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Criminal Justice

Second Effort To Recall DA Gascón Begins

DA George Gascón. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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After an initial effort failed last year, opponents of Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón have secured approval from the county registrar to begin a second drive to remove him from office.

The registrar approved the group's recall petition on Thursday; the campaign has until July 6 to collect at least 566,857 valid signatures from registered voters to place the recall question on the November ballot.

Gascón was elected in 2020 on a platform that promised sweeping progressive reforms designed to roll back draconian laws and address mass incarceration of mostly Black and Latino men.

He has followed through on that promise, sparking a firestorm of criticism as well as earning him profuse praise for his policies of seeking shorter prison terms for most serious and violent felons.

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“We are sick and tired of living in the pro-criminal paradise Gascón has created,” recall co-chairs Desiree Andrade and Tania Owen said in a statement. “Gascón turned his back on us, and now his policies are destroying Los Angeles County right before our eyes and needlessly creating more innocent victims.”

Former DA Steve Cooley, a prominent Gascón critic, said recent high-profile crimes like smash-and-grab robberies will make voters more open to a recall.

“The tide has substantially turned, and all against him," said Cooley, who added that the recall campaign has more money to hire signature gatherers, an issue that hindered the first effort.

In addition, veteran political strategist Tim Rosales is helping lead the campaign, according to Cooley. “The professionals are now involved as opposed to well-intended but inexperienced amateurs,” he said.

Gascón points out crime started rising long before he took office, and he has called efforts to recall him a Republican-led effort to roll back much needed changes to the criminal justice system.

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Frank Stoltze covers a new movement for criminal justice reform at a time when not everybody shares the same vision.