Los Angeles District Attorney Facing Recall Campaign Amid Crime Wave

By Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
December 6, 2021 Updated: December 13, 2021

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón is facing another recall campaign amid a wave of crime in the city.

Speaking at a Dec. 6 press conference held by the group Recall District Attorney Gascón on the steps of the Hall of Justice in Los Angeles, retired district attorney Kathy Cady said that the policies and directives Gascón has implemented have led to an increase in crime since he took office in December 2020.

“Instead of following the law, he issued a number of policies immediately after taking that oath to follow the law that violate the law and do not allow for district attorneys to charge people and prosecute people in LA County as they are throughout the state,” Cady told NTD.

In the past year, Gascón issued a directive for Los Angeles district attorneys not to prosecute misdemeanors such as trespassing, criminal threats, drug and paraphernalia possession, public intoxication, and resisting arrest.

Gascón also directed his office to now treat repeat violent offenders as first-time offenders—including those who commit murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and sex offenses. Under Gascón’s leadership, no minors will be tried as adults ever, regardless of the crime, and prosecutors are prohibited from seeking the death penalty.

The campaign also cited a recent increase in smash-and-grab robberies and follow-home break-ins as a reason for Gascón’s removal.

“There are victims out there in those smash-and-grab robberies and in those home invasion robberies,” Cady said. “All of those victims are outraged, and they should be, and the community’s outraged. Instead of charging misdemeanor crimes when appropriate, that’s not happening. Instead of making sure the people stay in custody with the appropriate bail set, that’s not happening. Instead of making sure that appropriate allegations of weapons uses are being filed, that’s not happening.”

Several families of murder victims joined the recall group at the press conference.

“Standing behind me, as you know, are the victims’ families where special allegations should be filed, and that would make the person who killed their loved ones eligible for life without possibility of parole,” Cady said. “But Gascón will not allow those allegations to be filed, he will not meet with families who have asked him repeatedly … if he will listen to their stories.”

During the press conference, Desiree Andrade recounted when she lost her 20-year-old son, Julian, to a violent assault in 2018. Those individuals allegedly responsible were being charged with special circumstances of robbery, kidnapping, and lie-in-wait, and were facing life without parole and the death penalty.

“He was tortured, beaten to death by five individuals,” Andrade said. “And when those individuals thought my son was dead, they threw his body off the side of a cliff in the Azusa Canyons and left him for dead. My son was still alive before he succumbed to his wounds in the canyon.”

In the past year, Andrade said, she was “re-victimized” by Gascón’s policies all over again.

When Gascón directed district attorneys to dismiss the special circumstances, “it changed everything,” Andrade said.

This means the individuals no longer face the death penalty or life without parole, and instead could be released from prison in a mere 25 years.

“If you ask me, this is not justice for Julian or for my family,” Andrade said. “But it is much more than my story. It’s about the stories of all of us here.”

Gascón was served with a notice of intent to recall Dec. 6, the recall campaign wrote on Twitter after the press conference. The campaign also said they reached their goal of raising $2.5 million.

Now, the Registrar of Voters must approve the petition. Then, recall organizers will have 160 days to collect 158,000 signatures for the recall.

An earlier attempt to recall Gascón failed to meet the 580,000 required number of signatures by Oct. 26. A campaign spokesman told the Los Angeles Times the original recall had collected about 200,000 signatures.