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The California Supreme Court agreed on Wednesday to review an appeals court ruling that state district attorneys must follow a 28-year-old law that requires prosecutors to add “strikes” based on prior convictions of a defendant who would extend their sentences, according to a report. .
Progressive Los Angeles County prosecutor George Gascón asked the court last month to review an appeals court ruling that he overstated his authority by telling prosecutors not to pursue strikes and other law enforcement improvements. the penalty.
“The district attorney is overstating his authority,” reads the decision of the second appellate district. “He is an elected official who must comply with the law, not a sovereign with absolute discretion and without control.”
California’s “Three Strikes” law was approved by voters in 1994 and imposes a sentence of 25 years to life for a third strike and double the penalty for a second strike. Strikes are added for violent crimes or other serious crimes.
DA GEORGE GASCON SEEKS APPEAL TO CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT IN BATTLE OVER CHARGE OF THREE-SHOT CASES
The three-strike law “has done tremendous harm to our communities,” Gascón said Wednesday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “We believe we can be held accountable without the harshest punishments.”
In June, an appeals court upheld the lower court’s injunction that Gascón cannot refuse to charge three strikes.
The Second District Court of Appeals ruled that voters and the California legislature ‘created an obligation, enforceable in mandamus’ that compels prosecutors to plead prior felony or violent felony convictions under the three strikes law of State.
The appeals court said the law “will be applied in all cases” but said prosecutors could argue for a lesser sentence.
Gascón called the appeals court’s decision a “dangerous precedent” and argued that it amounted to “taking the charging decision out of the hands of a prosecutor”.
“The Three Strikes Act imposes draconian penalties on defendants who have already been convicted of certain prior crimes,” he said. He also claimed that long sentences “increase recidivism rates, have little or no deterrent effect, and keep people in jail long after they pose a safety risk to their community.”
LOS ANGELES DISTRICT ATTORNEY GEORGE GASCON ‘OVERESTIMATE HIS AUTHORITY’, CAN’T IGNORE CALIFORNIAN LAW, COURT RULES
Gascón’s critics argue that repeat offenders should be kept in prison longer because they can be dangerous to society.
After Gascón took office in December 2020, he implemented a series of directives aimed at unilaterally reforming the way cases are prosecuted, including banning the continuation of strikes.
Gascón was joined in his July filing asking the High Court to overturn the decision of 73 current and former prosecutors, including Chesa Boudin, who was recalled as a progressive San Francisco prosecutor earlier this summer.
Gascón also survived two failed attempts to have him recalled.
The appeal ruling will not set a “binding precedent” while the High Court hears the case.
Eric Siddall, the vice president of the Association of Assistant District Attorneys, a group of prosecutors in Gascón’s office that filed the original lawsuit against his policies, responded to Gascón’s filing by saying that “prosecutors should ask courts to follow law, not ideology. Gascón’s position is not rooted in law, but it is based on an authoritarian ideology that is incompatible with our constitutional system.”
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Critics of Gascón’s liberal policies also said he favored criminals over victims. For example, its policies allowed a 26-year-old child molester to spend less than 6 months in a juvenile facility. He also got a five- to seven-month sentence in a “juvenile probation camp” for a hit-and-run driver who mowed down a mother and her toddler son on a Venice Beach side street.
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.