In $100,000 Sweetheart Deal, Gascón Seeks Supervisors’ OK to Pay Political Ally to Protect Him from Employee Retaliation Lawsuits

Association of Deputy District Attorneys logo

It’s no secret that District Attorney George Gascón has stocked his upper management with political cronies and retaliated against career prosecutors who question his workplace policies. It’s also no secret that his anti-labor managerial missteps have cost the County (and its taxpayers) millions of dollars in judgments and settlements.

And now he’s asking the county’s Board of Supervisors to pony up another $100,000 to pay a “central witness” to defend him from these employment-related lawsuits.

Gascón’s “central witness” is no stranger to him or the office; it’s Sharon Woo, his former Chief Deputy. Woo was Gascón’s Number Two when he served as San Francisco’s DA. He brought her down to Los Angeles to fill the same role after his 2020 election. Gascón says he needs to put Woo on the payroll to participate in “background information discussions, witness deposition, and trial preparation” with his lawyers, to “access case information, personnel information, and prior office-related emails and other communications,” and to “defend the Department’s actions in these lawsuits.”

Woo retired at the beginning of the year. The $100,000 payment would come on top of any retirement benefits she is currently receiving.

Gascón’s request raises many questions.

First, why is it necessary to pay a “central witness” $100,000? What is his administration expecting in return?

Second, why does the County need to “re-hire” Woo to do what any other subpoenaed witness would have to do and what she could just as easily do as a non-employee? The California statute authorizing the re-hire — California Government Code section 7522.56 — applies “either during an emergency to prevent stoppage of public business or because the retired person has skills needed to perform work of limited duration.” Why does Gascón need to pay Woo $100,000 to do what one would expect any other witness to do without compensation, i.e., to retrieve and review documents, speak with Gascón’s attorneys, and show up (presumably in response to a subpoena) to testify when asked?

Third, if the $100,000 is truly for document retrieval and not to compensate Woo for her testimony, why can’t the current Chief Deputy, Gascón acolyte and right-hand-guy Joseph F. Iniguez, handle the simple tasks of accessing case information, personnel records, and office-related emails? After all, Iniguez served as Gascón’s interim Chief Deputy before Gascón hired Woo and he has served as Chief Deputy since Woo retired. In between, Iniguez served as Gascón’s Chief of Staff, an executive-level position that gave him broad oversight of and influence over personnel and policy matters. The County is already paying him $300,000-plus a year to do Woo’s old job. At that price, one would hope that Iniguez knows just as much about running the office as she does.

And finally, why is Gascón bringing Woo back as a Grade IV deputy District Attorney, a position that she never held? The move will “use up” a budgeted Grade IV position that could – and should – go to promote a current line prosecutor or bring back a recently retired deputy District Attorney, either of whom could take on core prosecutorial work. This is a serious concern given the growing shortage of prosecutors in the District Attorney’s Office.

We hope that the Board of Supervisors puts these questions to Gascón. And we hope that you do too.

Gascón’s request is Item #78 on today’s Board agenda. Here’s a link to the agenda and instructions on how you can call in.

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

Gascón Refuses to Attend L.A. Crime Victims Candidate Forum

Association of Deputy District Attorneys logo

By LaWanda Hawkins and Kathy Cady

Los Angeles County Crime Victims hosted a District Attorney candidates’ forum on Thursday night, February 29. District Attorney George Gascón skipped it. He had a scheduling conflict.

Gascón’s absence was an insult to crime victims and their family members, but it was not a surprise.

As District Attorney, George Gascón has embraced policies that are, at best, indifferent to the interests of crime victims. At worst, his approach is insulting.

Gascón has ignored victims’ concerns about bail, the filing of certain charges and sentencing enhancements, and how to appropriately handle juveniles who commit violent crimes. He will not let prosecutors attend parole hearings, a tragic decision that leaves victims and their family members to fend for themselves. He called a murder victim’s mother “uneducated” because she had the guts to tell him she didn’t agree with his policies. He has suggested that those who seek lengthy prison sentences for the most violent offenders are “insane.” This latter approach is not only dismissive, but it also fails to acknowledge the importance of holding those who commit crimes accountable for their actions.

But Gascón’s failure to show up for victims and their families at this week’s candidate forum—and his failure show up for them at all—has had tangible repercussions for our friends, neighbors, and family members who have suffered the life-changing and traumatic effects of violent crime.

Our legal system guarantees that anyone charged with a crime will get an attorney to represent them. Victims don’t have that same guarantee. Instead, they depend upon the criminal justice system to secure just and balanced outcomes. A key part of that system is a functional prosecutor’s office, one led by a competent leader. Victims and their families want – and need – a District Attorney who will do this important and essential work. The want someone who will stand up for victims, not talk down to them.

At minimum, they want a chief prosecutor who will show up for them.

George Gascón is not that District Attorney.

We all have a choice to make in this week’s primary election for District Attorney. We can vote to keep Gascón in office or we can abandon him, just as he has abandoned victims of crime and their families. His decision to skip last week’s debate makes their choice, and ours, an easy one.

LaWanda Hawkins’ 19-year-old son, Reginald Reese, was murdered December 6, 1995. His murder remains unsolved. In 1996, less than a year after Reggie’s death, Hawkins founded Justice for Murdered Children, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for victims’ families, to ensure that those killed in unsolved murders will be remembered, and that justice will be served to their killers. She serves on the Los Angeles City Mayor’s Crisis Response Team where she is called to respond to homicides to assist victims’ families.

Kathy Cady, a Victims’ Rights Attorney at Dordulian Law Group, brings over three decades of legal expertise, including 31 years as a Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office prosecutor. Ms. Cady

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

District Attorneys’ Union Files Unfair Labor Charge Against George Gascón For Lying About Union Activity and Undermining Union’s Work

Association of Deputy District Attorneys logo

Los Angeles, California, February 23, 2024 — The Association of Deputy District Attorneys (“ADDA”), the union representing nearly 800 line prosecutors in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, today filed an unfair labor practice charge against Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón for false, anti-union statements he made in an interview with an editorial board member of the Southern California News Group.

Gascón’s comments, which were published verbatim in newspapers across Los Angeles and Orange counties, contained provably false allegations about the union’s efforts to protect its members’ workplace rights.

“George Gascón’s lies are designed to undermine the hard work that our union has done to stand up for and defend our members’ civil service and workplace rights. He is also seeking to shift the blame for his failed leadership onto the line prosecutors who work in the District Attorney’s office,” said ADDA President Michele Hanisee.

In his comments, Gascón falsely alleged that the ADDA turned down an offer from Gascón to increase pay for its members, discouraged members from applying for promotions, and raised union dues multiple times without member consent:

“In their work against me, the union had to raise their dues twice and now a third time — they spend it on the campaign against me, on recalls, on lawsuits. But … we are seeing cracks” in the internal opposition. “We gave tests for DA 4,” a step up for junior prosecutors. “and the union told people not to take the exam, and over 300 people took the exam. The union refused my offer to give raises to many of our attorneys,” because they didn’t want him to have that victory.

None of that is true.

“District Attorney Gascón’s statements are utter lies made up from whole cloth, without a grain of substance to them, which only underscores the insult to the Los Angeles County Employee Relations Ordinance… and hearkens back to the days when anti-labor thugs used lead pipes instead of words to assault labor policy and labor unions,” the ADDA’s unfair labor practice charge alleges.

The ADDA’s Board of Directors has never discouraged its members from taking a promotional exam; indeed, all eligible members of the Board applied for the promotion to which Gascón referred. In his three-year tenure as District Attorney, Gascón has never offered to increase deputies’ pay; in fact, he lacks the power to do so. The ADDA’s members approved a one-time increase in their dues rate early in Gascón’s term to pay for additional legal expenses associated with protecting ADDA members from unlawful retaliation by Gascón.

“There’s only one reason for Gascón, or someone like him, to lie about the ADDA’s activities, and that’s to undermine the union’s credibility in the eyes of its members,” said ADDA Vice President Ryan Erlich. “If Gascón wants to blame someone for his failures over the last three years, he should blame the guy staring back at him in the mirror.”

Gascón is currently running for reelection.

Recent public polling indicates that Gascón is deeply unpopular with Los Angeles County voters. A January 2024 USC / Dornsife poll revealed that more than half of respondents disapproved of his job performance as District Attorney. A January 2024 poll sponsored by Thrive LA found that 53% of respondents held an unfavorable impression of Gascón.

Gascón faces 11 challengers on the March 5, 2024, primary election ballot, including four current deputy district attorneys. The ADDA has endorsed Deputy District Attorney Eric Siddall in that race.

# # # #

About the ADDA

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

ADDA Releases Endorsements for March 2024 Primary Elections

Association of Deputy District Attorneys logo

Los Angeles, February 12, 2024 — The Board of Directors of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) released its endorsements for the March 5th primary election. For some judicial races, more than one Deputy District Attorney is running for the seat, and the ADDA has chosen to provide dual endorsements.

District Attorney
Eric Siddall

City of West Hollywood, City Council
George Nickle

City of Los Angeles, District 4
Ethan Weaver

Judicial Seat No. 39
Jacob Lee

Judicial Seat No. 48
Renee Rose

Judicial Seat No. 93
Victor Avila

Judicial Seat No. 97
Sam Abourched
Sharon Ransom

Judicial Seat No. 115
Keith Koyano
Christmas Brookens

Judicial Seat No. 130
Leslie Gutierrez

Judicial Seat No. 135
Georgia Huerta
Steven Yee Mac

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 Files Lawsuit Against DA Gascón for Systematic Violations of The California Public Records Act

Association of Deputy District Attorneys logo

Los Angeles, February 1, 2024  – The Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) has filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, alleging a systematic and deliberate failure to comply with the California Public Records Act (“CPRA”), the state version of the Freedom of Information Act. The ADDA, representing the interests of over 750 Deputy District Attorneys, contends that Gascón’s failure to comply with the law and to provide documents contradicts his professed commitment to transparency.

Michele Hanisee, President of the ADDA, remarked, “The public must be aware of George Gascón’s lack of transparency. His calculated and persistent refusal to comply with California’s freedom of information law is one of the worst examples of that, but it’s not the only one. Voters deserve to know his entire record before they vote.”

Numerous CPRA requests directed to the Custodian of Records within District Attorney Gascón’s office, the person designated to handle such requests, have gone unanswered. The 88-page complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court outlines instances where Gascón cited improper and nonexistent legal justifications to duck his mandated disclosure obligations. The lawsuit also reveals instances in which Gascón selectively turned over some documents while claiming it was overly burdensome to turn over others.

In one specific case, Gascón claimed it was overly burdensome to disclose communications related to his decision to hire particular individuals. Despite the disagreement, ADDA narrowed its request to focus only on documents referring to Alex Bastian and Maxwell Szabo for a 20-day period. Similarly, the request concerning the hiring of Tiffiny Blacknell, Alisa Blair, and Shelan Joseph was refined to a 12-day period. Notably, Gascón failed to cite any statute supporting claims of privilege or confidentiality, rendering the delays and refusals unjustifiable.

Ryan Erlich, Vice President of the ADDA, added, “George Gascón is quick to take credit for other prosecutors’ victories, but he’s even quicker to hide his failures.  We’re using California’s freedom of information law to ask about some of those failures. A million-dollar-plus no-bid contract with little work to show for it, outside consultants calling the shots on policy and staffing, serious cases handled and dismissed in secret (with seven-figure judgments), and political allies appointed to high-ranking and high-paid public positions.  Why is he running from public disclosure on these issues?  What’s he got to hide?”

It’s disheartening that legal action is necessary to obtain public documents from the District Attorney. The California Public Records Act explicitly mandates that public institutions promptly make copies of public records available without unnecessary delays. Unfortunately, George Gascón continues violating the CPRA, failing to provide the requested documents promptly and unlawfully prolonging the response process.

The Brown Green & Shinee and The Gibbons Firm are representing the ADDA in this legal action. To view a copy of the lawsuit, click here.

LA Times Recommends Keeping Gascon “In Place,” But It’s Time For Us To Move Ahead

Association of Deputy District Attorneys logo

By Ryan Erlich

On Sunday morning, the Los Angeles Times endorsed George Gascón in the District Attorney’s race.

Their justification? Voters should “reject the nonsense and keep Gascón on the job and criminal justice reform in place.” The editorial board returned to that theme in their closing sentences. “Voters were right to pick him in 2020,” they wrote. “They ought to keep him in place for another term.”

Notice that language: “Keep him in place.”

Their editorial was not what one would call a “positive” or evidence-based endorsement. They didn’t argue that Gascón has “earned” a second four-year term. They didn’t point to any new proposals. They didn’t lean into statistics. There was no tally of exonerations. No list of successful prosecutions. No citation to a declining crime rate. No mention of cases filed against law enforcement officers. They didn’t even discuss his second-term agenda; in fact, it’s not clear that one exists.

Instead, they clung to a false premise: that failing to keep George Gascón in office will mean the end of criminal justice reform in Los Angeles.

They’re wrong. But they’re not alone.

Like their counterparts at the Times, some prospective voters also believe that Gascón’s highest political worth is that he simply occupies the office. If he’s in charge, the argument goes, L.A. can’t turn back the clock to the tough-on-crime policies of the past.

But what they don’t realize is that keeping Gascón “in place” means that we can’t move forward either, as an office or as a county.

And if you are truly committed to improving public safety in a just, compassionate, and sustainable way, herein lies the problem.

Gascón’s presence “in place” may prevent backsliding, but stasis for stasis’ sake is not progress. And electing Gascón to a second term as District Attorney won’t accelerate criminal justice reform; if anything, it may delay and inhibit it.

Why? Because George Gascón is a public pariah, as stale as the status quo. He has lost significant electoral support. He has alienated core county leaders, making “buy-in” from key stakeholders almost impossible. The business community dislikes him. So do those for whom violent crime is a destructive reality of life, not just an inconvenient statistic. He has become a counterproductive agent for change, just like he was in his final term in San Francisco.

Voters are looking for real solutions. They don’t like what’s going on and they don’t feel safe. Substantially more of them disapprove of Gascón’s job performance than approve of it. But they don’t want to “go back” to the way things were before. They support reform and they want to move forward, beyond Gascón, in a different direction.

And, frankly, so do many of my colleagues in the District Attorney’s Office.

We are sick of the old debates, and we’re tired of the wide, reactionary pendulum swings in state and local criminal justice policy.

We want something different: progress.

This campaign is not a binary choice between keeping Gascón “in place” or going back to the policies of the past, no matter how much the Los Angeles Times wants it to be. It’s actually a much more important choice between keeping Gascón “in place” or moving past him and pushing reform forward in a more constructive and effective way.

Those running for District Attorney, and their supporters, should keep this in mind.

Here’s a message for those candidates: you don’t need to convince voters to fire Gascón. They are ready to do it. But you must convince them that your version of tomorrow will be better than his. Be more than just your Day One plans to “repeal” his special directives. Stop telling us what policies you’d “bring back.” Start explaining what you’d do differently. Be specific. Be modern. Be bold. Be forward-looking. Be progressive.

Los Angeles is a big county and serving as its elected District Attorney is a big job. We’re facing generational problems that need and demand transformative solutions: on homelessness, mental health, addiction, economic insecurity, environmental injustice, intolerance, and political incivility. Our office can, and should, lead on those issues.

We can’t afford to think small, to go backward, or, as the Times suggests, “keep in place.” It’s time to go beyond who and what we have. It’s time to move past George Gascón. It’s time to move ahead.


Ryan Erlich is Vice President 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.

Gascón Abandons All Murder Victims’ Families

Association of Deputy District Attorneys logo

By Kathy Cady

In the criminal justice system, a prosecutor’s role of seeking justice extends beyond the courtroom; it involves a profound responsibility to victims’ families, ensuring their voices are heard and their concerns addressed. Under District Attorney George Gascón, this fundamental duty has been abandoned.

Instead of championing the rights of victims and their families, the Gascón administration has opted for a disheartening approach of rolling over or engaging in opaque backroom deals on resentencing. The troubling trend continues with intentionally concealing information from the parole board, motivated by a fear that transparency might unfavorably impact convicted defendants. Perhaps most disturbing is Gascón’s conspicuous absence in aiding victims’ families as they navigate the parole process – a deliberate choice that, unfortunately, aligns with a concerning outcome: the release of violent criminals back onto our streets. Today, victims’ families are not only overlooked but, tragically, are re-victimized because Gascon prioritizes the interests of the accused over the rights and safety of those who have suffered the most. And here’s another sad example that illustrates the failures of George Gascón.

At 19, Marco Antonio Juarez Jr. stood on the threshold of a promising future. Marco was a commendable young man—an LAPD Explorer with dreams of becoming a police officer. In the zenith of his life, Marco’s aspirations were abruptly extinguished on the evening of April 21, 2006, when he fell victim to a tragic act of violence, executed by a gang member. This poignant incident robbed him of his dreams and left an indelible void in the hearts of those who knew him.

For the past 17 years, Marco’s family has grappled with the persistent absence of their beloved son and brother. The ache of missing him endures daily, intensifying on significant occasions like birthdays (October 12) and holidays, which serve as poignant reminders of his absence. Each passing “anniversary” of his untimely death brings renewed agony. Marco would have just celebrated his 37th birthday, prompting reflections on unfulfilled possibilities—questions linger about marriage and the wistful curiosity about the potential children he might have had. The family pays their respects in the only place they can, the cemetery, where dreams of shared futures were tragically cut short.

The murderer, Ramiro “Criminal” Munoz, was sentenced to 50 years to life because the murder was for the benefit of a gang. Seventeen years after Marco’s tragic murder, Gascón’s office has consented to resentence the perpetrator, providing him with a newly formulated and ostensibly “improved” sentence that renders him immediately eligible for a parole hearing. Gascón’s decision compounds the ordeal by leaving Marco’s grieving family to face the parole hearing on their own, representing yet another disheartening development. Under Gascón’s policies, prosecutors in Los Angeles County are compelled to abdicate their roles and responsibilities at parole hearings, leaving Marco’s family to confront this painful and challenging process without the support they rightfully deserve.

In April 2006, Marco and some friends planned to drive from the San Fernando Valley to Las Vegas for a family gathering. They stopped for snacks at a food vendor truck. Marco’s friends got out of the car to get potato chips. Munoz, a gang member, was unfortunately driving near the food truck, too. Munoz yelled out his gang name and asked the deadly question: where are you “from.” Marco, wanting to protect his friends, made a U-turn to pick them up. Munoz took out a revolver and fired two shots at Marco’s car. Marco was hit in his neck and head. Marco’s car crashed into another vehicle. Marco’s friend ran to him and asked him if he was ok. Marco said, “Don’t worry, I’m going to be ok. A friend gives his life for his friends.” Unfortunately, Marco was not ok. Marco’s family was with him for one agonizing night in the hospital. Marco died on April 22. He had given his life for his friends.

Munoz was an active member of Barrio Van Nuys (BVN), a violent street gang that claimed control over the street and the neighborhood where the victim was shot. BVN demonstrated control over the neighborhood and instilled fear in the community and the surrounding gang areas by committing violent crimes. Munoz thought that Marco was driving the car they’d been in a “road rage” incident earlier in the day. Munoz was wrong. Marco was murdered because Munoz thought he was someone else. Gangs tear at the very fabric of our society, and innocent victims are often hit in the crossfire. Marco was one of those victims. The intimidation didn’t stop, and in December of 2006, witness intimidation charges were filed against other BVN members after witnesses in the trial against Munoz were threatened.

Because of recent laws, Munoz would have been scheduled for a parole hearing within the next few years. California Penal Code § 3051. This is even though his sentence was 50 years to life. Munoz’s attorney has, however, filed a Resentencing Motion because Munoz was under 18 when he murdered Marco. At least one other judge in Los Angeles has denied a similar motion. Still, instead of allowing a prosecutor to defend the sentence, Gascón’s office has offered the defendant a new sentence of 15 years to life, making Munoz immediately eligible for a parole hearing, which Marco’s family will have to attend ALONE.

A parole hearing aims to determine whether the inmate poses a current unreasonable risk if released. Prosecutors from the county where the crime occurred attend and participate in parole hearings. Prosecutors have many important legal responsibilities at parole hearings. The prosecutor is the sole representative of the People and the only person who can advocate for public safety. The prosecutor’s job is to review the inmate’s file, comment on the facts of the case and give an opinion on whether the defendant is suitable for parole. The prosecutor also submits relevant information for the Parole Board’s consideration. The prosecutor can also ask clarifying questions highlighting relevant facts for the parole commissioners. California Government Code § 3041.7 and Cal. Code Regs. tit. 15 § 2030.

Victims have an absolute right to attend the parole hearing of the person who murdered their loved one. California Constitution Article I, Section 28(b)(15). Victims are shepherded through the process by the prosecutor attending the parole hearing.

Each month, there are over 100 parole suitability hearings for prisoners convicted of crimes committed in Los Angeles County.

The Abdication Trifecta: No Prosecutor, No Sharing Of Prison Records, No Providing Information To The Parole Board

On December 7, 2020, Gascón issued a policy that prohibited prosecutors in Los Angeles County from attending parole hearings. The result of Gascón’s ill-conceived policy is that for the last three years, prosecutors have not participated in parole hearings to protect the safety of Los Angeles County residents. Convicted inmates continue to have an attorney represent them at a parole hearing, but victims from Los Angeles County who choose to participate in the parole hearing must do so alone.

In preparation for a parole hearing, the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) provides access to the inmate’s prison file to the district attorney’s office that prosecuted that inmate. Prosecutors then share relevant information with victims and surviving family members of murder victims to help emotionally and mentally prepare victims for a possible parole grant or, conversely, gives them information on why the inmate continues to pose an unreasonable risk to public safety. In July 2021, Gascón’s hand-picked surrogate, Diana Teran, notified the prison to stop allowing prosecutors in Los Angeles County to access prison records.

Although prosecutors in other counties routinely send records to the state prison, Gascón’s policies no longer allow that. Again, at Teran’s direction, as of July 2022, Los Angeles County no longer sends any records to the parole board. That means the parole board does not have police reports, probation reports, transcripts of the defendant’s statements to police, the trial prosecutor’s Statement of View, or any other information about the underlying crime.

The parole board must necessarily evaluate the inmate’s credibility and recounting of the crime itself to decide whether the inmate is minimizing, denying, changing, or otherwise misrepresenting the facts of his crime or his role in the crime. With no fact-checking against police reports, the Board is left to rely on what the inmate tells them.

It’s like the fox guarding the henhouse.

The absence of a prosecutor puts the public at risk. Not providing victims with information on how an inmate has behaved in prison causes them additional anxiety before the hearing. Not providing records to the parole board endangers public safety.

The prosecutor provides a necessary check to the inmate’s biased and self-interested statements and challenges their version of the crime, showing a lack of insight and remorse. Without a prosecutor present, there is no critical voice at parole hearings.

This allows a convicted defendant to pull the wool over the parole commissioner’s eyes.

Not surprisingly, not having a prosecutor at parole hearings has resulted in a substantially higher grant rate. In 2021, the grant rate was 31% when a prosecutor attended a parole hearing and 38% when a prosecutor was absent. In 2022, the grant rate was 25% when a prosecutor participated in the parole hearing but jumped to 33% without a prosecutor. What that means is hundreds of inmates serving a life sentence have been released into Los Angeles neighborhoods because a prosecutor wasn’t there to represent the People, advocate for public safety or ask clarifying questions.

Victims of crime committed in Los Angeles County are treated differently from victims in every other county. Gascón’s policies fail in every conceivable way to ensure that victims are not abandoned.

Gascón’s consistent and widespread disregard for victims’ rights seems driven by a singular objective: the mass release of murderers, child molesters, and rapists from incarceration. The toll on our society is profound, exacerbating the pain already endured by families like Marco’s, who were initially traumatized by his tragic murder. Gascón’s abandonment in their time of greatest need compounds the cruelty, subjecting them to renewed trauma and distress when support is crucial for their healing.

About Kathy Cady

Kathy Cady, a Victims’ Rights Attorney at Dordulian Law Group, brings over three decades of legal expertise, including 31 years as a Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office prosecutor. With a specialization in family violence, child abuse, and sexual assault cases, Ms. Cady conducted over 90 felony jury trials. In her distinguished career, she served as the Deputy-in-Charge of the Victim Impact Program (VIP), overseeing vertical prosecutions in cases involving sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse, family violence, stalking, and hate crimes at the Los Angeles County District Attorney Pasadena Branch Office. Before this, she was a Special Assistant to the Bureau of Victim Services Director, contributing significantly to protecting victims’ rights.

Ms. Cady’s impactful contributions extend beyond the courtroom, encompassing extensive lecturing on topics like child physical and sexual abuse, the criminal justice system, victims’ rights, services, restitution, and issues faced by victims with disabilities. She is a seasoned author, having written articles on domestic violence, child abuse, and victims’ rights. A proactive advocate, Ms. Cady has actively drafted legislation and testified in Sacramento on matters related to victims’ rights and child abuse. Her commitment to the cause is further reflected in her role as a Board Member of the National Crime Victim Law Institute, the Children’s Advocacy Center for Child Abuse Assessment and Treatment, Justice for Homicide Victims, and Justice for Murdered Children. She also served on the California Children’s Justice Act Task Force.

In her current capacity at Dordulian Law Group, Ms. Cady provides pro bono representation to crime victims, lending her wealth of experience to help them assert their rights in criminal and juvenile justice cases.

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


Association of Deputy District Attorneys logo

The Board of Directors of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys (“ADDA”) has adopted the recommendation of its Endorsement Committee to endorse Eric Siddall to be the next District Attorney of Los Angeles County. 

This endorsement is the product of an exhaustive, months-long, fact-based analysis of District Attorney candidates by the ADDA’s Endorsement Committee, a process outlined in the Association’s Endorsement Protocol.

The Committee, which was composed of Deputy volunteers, received applications from seven declared candidates: Jeff Chemerinsky, Jon Hatami, Nathan Hochman, Craig Mitchell, John McKinney, Maria Ramirez, and Eric Siddall. George Gascón did not apply. Collectively, the Committee’s members contributed hundreds of hours of their personal time to the process. The Committee, along with the ADDA Board, co-sponsored a candidate forum in October, solicited direct written endorsement recommendations from the membership, and conducted in-depth, in-person interviews with each candidate who applied. The Committee also examined traditional political metrics, including campaign finance figures, endorsements, press clippings, and, where available, polling. Committee members met multiple times, for many hours, before finally making an endorsement recommendation to the ADDA Board. 

To mount a successful campaign and to serve as the elected District Attorney, the ideal candidate must master policy, politics, and prosecution. She or he should be a seasoned trial lawyer with a track record of filing and litigating complex and challenging cases. She or he should have demonstrable, hands-on, substantive experience with policy formation, advocacy, and implementation. She or he should also possess exceptional political acumen, marked by deep and broad relationships across the District Attorney’s Office and in local government, an understanding of and facility with the mechanics of modern political communication, a competent and professional campaign apparatus, and a working knowledge and appreciation of the unique political demands and challenges that face (and sometimes hamper) an elected prosecutor. The ideal candidate should be someone who the ADDA leadership can work with and someone who line prosecutors can trust to address the issues that matter most to our membership. Finally, the candidate must be capable of winning the general election.

On these metrics, Eric Siddall stands apart. 

Like many of his colleagues, Siddall has spent his career handling some of the office’s toughest cases, from domestic violence to gang murders to crimes against peace officers. His commitment to public safety is unquestionable. 

For just as long, he has been an outspoken and respected public commentator—on television, in the press, in court, and in the community—on criminal justice-related issues. He has publicly supported reasonable and sustainable criminal justice reforms. He is a passionate, longtime advocate for the rights of victims and their surviving family members.  

Most notably, Siddall is not a newcomer to the fight. His public-facing activism and advocacy predate this election cycle, the one before it, and the one before that. And because he has been involved in and, in many cases, led these very public debates and discussions—as a deputy district attorney and as a union leader—he has developed a deep and comprehensive understanding of the political, policy, and legal issues related to the work that we do. This longstanding commitment to community outreach, activism, and reform is a key reason that the Los Angeles Times accurately identified him as a “thorn in Gascón’s side dating to his 2020 campaign” and a “more measured foil for Gascón than much of the primary field.” Siddall’s experience “in the arena” is an invaluable, earned asset in this election and an essential tool for his success as the elected District Attorney.

As a longtime dues-paying ADDA member and union leader, Siddall has fought for the interests of his fellow deputy district attorneys. Siddall served on the ADDA’s Board of Directors for ten years, the last seven as Vice President. He routinely negotiated with officials in the District Attorney’s Office and in county government to resolve issues related to wages, hours, and working conditions. He was instrumental in securing additional benefits and historic pay increases for his colleagues. He has worked to protect their civil service rights. He will not face a steep learning curve on these important issues. He would be the first labor leader to serve as District Attorney and his pro-labor record proves that he is committed to supporting the ADDA’s goals and furthering the interests of its members. 

Siddall’s candidacy also represents a necessary generational shift inside the office, one that we hope will bridge the gap between our newer deputies, who take a more contemporary approach to their work, and our veteran prosecutors, many of whom joined the office when the proverbial criminal justice “pendulum” was in a different place than it is today. 

Three other competent and qualified career prosecutors from the District Attorney’s Office are running alongside him. We are exceptionally proud to be their colleagues. And we admire and applaud each of them: Jon Hatami for his passion, hustle, grit, and commitment to child victims; John McKinney for his talent in court and eloquence on the debate stage; and Maria Ramirez for her tireless and dedicated service to our office. Each is running to change the District Attorney’s Office and Los Angeles County for the better. Each is doing so at tremendous personal and professional cost. To them, we offer our praise, our thanks, and our continued support.   

Ramirez is an especially strong contender. The Los Angeles Times has called her “far and away Gascón’s most experienced opponent.” She has spent thirty years in the District Attorney’s Office and she has led it, admirably, at the highest levels. Many would argue—and rightfully so—that one of the Gascón administration’s many weaknesses is its unfamiliarity with how the District Attorney’s Office operates, both on a day-to-day basis and within the context of county government. Ramirez’s deep managerial experience would bring stability and administrative efficiency to the office’s top job. Both are sorely needed. 

Ramirez has also publicly criticized the current administration. Like Siddall, McKinney, and Hatami, she has been a target of Gascón’s ire and a victim of retaliatory punitive action. 

Ramirez and Siddall are both Spanish speakers. That is an asset in a county where almost four in ten registered voters are Latino. Also, the candidates’ mere presence on the ballot is powerful and historic. If elected, Siddall would be Los Angeles County’s first openly gay District Attorney while Ramirez would be the first Latina to run the Office. 

In the final analysis, all of us seek the same outcome: to defeat George Gascón and to replace him with a real leader. A leader who will put public safety ahead of politics. A leader who will treat the office’s career prosecutors as professionals, not props. A leader who will respect victims, not reprimand them. A leader who will be a reliable and effective partner on the issues that matter most to our members and to the people of Los Angeles County.

Winning this race will not be easy. George Gascón has never lost an election. And no matter how unpopular he is, he will have a legion of deep-pocketed donors by his side, each willing to invest millions of dollars to support him and his candidacy.  

Eric Siddall is not new to this political battle; he’s been waging it for years. We believe that he has the necessary political acumen, policy depth, and prosecutorial experience to take the fight directly to Gascón this November, to beat him in the general election, and, once elected, to move the District Attorney’s Office forward in a new, constructive, and modern direction. 

Our Board is proud to endorse his candidacy for District Attorney.


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.

Gascón’s Audacious Bid to Overturn Cop Killer’s Conviction Foiled

By Kathy Cady


In the previous article, I brought to the public’s attention a covert plan orchestrated by Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón aimed at securing the release of a convicted cop killer and prominent figure within the Mexican Mafia from state prison.


Earlier this week, in response to tenacious reporting that exposed the activities of Gascón and his inner circle, the District Attorney belatedly said he wanted to keep that murderer locked up. However, it is noteworthy that Gascón’s sudden public stance comes on the heels of years of discreet efforts aimed at overturning the killer’s conviction and facilitating the release of this perilous criminal from state prison.


Over four decades ago, a jury convicted Jesse Gonzales of the intentional murder of Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Jack Williams. Gonzales, a drug-dealing Puente gang member, executed Williams as law enforcement served a search warrant on Gonzales’ house. Gonzales had been outside watering his lawn when he saw police coming. He ran inside his house and closed the door. Deputies knocked and yelled “Police!” at the door. Deputies kicked in the front door when they heard movements inside the house. Gonzales shot Deputy Williams in the chest with a shotgun, mortally wounding him. At the scene, Gonzales showed no remorse. Instead, he defiantly raised his left fist and yelled, “Viva Puente!”


Gonzales’ conviction and sentence have been affirmed – multiple times by multiple courts. For the last 40 years, the District Attorney’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office successfully defended Gonzales’ conviction and sentence as being legally valid.


Gonzales has continually sought to attack his conviction, most recently in a 2012 Habeas Corpus petition. Penal Code 1473. He alleged that the prosecution didn’t turn over exculpatory evidence to his defense counsel (Brady error). During the trial, a jailhouse informant testified that the defendant admitted that he knew the people at his house were law enforcement officers. This was an important fact because at trial Gonzales claimed that he thought the police were rival gang members.


But trial transcripts make it clear that the jury knew that the informant was a convicted murderer, an admitted liar and that he expected to receive some favorable treatment from testifying. After the trial, additional evidence was discovered that confirmed what the jury had been told – that the informant had major credibility problems.


This brings us to Gonzales’ habeas petition to overturn his conviction. If the judge agreed with the defendant’s claim, the only legal remedy was a reversal of the conviction. Legally, the court could not just change Gonzales’ sentence. Why not? Because the defendant’s Brady claim, if true, would undermine the conviction’s legality and require reversal. For nine years, the DA’s and AG’s offices both believed (and argued) the Brady claim lacked merit.


Once Gascón was elected, however, this changed… when Gascón brought in a cadre of former public defenders to specifically handle cases like this, including Gonzales.


Prosecutors have an ethical obligation to seek justice, tell the truth, and always do the right thing. While Gascón makes public statements claiming to have integrity, he and those he has put in charge of these cases do not. In this case, those people included Diana Teran, Joseph Iniguez and Shelan Joseph. This group attempted to use the Gonzales case to show that Gascón is correcting mistakes made by other prosecutors that they claim were “unethical.” Nothing could be further from the truth.


  • In December 2021, Diana Teran sent an email stating, “We are ethically obligated to concede the Brady violation” on Gonzales’ conviction and sentence, meaning the conviction should be overturned.
  • On December 7, 2021, Teran, Iniguez and Joseph had a Zoom call with Deputy William’s daughters, during which they tried to talk them into agreeing to “resentence” Gonzalez to a term of 15 years to life, which would have made him immediately eligible for a parole hearing. The family did not agree. Gascón did not attempt to lower Gonzales’ sentence, fearing a public backlash.
  • In September 2022, Shelan Joseph filed a document conceding the Brady claim. The office, including prosecutors under Joseph’s supervision, never filed any document with the court that defended the conviction.
  • On June 2, 2023, the handling court, seeking clarification of the issue(s) in dispute, asked Gascón’s prosecutors if Gonzales ever admitted that he saw the police while watering outside his home before the search warrant was served.


There was an easy answer: at trial, the lead detective testified that Gonzales “stated that he had been inside the house taking a shower. After taking a shower, he got dressed, went to the front yard and began to water the front yard. At one point, he went in to check on the welfare of a child, returned to the front yard, and continued watering the front lawn until, suddenly, he saw the cops coming. He threw the hose down and ran back inside the house.”


Did Joseph or any other Gascón prosecutor refer the judge to the detective’s clear-cut testimony? No. Instead, in her continued attempt to undermine the defendant’s conviction, on July 14, 2023, Shelan Joseph told the court that “[t]he evidence is unclear on this issue.”


Wait – WHAT?


The evidence was, in fact, incredibly clear – the defendant admitted that he saw police coming, went inside his house, got his shotgun, waited until police forced entry, and then murdered Deputy Williams.


This week, in response to substantial public outcry and political pressure, Gascón went on TV and told ABC News that he wanted Gonzales to stay in prison and that — finally — his office would stand by its pre-Gascón decision to defend the conviction.


And then, Gascón’s hand-picked prosecutor made a last-ditch effort to double back. At the hearing on December 5, Shelan Joseph told the court, for the first time, that the DA’s office thought the Brady claim should be granted for the sentence only, not the conviction.


The law doesn’t work that way. A concession on the Brady claim undermines the entire conviction. You can’t separate it and ask that it only affect the sentence, not the conviction. A career prosecutor would know that. But a political ally with limited prosecutorial experience, like Joseph, either did not know it, didn’t want to admit it, or didn’t care.


In the end, Judge George Lomeli denied Gonzales’ petition, effectively ending the Gascón administration’s secret scheme to let this cop-killing shotcaller out of prison.

In his ruling, Judge Lomeli stated that despite the prosecution’s concession, he found NO Brady violation and denied the defendant’s Habeas claim. The prosecution’s concession was not justified.


After the court’s ruling, Joseph Iniguez could be seen glad-handing with law enforcement, who was there in support of the victim’s family. Iniguez continued Gascón’s attempt to say “nothing to see here” by telling ABC that the DA’s office had never discussed Gonzales getting a sentence that would make him eligible for a parole hearing.


Not true.


The reduced sentence that Gascón pressured the family to accept would have made the defendant immediately eligible for a parole hearing based on California’s elder parole law (Penal Code 3055). In a further gut punch, Gascón’s policies do not allow prosecutors from Los Angeles to attend parole hearings, so Jack Williams’ family would have had to navigate the parole hearings on their own.


Gascón brazenly sought to upend the conviction of a cop killer and unleash a current member of the Mexican Mafia into our neighborhoods. His attempts to cloak these actions under the guise of an “ethical obligation to play by the rules” are nothing short of a deceptive cover-up. His approach’s glaring lack of integrity demands an immediate and sincere commitment to ethical conduct moving forward.


About Kathy Cady

Kathy Cady, a Victims’ Rights Attorney at Dordulian Law Group, brings over three decades of legal expertise, including 31 years as a prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. With a specialization in family violence, child abuse, and sexual assault cases, Ms. Cady conducted over 90 felony jury trials. In her distinguished career, she served as the Deputy-in-Charge of the Victim Impact Program (VIP), overseeing vertical prosecutions in cases involving sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse, family violence, stalking, and hate crimes at the Los Angeles County District Attorney Pasadena Branch Office. Before this, she held the role of Special Assistant to the Director for the Bureau of Victim Services, contributing significantly to protecting victims’ rights.


Ms. Cady’s impactful contributions extend beyond the courtroom, encompassing extensive lecturing on topics like child physical and sexual abuse, the criminal justice system, victims’ rights, services, restitution, and issues faced by victims with disabilities. She is a seasoned author, having written articles on domestic violence, child abuse, and victims’ rights. A proactive advocate, Ms. Cady has actively drafted legislation and testified in Sacramento on matters related to victims’ rights and child abuse. Her commitment to the cause is further reflected in her role as a Board Member of the National Crime Victim Law Institute, the Children’s Advocacy Center for Child Abuse Assessment and Treatment, Justice for Homicide Victims, and Justice for Murdered Children. She also served on the California Children’s Justice Act Task Force.


In her current capacity at Dordulian Law Group, Ms. Cady provides pro bono representation to crime victims, lending her wealth of experience to help them assert their rights in criminal and juvenile justice cases.


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

Why hasn’t Gascón transferred a serial child molester to adult criminal court?

Association of Deputy District Attorneys logo

By Kathy Cady

Last year, in response to substantial negative publicity and public push back in the Hannah Tubbs’ case, Gascón “adjusted” his strict no-transfer juvenile policy issuing the following statement: “[O]ur juvenile system in its current iteration does not provide adequate support to help [a former minor]…except through the adult system…The complex issues and facts of [this] particular case were unusual, and I should have treated them that way.” 

Unfortunately, Gascón’s epiphany in Tubbs was short lived. Another juvenile case far worse than Tubbs’ has been pending a decision on a transfer hearing for over a year. It appears that Gascón is relying on the juvenile court’s confidentiality to hide his unwillingness to authorize the transfer of Rudy Paz to criminal court. In an effort to seek justice, victims are once again compelled to shine a light on their case to highlight Gascón’s chronic lack of transparency.

Paz sexually abused multiple young boys, the youngest of whom was only 4 years old. Each victim was abused over a period of several years. Paz “groomed” these young boys and then repeatedly committed every type of sex act against them. “Grooming” is the process a sexual predator uses to build an emotional connection to manipulate kids and gain their trust – to both accomplish the abuse, and to prevent the children from reporting the abuse. The children that Paz abused didn’t tell anyone what happened until several years after the molestation stopped. Because of that, Paz wasn’t arrested until he was 24. The last known time that Paz molested one of his victims was weeks before he turned 18. 

Paz is now 25 years old but committed these crimes on much younger children when he was under 18 years old. When a sexual predator begins committing crimes before they reach the age of 18, their victims are almost always children.

Most crimes committed by juvenile offenders are correctly prosecuted in juvenile court so they can receive rehabilitation, which is expected to cure their criminal behavior. The law, however, recognizes 30 crimes for which 16- and 17-year-olds can be prosecuted in criminal court. These crimes include murder, home invasion robbery, carjacking and aggravated sexual crimes. The law sets forth factors to be considered to ensure that only those minors who can’t be rehabilitated in the juvenile system are transferred to criminal jurisdiction where the sentences for these crimes are justly commensurate with the offenses. When offenders are beyond the rehabilitation that the juvenile system can provide, the prosecution focus must shift to prioritize public safety.

As often happens in child molestation cases, Paz’ victims didn’t tell anyone what Paz had done for several years. Delayed disclosure isn’t uncommon for this insidious crime especially in cases where children were groomed by the defendant. Paz is now an adult, but because Paz committed his crimes when was under 18 years old he is currently charged in juvenile court. 

Paz can, and should, be prosecuted in criminal court. Yet Gascón believes that minors should never be prosecuted in criminal court, stating blindly, “We should treat kids like kids,” regardless of the atrocious crime they committed. 

Gascón was aware of the horrendous facts of the Tubbs’ case. Gascón knew a 10-year-old little girl was forcibly sexually assaulted in a public restroom when Tubbs was just weeks shy of age 18. He knew Tubbs was 26 years old when apprehended. He knew the juvenile system had near nothing to offer a now 26-year-old sexual predator by way of rehabilitation services because the juvenile system is designed to rehabilitate youth, not 26-year-old sophisticated predators. Gascón knew Tubbs was not remorseful. Gascón knew Tubbs was recorded on a jail call laughing about the light sentence in the juvenile system. Gascón did not listen to vociferous warnings from prosecutors in the District Attorney’s Office, who are experienced in juvenile crime, about keeping Tubbs in the juvenile system. Gascón still ordered that Tubbs stay in juvenile court.

The courageous victim of Tubbs’ horrific actions said Gascón’s handling of the case was ‘insulting’ because “[t]he things Tubbs did to me and made me do that day were beyond horrible for a 10-year-old girl to have to go through.” 

The question now is why, given his professed revelations about the mishandling of the Tubbs case, is Gascón not moving forward on a transfer hearing for Paz? Does Gascón understand that the safety value he mentioned when he “adjusted” his policies after the Tubbs’ fiasco, demand that Paz be prosecuted in criminal court to protect the public? What is Gascón waiting for?

When a juvenile offender commits a violent and dangerous crime such as murder or predatory sexual assault and that offender is not apprehended until years later, the juvenile system provides a maximum of two years-time under probation supervision. Indeed, because Los Angeles County lacks any custodial facility for aged-out former juvenile offenders, Paz will most likely be released to a halfway house, or other non-custodial location to serve his meager two-year sentence. Gascón knows this.

Being charged in juvenile versus criminal court also affects sex offender registration requirements. Sexual predators prosecuted in juvenile court do not have to register as sex offenders, leaving the public blind. Sex offender registration provides the public important notice of sex offenders who might live and work in our communities. California Megan’s Law website is a public database that provides information on registered sex offenders. For this reason, it is very important to prosecute the most serious and predatory sex offenders in adult criminal court.

Instead of allowing prosecutors with expertise and experience in juvenile justice to evaluate the facts of each case, Gascón set up a Juvenile Alternative Charging Evaluation (JACE) Committee made up of people who appear to blindly follow his belief that we should “treat kids like kids” and never prosecute them in criminal court. Paz’ case has been languishing in the JACE Committee and the victims and their families have been waiting for months.

Gascón can move prosecution of Paz to the adult justice system which will provide an appropriate sentence for Paz’s crimes that the juvenile system cannot. Adult court prosecution would protect other children by keeping Paz in custody. It would provide a just sentence for his crimes and justice for his victims. It would also require Paz to register as a sex offender.

If, however, Paz remains in juvenile court, the maximum sentence can be only two years which will likely be served in a non-custodial location. After that Paz will be released. He will not be required to register as a sex offender.

Child victims, those already victimized and the future victims of these predators, pay the price and suffer the risk for Gascón ’s many failures. For all the young children in LA County, we can only hope that this serial child molester is prosecuted in criminal court, so the public is protected, specifically the most vulnerable little ones.


Kathy Cady is a Victims’ Rights Attorney at Dordulian Law Group. She provides pro bono representation to crime victims and assists them with asserting their rights in criminal and juvenile justice cases. She retired after 31 years as a prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. She tried over 90 felony jury trials and specialized in family violence, child abuse, and sexual assault cases. Her last assignment was as the Deputy-in-Charge of the Victim Impact Program (VIP) where she supervised deputy district attorneys who vertically prosecute cases involving sexual assault of adults, physical and sexual assault of children, elder abuse, family violence, stalking cases and hate crimes in the Los Angeles County District Attorney Pasadena Branch Office. She was previously the Special Assistant to the Director for the Bureau of Victim Services which safeguards victims’ rights and assists victims of violent crime. She has lectured extensively on child physical and sexual abuse, the criminal justice system, victims’ rights and services, restitution and victims with disabilities. She has authored articles on domestic violence, child abuse and victims’ rights. Ms. Cady has drafted legislation and testified in Sacramento regarding bills relating to victims’ rights and child abuse. She is a Board Member on the National Crime Victim Law Institute, the Children’s Advocacy Center for Child Abuse Assessment and Treatment, Justice for Homicide Victims and Justice for Murdered Children and previously served on the California Children’s Justice Act Task Force.

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.