Los Angeles District Attorney-Elect George Gascón Vows to Stop Prosecuting Juveniles as Adults

Newly elected Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón — who last week unseated incumbent prosecutor Jackie Lacey to be top cop in America’s second largest city — has vowed to act on his campaign pledge: Gascón has stated he will not pursue death penalty convictions and will “immediately stop prosecuting children as adults.”

Gascón’s pledge was spelled out in July in his extensive youth justice platform that opens with a quote from the iconic South African leader Nelson Mandela stating, “There can be no keener reflection of a society’s soul than the way it treats its children.”  

According to analysis of California Department of Justice data by Laura Ridolfi of the W. Haywood Burns Institute, between 2013 and 2018, District Attorney Lacey’s office prosecuted the cases of 229 youth who were ultimately transferred to adult court. That includes 89 minors who were automatically sent to the adult legal system by prosecutors through the direct file system, which was overturned by voters in a 2016 ballot measure, Proposition 57.

Overall 97%, or 219 of the 229 youth, were Black or Latino.

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Article written by Jeremy Loudenback. November 9, 2020. 

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