Gascón Recall Effort Fails: Los Angeles District Attorney To Remain In Office After Signature Effort Falls Short – Updated

UPDATED with results: An effort to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón was rejected today, with the county clerk’s office announcing that organizers submitted only 520,050 valid petition signatures, short of the required 566,857.

Organizers of the recall submitted a total of 715,833 petition signatures to the county Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office in an effort to force Gascón into a recall election. County officials initially conducted a random sampling of the signatures to verify their validity. Based on that initial sampling, the county undertook an effort to verify all 715,833 signatures individually.

The county announced Monday that 195,783 of the signatures were invalid. In many cases, the person signing the petition was not a registered voter, and there were also more than 45,000 duplicate signatures, according to the county.

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“We are obviously glad to move forward from this attempted political power grab, but we also understand that there is far more work that needs to be done,” Gascón campaign spokesperson Elise Moore told Deadline Monday. “And we remain strongly committed to that work. The DA’s primary focus is and has always been keeping us safe and creating a more equitable justice system for all. Today’s announcement does not change that.”

Gascón has been under fire since taking office in December 2020, when he issued a series of directives critics blasted as being soft on crime. The directives include a rule against seeking the death penalty, a ban on transferring juvenile defendants to adult court and prohibitions on filing sentencing-enhancements in most cases.

It was the second recall effort targeting Gascón. With Crime rising in Los Angeles, citizens and many on the right have accused Gascón of avoiding harsher sentences for criminals. At one point, the Los Angeles County Sheriffs bypassed local prosecutors and went directly to federal authorities to seek enhancements on a gang’s robbery and murder of an LAPD officer.

Gascón’s record also frequently became fodder on Fox News and other conservative-leaning outlets.

PREVIOUSLY in February: Facing a recall effort and a rising tide of resentment on the mounting crime wave in Los Angeles County, District Attorney George Gascón is revising his approach – but keeping his opposition to the death penalty.

Gascón issued a memo to his staff on Friday on seeking life sentences and filing cases against juvenile offenders in adult court.

A new committee will review motions filed by prosecutors requesting to transfer cases involving minors accused of murder, violent sexual assaults, and other serious crimes out of the juvenile department and into adult court.

Additionally, special enhancements for felony charges are back. The enhancements could add additional sentences on certain crimes. Prosecutors can seek a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole “where it is deemed such filings are appropriate,” according to the new policy.

Gascón’s memo indicated he would maintain his “no death penalty” stance and is still committed to ending mass incarceration. However, “After listening to the community, victims and colleagues, I understand that there may be the rare occasion where the filing of special circumstance allegations may be necessary.”

Gascón faces his second recall effort. Crime is rising in Los Angeles and citizens accuse Gascon of avoiding harsher sentences that may mitigate it. The Los Angeles County Sheriffs recently bypassed local prosecutors and went directly to federal authorities to seek enhancements on a gang’s robbery and murder of an LAPD officer.

Critics contend the new Gascón policies are mere lipstick on a pig, with one calling it a “smoke screen,” because Gascón supporters will still be calling the shots.

The Gascon recall movement mirrors a similar one in San Francisco, where a recall is underway for District Attorney Chesa Boudin.

Dominic Patten contributed to this report.

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