LA County DA faces calls to resign over program for minors accused of serious crimes

A progressive prosecutor in Los Angeles County, California, is facing harsh criticism from Republicans over one of his more controversial policies.

According to Fox News, a pair of GOP lawmakers is calling for District Attorney George Gascon to resign in light of a new diversion program meant to allow minors arrested for serious crimes to avoid charges.

Details of the controversial program

Reps. Mike Garcia (R-CA) and Young Kim (R-CA) denounced Gascon’s policies, arguing that they embolden criminals while giving short shrift to the victims of their crimes.

Last month, one new program introduced by the district attorney’s office was brought to light by the Los Angeles Times after that outlet obtained an internal memo containing details that had not been shared with the public.

Essentially, the Restorative Enhanced Diversion for Youth program was designed to allow minors arrested for crimes including arson, assault, burglary, robbery, vehicular theft, and even sexual battery, to avoid criminal charges and jail time by entering an unmonitored counseling and rehabilitation program.

The only real exceptions were for crimes involving the use of a firearm or in which a victim was seriously injured.

For critics like Garcia and Kim, the startling revelation was enough to demand that Gascon be replaced as the county’s top prosecutor.

“Really subverts the Constitution”

“I’d like for him to step down,” Garcia said. “He’s not going to change his ways if he’s truly interested in public safety. We’ll find someone who’s on the side of the victim rather than the criminal.”

The congressman went on to describe Gascon’s diversion program as “a continuation of really this theme that he’s got of trying to take care of the criminals before he’s trying to protect the law-abiding citizens.”

In the end, Garcia asserted that any such policy “really subverts the Constitution in regard to due process” by taking “minors who have committed very serious felonies out of the court system before they’re even charged” and giving them the option of rehabilitation.

“The whole point of law and order and the whole point of the criminal justice system and having punishments is to deter people from committing crimes,” he said.

Meanwhile, a second recall petition has been launched against Gascon following one earlier in the year that failed to receive the required number of signatures. Aside from the diversion program for minors, concerns about the district attorney include his refusal to seek the death penalty, refusal to acknowledge gang affiliations during criminal trials, and re-evaluation of sentences longer than 20 years.

Latest News