A Los Angeles County judge issued Monday a preliminary injunction against District Attorney George Gasón in a lawsuit brought forth by the union for county prosecutors, preventing him from abandoning California’s “Three Strikes” law.
Judge James C. Chalfant ruled that the district attorney’s move of refusing to prosecute the law through his special directives “is unlawful.” He also ruled that Gascón cannot dismiss special circumstance allegations “without legal grounds.”
“The district attorney’s disregard of the Three Strikes ‘plead and prove’ requirement is unlawful, as is requiring deputy district attorneys to seek dismissal of pending sentencing enhancements without a lawful basis,” read Chalfant’s ruling. “An injunction against a public official’s unlawful actions cannot, by definition, interfere with the lawful exercise of the official’s duties.”
Gascón can appeal the court’s decision, however. Officials with the D.A.’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The decision comes after a hearing last week in which the union argued that a preliminary injunction was appropriate to help prevent deputy district attorneys from “violating the law.”
The lawsuit argues that it was illegal for Gascón to issue what they deemed as a blanket rule that prohibits prosecutors from seeking sentencing enhancements under the Three Strikes law.
A lawyer for Gascón, Robert Dugdale, argued that the union had not proven that they had the legal right to bring forth the lawsuit.
Monday’s ruling was welcomed by some county prosecutors, including Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami, a Santa Clarita resident and deputy district attorney for the Family Violence Division, Complex Child Abuse Section.
“Today’s decision is more than a humiliating rebuke of Gascón. It is a reminder that no one is above the law and the law in Los Angeles is not determined by one man, no matter how much of an opportunist, but by the people of the state of California,” Hatami said in a prepared statement.
“It is a victory for the community, victims, survivors, and their families and a reminder to all DDA’s that we are required to follow the law, not the demands of the DA or any elected or unelected official,” Hatami said. “We swore an oath, we must hold to it. Always do the right thing. Always fight for justice for the most vulnerable in our society. Today is a good day, L.A., justice was done.”
This is a breaking news story and additional information will be added as soon as it becomes available.