Home>Articles>DA George Gascon to Dismantle Lifer Unit

DA George Gascón. (Photo: wikipedia)

DA George Gascon to Dismantle Lifer Unit

Unit was responsible for notifying crime victims of parole hearings

By Martin Marks, July 14, 2022 6:49 am

Perhaps Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon sees the handwriting on the wall, and this is his parting shot at a constituency  on the verge of recalling the embattled D.A.

Gascon’s office has announced that the Parole Unit, also known as the Lifer Unit, will be disbanded by the end of the year. The Lifer unit is comprised of victims’ advocates and prosecutors whose task is to notify victims and their families when an assailant or crime perpetrator has a hearing in front of the California Parole Board.

Gascon’s office claims in a statement that the responsibility to notify crime victims of impending parole hearings ought not be with the prosecutor’s office but rather with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The statement went on to say that notifying victims can be “triggering” to them and their families, and victims have the right not to be contacted when their assailant’s parole hearings have been scheduled.  The Prosecutor also claimed staffing issues are at play as lawyers and other investigatory personnel are needed for “in-line operations and prosecutions” instead of victim notification services. 

This move comes soon after another controversial action from Gascon when last year he barred prosecutors from attending parole hearings for even the most heinous criminals. Additionally, his directive encouraged prosecutors to support parole after felons had served their mandatory sentence minimum.

These moves have come with backlash; some of which emanating from the Prosecutor’s office itself. While Gascon’s office asserts that while the Life Unit will be disbanded, crime victims will still have access to Victim’s Services Representatives, Deputy District Attorney Julianne Walker is critical of the move: 

“Victim Service Representatives are not lawyers and do not understand the legalities of the parole hearing. Their skills are providing emotional support and services. Gascon continually puts forth ‘services’ as if he is protecting their ‘rights.’ He is not.”

Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney John Lewin said,

“What Gascon wants to do is he wants to make it so that not only the next of kin are unaware of these parole hearings, but he wants to make sure that prosecutors and district attorney’s offices don’t hear about them either.” 

On a Twitter post, L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Erlich remarked: 

“@GeorgeGascon has done a bunch of terrible things since Dec. 2020. But turning his back on the families of victims of violent crime is beyond callous. If he had EVER tried a homicide, he would know that we have a moral duty to, at least, support those folks at parole hearings.” 

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, a Gascon recall supporter, said she was “disheartened” by Gascon’s latest decision. “The district attorney’s policies continue to deteriorate public safety while eroding the protection that is rightly owed to victims.”  

And of course, the timing of the D.A.’s latest announcement is worthy of notice. Just last Wednesday it was announced by Recall DA George Gascon, the group spearheading the recall effort, that 717,000 signatures of the needed 566,857 needed for the recall to be placed on the ballot had been submitted to the LA County Registrar.  With this news, it is likely that the recall election will take place later this year.

Just last month, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin was convincingly recalled by voters as an answer to their perception of his being “pro-criminal” and soft on crime.  In light of this and also the obvious fury of citizens across the nation angered and frightened by spikes in crime in cities with progressive prosecutors, the electoral trajectory appears to be ominous for Los Angeles D.A. George Gascon.  This latest disregard for crime victims certainly cannot help is desire to remain in office.

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5 thoughts on “DA George Gascon to Dismantle Lifer Unit

  1. Gascon’s chutzpah with this latest action is absolutely STUNNING. And it’s hard to take in, especially under the circumstances of a potential recall hanging over his head. What on earth is WRONG with this guy? Will we see further vindictive moves against his constituency, knowing recall is imminent, as you have said? God forbid! L.A. County residents are watching and quaking as criminals have become so emboldened that recent robberies and fatal shootings have even caused profitable 7-11 and Starbucks stores to close their doors in order to keep employees safe!

    This morning I heard a woman caller to a SoCal radio station recount how she had been the victim of a home invasion (date unknown but must have been within the last few years) and, with a knife held to her throat, had endured a “very bad” sexual assault. All of this terror occurred in the presence of her small son. Fortunately the perpetrator was caught and ultimately convicted and given a 45 years-to-life prison sentence.

    Last year she was notified of this creep’s parole hearing (!!!) which, because of “Covid” she attended on ZOOM. Our victim described that the assailant criminal appeared with his attorney by his side, while she (under D.A. George Gascon’s policies) was not allowed a representative from the D.A.s office nor was she allowed ANYONE ELSE to appear with her or speak on her behalf. The prisoner was denied parole anyway (this time) but the victim has meanwhile been continually stalked and harassed by her assailant’s family and she has been forced to move five times in the wake of all of this.

    Obviously we can’t go on like this. We MUST have the opportunity to recall this cruel, victim-hating, and criminal-loving L.A. County District Attorney George Gascon.

    1. Somewhere in his underground bunker, $oro$ is angered that his investment is not paying the destruction-of-America outcomes that he’s wished for decades….

      Follow the money…

  2. Wow,Show, that poor woman !
    So, it seems to me that both San Francisco and Los Angeles have suffered under District Attorneys that are unaware of the job requirements.
    Instead, they are trying to legislate from their elected positions.
    This is brilliant for anybody who may support these DA’s with millions of dollars.
    Somebody did their homework…
    Here is what I found on counties.org –
    ————
    The District Attorney (DA) is a constitutionally elected county official. The District Attorney is responsible for the prosecution of criminal violations of state law and county ordinances occurring within a county under California Government Code Section 26500. This includes investigation and apprehension, as well as prosecution in court. The District Attorney serves as legal advisor to the Grand Jury and, through its family support division, enforces parental financial obligations. The Board of Supervisors exercises budgetary control but not operational control over elected District Attorneys.

    Office Responsibilities

    Although there are variations in every county, a typical District Attorney’s Office includes:

    Municipal Court Operations — Prosecutes all misdemeanors and presents preliminary felony hearings in Municipal Courts.

    Superior Court Operations — Presents all felony cases in Superior Court, including legal motions, writs, and appeals, extraditions, and Grand Jury matters.

    Family Support Operations — Provides civil and criminal prosecution of family support violations, welfare fraud, and child abduction. Family support policies and procedures are largely regulated by the state and federal governments, and the program’s expenses can be almost always fully reimbursed to counties by those entities through direct payments and incentives (i.e., counties receive financial incentives for aggressively enforcing child support).

    Investigation — Provides initial investigation and assistance in trial preparation through the investigation of criminal acts.

    Administrative Services — Provides budget, purchasing, space planning, personnel services, payroll, clerical support, and data services functions to the DA.

    In all but a few counties, the civil (non-prosecutorial) functions are handled by the county counsel

    ———-

    1. Thanks for posting this, Mary. When our modern scoundrels insist on creating Upside-Down-Land by redefining everything they can get their hands on, it definitely helps to look at the original definitions and job descriptions and purposes. 🙂

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