Tomorrow is Super Tuesday, and it’s also the date of the election for District Attorney of Los Angeles. I will be voting for my current boss, Jackie Lacey. I have never felt the need to publish an endorsement for District Attorney before — and I doubt that my position is going to be very controversial among the readership of this site — but I think it’s time to speak out.
Lacey’s main opponent is George Gascon, the latest in a nationwide wave of would-be district attorneys whose selling point is that they will go easier on criminals than the incumbent prosecutor would. This is an argument that has worked in some places, notably San Francisco and Philadelphia. It can’t work here. Gascon is endorsed by the Democrat party and by the Los Angeles Times — a somewhat redundant set of honors. He has run television ads that sound like he is running as a defense attorney, with his main selling point being how lenient he will be.
Gascon wants everyone who has been sent to death row by the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office for horrific murders to be resentenced, although he is completely unclear about how exactly he expects to accomplish this. (I have one defendant on death row and he richly deserves to be there.) Gascon was the District Attorney in San Francisco, before the election of the current San Francisco public-defender-turned-D.A., Chesa Boudin, who was sired by convicted Weather Underground terrorists and raised by Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn (not a joke). But the current mayor and city attorney of San Francisco have endorsed Lacey. What does that tell you?
Gascon hopes to use a “risk assessment tool” to determine bail, rather than the traditional system that prioritizes public safety. This experiment was tried in San Francisco courts with much the same disastrous and violent results as the country has seen in New York, including the 2017 murder of Edward French in San Francisco.
Gascon is a danger to public safety. If he is elected, morale in my office will plummet as the prosecutors are forced to work for someone who cares more about dangerous so-called “reforms” than he cares about crime victims. He won’t be able to fire us willy-nilly, like Boudin fired experienced prosecutors in San Francisco, so this endorsement isn’t about my job safety. It’s about the need to have a D.A. who does the right thing for the right reasons. And that’s Jackie Lacey.
In my current position, I have had more recent personal interaction than I had in the past with District Attorney Lacey. I worked for her in the early 2000s when she was a beloved Bureau Director over Central Trials, and I defended a habeas petition a couple years earlier (also in the early 2000s) on a case she had had prosecuted, and interviewed her about that case. But that was the main extent of our contact, absent occasional passing greetings (and, like Gil Garcetti, Jackie always remembers your name and who you are). But recently I have had some closer interaction with her on two or three occasions, and have been very impressed. I don’t want to go into the details of any particular case, but I have watched her thoughtfully analyze and discuss complex murder cases and offer nuanced positions that are the complete opposite of how she is portrayed by the more fringe elements of the Black Lives Matter crowd.
I’m not going to discuss the incident that happened at her home this morning, other than to say that she has been treated very unfairly by many of the protestors who have harassed her for months, some of them using the most callous language and tactics possible. I salute her courage in seeking justice and doing her job without bending to the very public pressure of those who would have her ignore her oath and make decisions for political reasons. If you have any concerns over this morning’s incident, locate and watch her press conference. Any fair-minded person watching that press conference will get a good sense of who she is. Watch it until the end, when she forcefully says she is not going to let down the folks of the D.A.’s office. It was an inspiring and moving moment.
I have no reservations about telling you that I will be voting for Jackie Lacey tomorrow. I encourage every reader of this site to do the same.
P.S. As it says on the sidebar, I speak for myself and not my office. That is true for this post, as it is for every post.