies; and the names, titles, and qualifications of the people who came up with this scheme. Gascón and his team haven’t responded to any of them.

On March 7, we participated in what was supposed to be a two-hour labor-management Zoom meeting on this topic. Gascon’s representative cut it down to an hour even before we began the discussion. And over the course of that truncated hour, his representative couldn’t answer some of our most basic questions, like who decided to implement this plan or why the administration decided to do it on the day after the managers’ memo leaked to the press.

We were scheduled to meet with the administration yesterday, March 16. Gascón’s people canceled that meeting less than four hours before it was set to begin. This was a date that they chose, not us. In retrospect, we shouldn’t be surprised: many of Gascón’s managers still can’t answer the simplest questions about what comes next.

But here’s what we have learned about Gascón’s intentions from other sources, including our members. In addition to dissolving VIP, Gascón does not intend to throw any new resources or deputies at these cases. He intends to move deputies out of these units while cutting managerial support by at least 50%. He intends to consolidate control over these units downtown, where his political cronies can better punish dissent, prevent leaks, head off bad press, and bolster Gascón’s “brand” as he begins his reelection campaign. He also intends to hand some of these incredibly difficult and sensitive cases off to line prosecutors who aren’t trained to handle them. And, of course, he is moving many of the managers who wrote the memo out of these units; some will be pushed out of management altogether in yet another act of retaliation.

In the end, Gascón’s approach will lead to predictably disastrous outcomes for the county’s most vulnerable victims and will most likely increase caseloads for the already overworked attorneys who remain committed to this work.

Some in his administration have said as much. In rare moments of candor, they have conceded that Gascón’s scheme will endanger victims, make it more likely that cases will be mismanaged, and further compound the ongoing mistreatment of VIP deputies. Regrettably, these same administrators are either too weak, too afraid, or too comfortable in their current assignments to speak those truths directly to Gascón.

So why put these cases and their vulnerable victims at risk, especially when eliminating VIP was not one of the seven targeted recommendations in the leaked manager memo?

The answer is simple and predictable: because George Gascón is running for reelection.

This scheme is a political fix, dreamt up by someone who has never prosecuted a single case let alone a case involving domestic violence or sexual abuse. For ten months, Gascón sat on an incendiary memo that spelled out, in data-driven detail, the pressing need to ease the strain on VIP deputies and managers. And for ten months, he didn’t do a damn thing… until that explosive memo leaked.

And when that leak came, Gascón threw a handful of managerial spaghetti on the wall and hoped that it would stick. He did it to control the political narrative. He did it because he wanted to “get in front” of a harmful political story, one that is, at base, about his own managerial incompetence. He did it because he realized that ignoring the memo’s qualitative and quantitative criticism looked bad for him, especially when one considers that the objective criticism came from prosecutors who know a lot more about these issues than he and his “executive team” ever will. He did it because he hoped voters and the press would be gullible enough to accept his claim that he was “expanding” these units, not eliminating them.

This is Gascón the Manager in a nutshell. Petty and thin-skinned. Chasing re-election at the expense of public safety.

Gascón’s scheme is scheduled to “go live” today, March 17. It shouldn’t.

Ask Gascón to immediately stop this dangerous and unnecessary “reorganization.” Tell him to go back to the drawing board, to solicit real feedback from affected deputies, managers, frontline victim advocates, detectives and investigators, community groups, and – most importantly – the victims of these crimes and their families. After all, they’re the ones who will suffer the long-term consequences of Gascón’s short-term, selfish thinking.

Because when this whole thing blows up in his face, the results will be tragic. Those who have committed the most heinous crimes – rapists, child molesters, and domestic abusers – will get another break while the county’s most vulnerable victims are revictimized, yet again, by the man elected to protect them.<

The downside risk is too great to stay silent.

Ryan Erlich is a Board Member of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA), the collective bargaining agent representing over 800 Deputy District Attorneys working for the County of Los Angeles.

George Gascón Rejects ADDA Request to Reconsider Dismantling Victim Impact Program

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Los Angeles, March 16, 2023 – Today, with only a few hours’ notice, District Attorney George Gascón canceled a meeting that his staff had scheduled a week ago with the Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA). The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the request by the ADDA to reconsider his decision to dissolve the Victim Impact Program (VIP).

VIP is a division of specially trained attorneys who prosecute the most sensitive cases in the office, such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, elder abuse, child abuse, hate crimes, sex crimes, and stalking. Gascón’s planned reorganization would reduce the number of experienced lawyers handling these cases.

“This decision by Gascón to gut this essential unit is rash, self-serving, and retaliatory,” said ADDA President Michele Hanisee. “It will make victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse less safe, and in many cases, put their lives in danger. But what do you expect from a guy who has never tried a case or had to help a traumatized crime victim navigate the court process.”

At a time when reported incidences of domestic violence and sexual abuse are at dangerously high levels, Gascón’s cuts will:

  • Reduce the number of attorneys with the specialized training and experience needed to handle such cases;
  • Increase caseloads for the already overworked attorneys assigned to prosecute cases involving sexual abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse, and hate crimes;
  • Shift responsibility for handling many of these cases to prosecutors who are not trained to handle them;
  • Remove the most experienced domestic violence and sexual abuse prosecutors from courthouses across the county;
  • Lead to predictably disastrous outcomes for the county’s most vulnerable victims.

These changes effectively transfer Deputy District Attorneys to give the appearance of making a change, but in fact, reduce the number of prosecutors that handle these delicate matters.

“No one outside of George Gascón’s insular and inexperienced executive team thinks this is a good idea,” said ADDA Vice President Eric Siddall. “This level of mismanagement and incompetence is typical of Gascón. His stubborn refusal to pause or rethink this petty power tantrum is arrogant, irresponsible, and a threat to public safety.”

In April 2022, managers in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office’s Victim Impact Program (“VIP”) sent George Gascón and his executive team a detailed, data-driven memo warning the administration in no uncertain terms that people would suffer and die if he didn’t flood those units with additional resources and personnel.

On February 15, 2023, the managers’ memo leaked to the media. Less than 24 hours later, Gascón dissolved the units and retaliated against many of the managers who wrote the memo. Gascón’s dangerous reorganization will take effect tomorrow.

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.

George Gascón’s Illegal Retaliation Costs Continue to Add Up

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$1.5 jury verdict is just the beginning of a dozen retaliation and misconduct lawsuits 

By Eric W. Siddall 

It’s not unusual for a public agency to settle or lose a lawsuit. It’s also not uncommon for a public agency to use taxpayer dollars to cover those costs. But it’s almost unheard of for a public agency to shell out millions in taxpayer funds to pay for the incompetence of a single public official who continues to commit the same personal acts of misconduct over and over again.

That is what is happening here in Los Angeles County with District Attorney George Gascón, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. 

While he was San Francisco’s District Attorney, Gascón retaliated against an investigator who questioned his decision to carry a gun on commercial flights. The controversy began when investigators reported that Gascón continuously violated federal law by bringing a personal firearm on commercial flights and that he committed perjury when he falsely claimed in signed documents that he was an active police officer. These allegations also appeared in a lawsuit filed in federal court. According to news reports, Gascón went ballistic after learning of the TSA complaint, yelling at investigators at a training day that a “cancer” was growing in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Investigator Bureau and that he intended to “cut it out.” San Francisco’s city attorney settled that case for $400,000.   

Gascón also drove his SUV into a protestor during a 2018 demonstration outside of his former Bay Area home. San Francisco County settled that lawsuit for $46,000. 

Since he took office in December 2020, Gascón’s incompetence and vindictiveness have cost Los Angeles County taxpayers at least $2.5 million in judgments. 

In 2021, the County paid out an $800,000 cash settlement plus an estimated $300,000 in severance pay to a veteran prosecutor, Richard Doyle, who questioned Gascón’s order to dismiss a train derailment case. Gascón refused to give Doyle a reason for the dismissal—which is required by law—and then promptly removed Doyle from his position. Media reports later revealed that the attorney representing the defendant was a major Gascón political supporter. The defendant also boasted in recorded jail calls that his attorney had direct contact with Gascón. 

This week, a jury awarded Deputy District Attorney Shawn Randolph $1.5 million after Gascón retaliated against her for questioning the legality of his policies. This case actually went to trial. Gascón testified. The jury listened. They clearly did not believe him or the political loyalist who testified on his behalf. 

Gascon’s misconduct has already cost Angelenos $2.5 million in taxpayer-funded payouts. That’s about $100,000 per month. And with sixteen similar lawsuits pending, the final bill will likely be even higher. 

But it’s not just about the money. Gascón’s attempt to silence dissent by retaliating against those questioning him is troubling. It is also consistent with his statements. When discussing that deputy district attorneys, like most public servants in Los Angeles County, enjoy civil service protection, Gascón stated: “Some people will be unhappy and like they’ll either become internal terrorists or they’ll leave. And I know certainly how to deal with both.” 

Is dissent a cancer – or a form of terrorism? Gascón’s authoritarian-tinged sentiment is incompatible with the highest ideals of being a prosecutor: to do justice. His retaliatory actions suggest to all who work in the District Attorney’s office that their jobs are at risk if they witness and report any of his wrongdoing. In short, his actions and words are a stark reminder of why civil service protection exists in the first place. 

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.

When Ethics are an Afterthought

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On February 22, 2023, George Gascón violated the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Legal Policy Manual when discussing the case of the man arrested for the murder of Bishop David O’Connell. Office policy states that “[I]nformation shall not be released” to the media and public, which includes “Information regarding a confession, admission or statement” made by the defendant. Despite the policy prohibition, Gascón discussed the alleged confession made by the defendant.

Not only does office policy forbid the statements made by Gascón, the State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit prosecutors from making out-of-court statements they know will be publicly disseminated and that have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding in the matter. Comments to the ABA rule, on which the California rule is based, singled out revealing the existence or contents of a confession as misconduct because it is likely to have a material prejudicial effect on future proceedings.

These fumbles concluded a rocky week for Gascón, as earlier in the week, he was forced to take the stand and testify in a lawsuit accusing him of retaliating against Deputy District Attorney Shawn Randolph after she told him some of his “reform” efforts were unethical and illegal.

Gascon testified under oath that the policies he implemented were all legal, notwithstanding the rulings of a Superior Court and California Court of Appeal that some of those policies violated the law and forced prosecutors to violate their ethical obligations if they followed them.

This will be the first of many trips to the stand for Gascón, as there are currently nine separate lawsuits brought by Deputy District Attorneys alleging retaliation by Gascón after they questioned or criticized his policy directives.

Whether it be office policy, state bar rules of professional conduct, or civil service rules, Gascón continues to violate one rule after another, guided not by the law or ethics, but by ideology and politics.


Convicted gang murderers commit new crimes

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By Kathleen Cady

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón’s blanket Youth Justice policy mandated that several “former minors” who were convicted by a jury of gang murder and sentenced in criminal court be released. In less than one and a half years, two thirds of these convicted murderers have been charged with new felonies.

These convicted murderers, who were 16 or 17 at the time they committed their crimes, were released after serving only a fraction of the time of their original sentence. Because of the passage of Proposition 57 in 2016, some former minors were sent back to juvenile court by the Court of Appeal, with directions to hold a retroactive “transfer” hearing to determine whether their conviction should have been in juvenile court or criminal court. Gascón did not conduct any of these transfer hearings. The result is that these defendants who were convicted of gang murders, sometimes of multiple murders, were released back into our communities having served only a few years in custody. In all these cases, the former minors were released without any assurances that they received rehabilitative services, nor any evaluation as to their current dangerousness. Some of these former minors had subsequent convictions for crimes of violence they committed while in custody.

It is unknown exactly how many of these cases there were because the District Attorney’s Office has not provided that information, but a declaration under penalty of perjury filed by someone in the DA’s administration stated “there were approximately eight to ten former minors who had already been sentenced in adult court, but were conditionally remanded to juvenile court” for a transfer hearing.

The law recognizes that the juvenile justice system is not the appropriate place for some 16- and 17-year-olds who commit exceptionally heinous and brutal crimes. This legal procedure for a minor to be prosecuted in criminal court is triggered by the prosecution filing a transfer motion. (Welfare and Institutions Code 707). This procedure provides a judicial safeguard to ensure that only those minors who can’t be rehabilitated in the juvenile system are transferred to criminal jurisdiction.

At least six of these former minors were released in the summer or fall of 2021. All were in their 20’s and now have the street cred gangs give to people who’ve served time in prison. Two were not released: one convicted murderer was not released because he was serving an 8-year sentence for assault on a prisoner in a different county; and one was not released because he was pending new charges of attempted murder committed while in custody.

Of the six convicted murderers who were released, four have been rearrested. One is now charged with a new murder; one is now charged with felon in possession of a gun, evading police and drug charges, and two convicted gang murderers are now charged with felon in possession of a gun. Gascón claims to rely on “data and science.” What the data reveals from this group of convicted murderers is that 66% have been re-arrested and are now charged with murder or having guns . . . again. Only two have not been re-arrested. Below is a summary of the defendants who were released and have been rearrested:

Victor Bibiano and another gang member were convicted by a jury of the 2009 murders of Justin Curiel and Javier Zamora. An additional victim was shot but survived. The jury found that the defendants committed the murders for the benefit of the gang and Bibiano used a gun. The Court of Appeal sent the case back for a retroactive transfer hearing, which the District Attorney’s Office did not conduct. Because of that, Bibiano was released after only 12 years in custody after murdering two people for the benefit of his gang.

Within a few months of being released, Bibiano was arrested and convicted of spousal abuse and then released. A few months after being released on spousal abuse, Bibiano was arrested and charged with a different codefendant of murdering Mario Rodriguez on April 16, 2022. Because Gascón’s policies do not allow gang allegations, it is unknown whether this new crime was committed for the benefit of the gang. Bibiano remains in custody on murder charges. Although the law allows for Special Circumstance of multiple murders to be charged, Gascón’s policies do not, so if Bibiano is convicted, his sentence will effectively be the same as a person who has not previously murdered two people.

Jairo Bustamante aka “Hunter” and Juan Solano Sanchez were codefendants in the 2011 murders of Franklin Munoz and Israel Salinas. Bustamante was convicted by jury of murder of Salinas and voluntary manslaughter of Munoz three days earlier. A jury convicted Juan Solano Sanchez of the murder of Munoz. The jury found the gang allegation true and that they both committed the killings for the benefit of their gang. Bustamante had a prior robbery juvenile conviction. While in prison, Bustamante was convicted of arson. While in prison Solano was convicted of felony battery. The Court of Appeal sent the case back for a retroactive transfer hearing, which Gascón’s office did not conduct. Because of that, Bustamante and Solano were released after spending only 10 years in custody.

On 2/14/2022, Solano Sanchez was arrested and charged for felon in possession of a gun. On 10/20/2022, Bustamante was arrested and charged with felony in possession of a gun. Despite the fact that both are convicted gang murderers who used a gun and are now pending charges of felon in possession of a gun, they both remain out of custody. Gascón’s Pretrial Release policy and his belief in the unfairness of cash bail is responsible for Bustamante and Solano Sanchez still being out of custody.

Andrew Cachu was convicted of the 2015 murder and robbery of Louis Amela. The jury also found the crimes were committed for the benefit of Cachu’s gang. The Court of Appeal sent the case back for the District Attorney’s Office to conduct a retroactive transfer hearing, which the District Attorney’s Office again did not conduct, resulting in Cachu being released after only 6 years in custody. Within a few months, Cachu was arrested and is charged with evading police, being a felon with a gun, possessing cocaine and methamphetamine for sale and driving under the influence. Cachu remains in custody.

More than a year after issuing his blanket policies, and after several public fiascos, Gascón modified his Youth Justice policy stating, “in exceptional circumstances, criminal jurisdiction may be appropriate for youth offenders.” His change in policy is little solace to Bibiano’s newest murder victim.

Gascón’s policies threaten public safety and are directly responsible for dangerous defendants being out of custody who have hurt fathers, mothers, daughters and sons. A lawsuit has been filed against Gascón claiming that he is responsible for the deaths of El Monte police officers. But for Gascón’s policies, our communities would be safer. Convicted gang murderer Bibiano would not have been released from custody and Mario Rodriguez would still be alive. Convicted gang murderers Cachu, Bustamante and Solano Sanchez would not have illegally obtained more guns and committed new crimes.

Gascón’s policies help criminal defendants and disregard victims and public safety. Unfortunately for the residents of Los Angeles County, as long as Gascón’s policies remain in place, gang members are empowered, and our communities continue to suffer.

Kathleen Cady is one of several former prosecutors who are providing pro bono assistance to crime victims in response to Gascón’s policies.