Los Angeles County has a new, reformist District Attorney, and he’s wasting no time in making sweeping changes in the country’s largest prosecutor’s office.
After being sworn in shortly after noon today, George Gascón laid out a laundry list of immediate reforms that include a series of policy directives that many misdemeanor cases will be dismissed, saying that nearly half of those incarcerated on pre-trial misdemeanor offenses suffer from mental illness.
“Los Angeles County courts should not be revolving doors for those in need of treatment and services,” one directive said.
Many misdemeanor cases will be declined or dismissed prior to arraignment unless “factors for considerations” exist. The list of offenses includes trespassing, disturbing the peace, a minor in possession of alcohol, driving without a license, driving with a suspended license, making criminal threats, drug and paraphernalia possession, being under the influence of a controlled substance, public intoxication, loitering to commit prostitution and resisting arrest. For juveniles, those accused of misdemeanors will no longer be prosecuted.
Gascon’s office will also decline to seek bail for anyone charged with a misdemeanor or non-violent crime and will end the use of sentencing enhancements.