LA District Attorney Updates: What Does LA County Policy Changes Mean for Peace Officers?

Newly elected Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon intends to release more than just a wave of policy changes in the criminal justice infrastructure of Los Angeles. Gascon is bringing many jolting adjustments to Los Angeles County including policies to decline prosecution of numerous misdemeanor crimes, eradicate the ability for prosecutors to add a sentencing enhancement after evaluation of the circumstances surrounding commission of a crime, and a commitment that his deputy district attorneys will not oppose modification or removal of conditions of release of defendants on their own recognizance.

Gascon has also listed Penal Code §148(a)(1) Resisting Arrest as a crime that will not be prosecuted. There are limited exceptions that allow for PC 148 to be charged in conjunction with some crimes, but not with many of the crimes that invariably lead to altercations such as disturbing the peace and public intoxication.
[Special Directive 20-07, https://da.lacounty.gov/about/inside-LADA/misdemeanor-case-management]

Quoted directly from the newly issued Special Directive on sentencing enhancements: “… sentence enhancements or other sentencing allegations, including under the Three Strikes law, shall not be filed in any cases and shall be withdrawn in pending matters.” Further, “DDAs are instructed to not oppose defense counsel’s request for resentencing,” thereby allowing Gascon’s new policy to retroactively apply to sentences that occurred six months prior to the new directive. (emphasis added).
[Special Directive 20-08, https://da.lacounty.gov/about/inside-LADA/sentencing-enhancementsallegations]

Additional detail regarding Gascon’s policy changes can be found directly on the LADA website:
https://da.lacounty.gov/about/Inside-LADA

What Does this Mean for Law Enforcement Officers?

Policing is being policed by those who have never served as officers, including the public and the media. In these trying times, officers, who are also very concerned citizens, are attempting to strike the balance between protecting the members of their communities and following new protocols that take a much more hands off approach to enforcing the law. With sentencing enhancements almost completely gone, it feels futile for officers to further investigate suspects and crimes in the thorough manner they are akin to.

Policies within police departments now must adjust. Training on the law, consistent updates on changes in prosecution of crimes, and constant adaptation to the evolving law enforcement climate are key to keeping up with these changes. It is vital that police department policy changes ensure their adaptability to these times comes with attention to those officers in the line of fire. Officers across LA county should not be finding themselves in the middle of Internal Affairs investigations within their own departments because of a lack of information or training.

How Can Adams, Ferrone & Ferrone Help?

Adams, Ferrone & Ferrone (AFF) has been specializing exclusively in the representation of public safety associations and their members for two decades and is dedicated to serving those who serve. The experience of AFF’s attorneys range from civil litigation to contract negotiations, from disciplinary investigations to criminal defense and former criminal prosecutors. Clients have expressed appreciation on numerous occasions for the time and attention paid to their cases and the successes achieved. “I actually can’t thank you enough”, is quoted from a client whose criminal case was dismissed outright because AFF pursued an appeal on his administrative case and obtained video evidence that displayed his innocence. This is one of various examples of how AFF is able to integrate every one of a client’s needs with all legal channels under one roof.

Jennifer Krikorian and Rob Baumann are prepared to answer your questions, address concerns, and help guide law enforcement officers through the growing pains of these policy changes.

Jennifer Krikorian, ESQ. Adams, Ferrone & Ferrone
Rob Baumann, ESQ. Adams, Ferrone & Ferrone