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Early Trouble For New DA Gascon's Reform Push

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L.A.'s newly-elected District Attorney George Gascón instituted a sweeping series of reforms on his first day in office, and he's discovering that some judges and prosecutors are resisting at least one of them.

They're unhappy about Gascón's decree that deputy DA's shall no longer seek sentencing enhancements, which can add many years to a prison sentence for things like using a gun, being an identified gang member, or committing a third strike felony.

We spoke to several deputy DA's who oppose the new policy. Only one would go on the record.

"I have to represent to the judge that I believe dismissing the enhancements and allegations are in the interest of justice," said veteran Deputy DA Richard Ceballos. "I don't believe that."

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It's unclear how many of the county's 1,000 prosecutors and more than 400 judges are resisting the policy change.

For judges, this is a "sea change," said Loyola Law School Professor Laurie Levenson.

"We have to remember that judges have been imposing harsh sentences with enhancements for decades now," she said. "They are going to take a close look at what's being requested."


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