Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón continued to backtrack some controversial policies over the weekend, and said a recent sexual assault case sentence may have been too short.
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón continues to backtrack some controversial policies and says a recent sexual assault case sentence may have been too short.
Gascón issued a directive on Feb. 18 lifting his previous bans on pursuing life sentences against defendants and trying adults as minors.
He addressed these changes in a statement on Feb. 20, saying he “became aware” of “extremely troubling statements” by Hannah Tubbs—a 26-year-old transgender female who pleaded guilty to the sexual assault of a 10-year-old girl—after the sentencing.
Because Tubbs was 17 years old when the crime was committed in 2014, a judge sentenced Tubbs to only two years in a juvenile prison.
“They’re going to stick me on probation, and it’s going to be dropped, it’s going to be done, I won’t have to register, won’t have to do nothing,” Tubbs said in a recording played on Fox News on Feb. 21.
Gascón said in his statement that the system currently doesn’t “provide adequate support for someone at 26 with this level of challenges except through its adult system.”
“While for most people several years of jail time is adequate, it may not be for Ms. Tubbs,” he said. “If we knew about her disregard for the harm she caused we would have handled this case differently. The complex issues and facts of her particular case were unusual, and I should have treated them that way.”
Gascón said the change in policy will “allow us the space to do that moving forward.”
This comes after Gascón’s office issued a new directive on Feb. 15 requiring prosecutors to get permission from Chief Deputy Sharon Woo to object to the defense’s request to move a case from adult court to juvenile court; Woo is also to be notified of cases where a defendant is already an adult when a case is opened in juvenile court under the new policy.
Gascón’s policies have received widespread criticism among law enforcement since the district attorney took office in December 2020.
Eric Siddall, vice president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys told the Epoch Times in a statement that Gascón “knows the politics aren’t in his favor.”
“Over the past year, George Gascón and his policies have wreaked havoc on the criminal justice system and made us all less safe. Now he’s abandoning his social experiment not because he’s learned anything or wants to make us safer, but because he knows that the politics aren’t in his favor,” Siddall said.
Former LA County District Attorney Steve Cooley criticized Gascón’s policies and credited those rules with the outcome of the Tubbs case.
“After all, it is Gascón’s policy as executed by his hand-picked person (recent deputy public defender) to abandon the law, justice, and any semblance of caring for the child victim!” Cooley said in a statement.
Gascón is currently the subject of a recall campaign initiated on Dec. 6 by Angelenos who say his policies have led to an increase in crime since he took office.
A spokesperson for Gascón didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.