Los Angeles DA responds to 'fear-mongering,' outrage over new directives
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The Los Angeles district attorney has responded to "fear-mongering" about new directives introduced in the last two weeks, according to reports.
District Attorney George Gascon has dealt with backlash to directives introduced shortly after he was sworn in just nine days ago.
The special directive ends cash bail for misdemeanor and nonserious or nonviolent felonies and stops the DA's office from pursuing the death penalty and sentencing enhancements in county prosecutions, FOX 11 LA reported.
"However, I do have to say I'm somewhat troubled by the misinformation and the fear-mongering that I have seen expressed over and over during the last few days," Gascon said. "It's not surprising to me, you know, that people have benefited from a system that has been impacting communities in so many negative ways without necessarily producing good results because they had a monetary interest."
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"I know there are people in the criminal justice system across the board both in the private and the public sectors that have greatly benefited from mass incarceration…"
The directive drew outrage from the families of victims most directly affected by the rule changes.
The family of Anthony Avalos, a 10-year-old Lancaster boy who was tortured and murdered, have been incredibly vocal about how deeply hurt they are over the directive change, ABC 7 reported.
"They need to be punished. I don't care," Maria Barron, Avalos' aunt, said at a news conference outside the Hall of Justice on Wednesday. "They need to go to prison for life, death penalty, it still won't be enough."
"There's a hole in my heart, Mr. Gascon, that will never be filled because Anthony will always be missing."
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The directive also prevents Maurice Jewel Taylor Sr. from facing the death penalty, even after he decapitated his 12-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter, FOX 11 LA reported.
Gascon insists that, if convicted, Taylor is facing enough of a penalty.
"What would be the utility to take somebody that is probably going to spend the rest of his life in prison to continue to add years and waste taxpayers' money on additional litigation," Gascon said.
City Councilman Paul Koretz filed a resolution in direct opposition to Gascon’s directive, specifically the measures related to removing sentence enhancements.
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"While many of his special directives are well-intentioned, I believe he missed the mark when he eliminated special enhancements for hate crimes being prosecuted in the county," Koretz said.
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