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Prosecutor's Union Sues New DA George Gascón Over Justice Reform Efforts

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L.A. DA George Gascón (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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The union representing L.A. County prosecutors is suing to stop justice reform efforts proposed by new District Attorney George Gascón.

Gascón wants to stop seeking prior felony conviction enhancements for things like gun possession, gang membership, and violation of the "three strikes" law.

He argues those enhancements unfairly lengthen a person's sentence.

Gascón spoke on our newsroom's public affairs show, AirTalk, which airs on KPCC:

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"These are people that have campaigned very aggressively against every criminal justice reform in the last eight or nine years," he said of the prosecutor's union. "There is no question that moving away from a system that's been deeply embedded in incarceration has created political and monetary incentives for people. It's hard for people to move on."

LAist/KPCC criminal justice correspondent Frank Stoltze says Gascón's goal is to close the racial gap in the state's jails and prisons:
"This is really driven, according to Gascón, by these gang and gun enhancements, by the three strikes law, by this drive over the past three or four decades to lock people up [for] longer and longer. He's not just seeking to address mass incarceration, but to address these racial disparities."

Gascón told AirTalk that one of the major drivers of mass incarceration has been overcharging by prosecutors, which "essentially has forced defendants to plead guilty to avoid the risk of a long sentence."

"It's unethical," he said.

The prosecutor's union (the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for L.A. County) argues Gascón's order violates state law.

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE:

READ MORE ABOUT LA'S NEW DA:

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