Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon is one of those far-Left lawyers working to “reimagine” policing and the criminal justice system, much to the chagrin of more establishment Democrats who are worried about the political damage being done to their brand by the soft-on-crime approach taken by Gascon and fellow prosecutors like San Francisco D.A. Chesa Boudin and Philadelphia D.A. Larry Krasner.
Gascon has previously said that he’s “not offended” by the phrase “Defund the Police,” or the movement himself, but I have a feeling that even a lot of Los Angeles liberals are going to be hot and bothered by Gascon’s latest stance. We’ve known that Gascon believes there should be fewer prosecutions and fewer people in prison, but I didn’t realize that he believes that should apply to those convicted of murder as well.
Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, the man convicted of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, will go before a California parole board on Friday for what will be his 16th time seeking release.
Unlike his past attempts for freedom, there will be no opposition from prosecutors. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón’s office will not be at the hearing, making it the first time prosecutors won’t be in attendance, The Washington Post reported.
His office will also not send a letter in support of the parole, with Gascón’s office saying it wants to remain neutral in the case.
“The role of a prosecutor and their access to information ends at sentencing,” Alex Bastian, special adviser to Gascón, told The Post. “The parole board’s sole purpose is to objectively determine whether someone is suitable for release. If someone is the same person that committed an atrocious crime, that person will correctly not be found suitable for release.”
“However, if someone is no longer a threat to public safety after having served more than 50 years in prison, then the parole board may recommend release based on an objective determination,” he continued.
Gascon is trying to play off his office’s absence from Sirhan’s parole hearing as neutrality, but that’s really not the case. By not objecting to Sirhan’s release, Gascon is taking a stand whether he wants to admit it or not; he’s not opposed to the parole board returning the assassin of Robert F. Kennedy to public life.
I would also argue that the role of the prosecutor doesn’t end at sentencing, but that it must continue on through the process of probation and parole. Gascon’s office is in a position to remind the parole board of the facts of Sirhan’s conviction and to advocate for both the victims and the general public. Unfortunately for Los Angelenos, Gascon isn’t interested in advocating for long sentences for convicted killers, which is why one woman is helping to lead a recall campaign aimed at removing Gascon from office.
Desiree Andrade, whose son was brutally murdered in 2018, organized the “Recall George Gascon” movement after the DA’s policies allowed her son’s killers to have their sentences reduced. Her son, Julian, was stabbed several times, beaten, and then thrown off a cliff but the five murderers will no longer face life without parole or the death penalty, Andrade told “The Ingraham Angle.”
“I’m feeling let down by the justice system,” she said. “These gentlemen are now facing 25 years and only having to do 80% of that time which is 20 years. That is not enough. My son has a sentence; his sentence was death. I will never see my son again. How is it even a thought that they will be out in time to create families of their own and do everything that my son was cheated from?”
“I feel let down by George Gascon. I feel it’s personal now. I feel him neglecting us victims is personal and for him not to reach out to me is personal. I think he’s a danger to L.A. County, point-blank.”
Now, I’m personally all in favor of criminal justice reforms, but only those that would allow police and prosecutors to focus their efforts on violent criminals. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why I argue for removing non-violent, possessory firearms offenses from criminal statutes (beyond the obvious constitutional issues with gun control laws restricting or prohibiting the average citizen from keeping and bearing arms). But my idea of criminal justice reform is far different than Gascon’s, who seems much more interested in reducing the consequences for committing even the most heinous of offenses.
I’d like to think that Gascon’s absence from Sirhan Sirhan’s parole hearing won’t have an impact on the decision by the parole board, but as Desiree Andrade reminds us, every day that George Gascon goes to work as the Los Angeles District Attorney, he’s having an impact on the thousands of criminal cases that his office handles. Gascon’s claims of neutrality don’t pass the smell test when he’s actively taking steps to reduce the potential sentences of convicted murderers. Even if Sirhan Sirhan remains behind bars after next week’s hearing, the Los Angeles D.A. will be hard at work trying to return other killers to the streets as soon as possible.