Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón needs to be recalled, embattled Californians contend, because he “refuses to prosecute juveniles as adults, under any circumstances, even rape, murder or other heinous crimes.” Consider, for example, a recent case.
On August 16, 2021, a 16-year-old stole a car in Los Angeles and sped the wrong way down a narrow backstreet with no sidewalks. There the juvenile car thief struck a mother who was walking her infant son, only eight months old, in a stroller.
“I thought those were the last moments of our lives,” the mother, identified only as Rachel, wrote in her victim’s impact statement. “As the car approached me and my child, I stopped walking and moved the stroller and myself up against a building on the right side of the road to ensure that we gave the reckless driver plenty of room to pass.” As the car got “dangerously close to us,” the teen “turned the wheels in our direction and accelerated as he aimed to kill us.”
Video shows the teen driving into the mother and child, then attempting to flee before the driver of a pickup truck rammed the stolen car. The hit-and-run driver told police that the mother and child “appeared out of nowhere” and he hit her by accident.
Rachel received a laceration and her son was uninjured. The teen pleaded guilty to two felony charges of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and one felony count of hit-and-run.
Gascón sought—and got—a sentence for the teen of five to seven months in a juvenile probation camp described as less lenient than a military school and barely tougher than a summer camp. Gascón claimed that the Los Angeles County sheriff agreed with the sentence, but Sheriff Alex Villanueva said his department had never been consulted.
“Sheriff’s investigators would never be okay with this lightweight sentencing in a hit-and-run case,” the Villanueva wrote on Facebook and Twitter. “Stop empowering and encouraging criminal behavior. Hold them accountable.”
According to Rachel, “George Gascón doesn’t value my life or the life of my child, or any other victim out there.” Gascón demonstrates to the criminals “that their actions have no consequences.” Rachel does not exaggerate.
As a juvenile, the double felon’s identity and booking photo are not released to the media and the public. Anonymity is hardly the only advantage juveniles enjoy under California law.
A double felony endangering the lives of a mother and child would warrant prosecution as an adult. Unfortunately for Rachel and countless other crime victims, Proposition 57, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016, bars the direct filing of juvenile cases in adult court. This measure has been applied retroactively to some of the worst criminals in state and national history, such as depraved double murderer Daniel Marsh.
In 2013, at the age of 15, Marsh murdered and mutilated Oliver Northup, 87, and his wife Claudia Maupin, 76, in their Davis home. The autopsy report ran more than 6,000 words. In 2018, five years after the crime, Marsh failed to have his case retried in juvenile court. While the Prop 57 “transfer” proceeding was underway, however, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1391, the Juveniles Fitness for Juvenile Court Act.
This measure allows anyone under the age of 16 to murder and mutilate one, two, seven, or 21 people, be prosecuted only in juvenile court, and gain automatic release at the age of 25. Marsh was sent back to adult prison, but the measure will doubtless encourage copycats of Salvador Ramos.
Two days after the mass murder in Uvalde, Texas, the California Senate passed SB 1273. The measure by Los Angeles Democrat Steven Bradford ends a mandatory requirement for schools to report a student’s violent threats students to law enforcement.
As Wenjuan Wu pointed out in the California Globe, “The rationale that not holding disruptive or violent students accountable will somehow create a safer school environment is mind-boggling.” In addition, Wu contends, “withholding information that would otherwise help law enforcement identify potential threats of violence is also an obstruction of justice.”
Rachel might say the same about summer-camp probation for the teen who tried to run over the mother and child in a stolen car. The ludicrous sentence prompted a headline about “Clown District Attorney Gascon,” which invites reflection.
Gascón’s proclamations make little sense, and his expression of mental vacancy recalls the addled Joe Biden. The Cuban-born D.A., 68, sometimes appears as though he is being played by, say, Alec Baldwin. Even so, to call Gascón a clown practically amounts to praise.
Gascón is co-author of Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, essentially a license for criminals to steal nearly $1,000 of property, causing car break-ins to surge across the state. Backed by George Soros, Gavin Newsom, and Kamala Harris, Gascón defeated African American District Attorney Jackie Lacey, a hardliner against violent crime.
Like corrupt police captain McCluskey (Sterling Hayden) in “The Godfather,” George Gascón is a strategic asset for criminals. As Sheriff Villanueva wrote, Gascon enables crime, but he is hardly a one-off.
In the progressive vision, criminals are victims of an unjust capitalist society. So theft, arson, looting, and murder are bids for social justice, reparations, and so forth. In revolutionary conditions, as Orwell explained in Animal Farm, the rats are comrades.
Social justice is an obstruction of actual justice. Whatever they may claim, not a single progressive values the life of Rachel, her child, and “any other victim out there.” Chesa Boudin is gone. But as long as district attorneys such as George Gascón remain in power, look for mayhem to surge across the nation.
Meanwhile, at this writing, recall advocates are 60,000 signatures short of the 566,857 they need by July 6 to get Gascón’s departure on the ballot.