After the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked nationwide protests against police brutality, Los Angeles County voters chose to take their criminal justice system in a new direction by electing George Gascón to the post of prosecutor.
A progressive former police chief who also served as San Francisco’s attorney general, Gascón has promised to reduce incarceration in the county, which is the nation’s most populous, and take a much tougher stance on police accountability. police force than his predecessors had done.
His election in 2020 was a major victory for the national movement to elect liberal prosecutors, which has gained momentum in recent years because Los Angeles has the nation’s largest county jail system as well as its largest prosecutors office.
Four years later, Gascón is up for re-election, and the race is shaping up to be a much more traditional type race – driven by crime and what to do about it, rather than how to reduce racial disparities and to reign in crime. the police.
And in a presidential year, the race will certainly be watched closely for signs of the national mood around crime and criminal justice policies.
“I think this race for 2024 comes down to, for a lot of people, law and order, locking them up,” Gascón, 69, told me in a recent interview.
Gascón faces 11 opponents, most of whom are to his right and question a number of his policies, including limiting the use of enhancements — for gang affiliation and for the use of firearms during a crime, among others — which can add years to a sentence; refusing in most cases to charge minors as adults; and limit the use of cash bail and misdemeanor prosecutions.
Many candidates have presented voters with a narrative of out-of-control crime in Los Angeles, fueled by lenient policies that allow criminals to go free.
These accounts, however, are contradicted by data that shows a significant reduction in violent crime in recent years. In the city of Los Angeles, which accounts for about 40 percent of the county’s population, homicides and rapes both decreased by about 18 percent last year, compared to 2021, the first year of the presidency. Gascon.
Property crime, however, increased significantly in some categories, including car thefts, burglaries and thefts from persons.
All candidates, including Gascón, are in low numbers in the polls so far, although Gascón is leading. A survey by the union that represents sheriff’s deputies puts it at 14 percent.
The primaries will be held in March, and unless one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote — a remote possibility — the top two contenders in the primary will advance to the general election in November.
Here are the candidates running against Gascón, including several from his own office:
Eric Siddallviolent crimes prosecutor who received support from the union that represents assistant district attorneys.
Jonathan Hatamia child abuse prosecutor who frequently criticizes Gascón on the social media platform X and says he opposes Gascón’s general policy of never resorting to the death penalty.
Maria Ramireza veteran prosecutor who took Gascón to court, accusing him of retaliating against her for pushing back on his policies.
John McKinneywho served as a prosecutor in the Major Crimes Division and successfully led the prosecution of the man convicted of murdering rapper Nipsey Hussle in 2019.
Nathan Hochmana former deputy United States attorney general who was the Republican nominee for California attorney general in 2022, an election he lost.
Debra Archuletaa longtime trial lawyer who is now a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge.
Jeff Chemerinskywho headed the violence and organized crime section of the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles before leaving that post last year to take up campaigning.
Lloyd Massonprosecutor from Gascón’s office.
Craig Mitchella former prosecutor turned judge known in Los Angeles for the Skid Row Running Club, which he started to help homeless people suffering from addiction.
David S. Miltona retired judge who presented himself as a “law and order” candidate, and promised to seek tougher sentences and maintain the death penalty.
Dan Kapelovitza liberal criminal lawyer who promises to tackle the root causes of crime, like poverty and addiction.
The rest of the news
Parenting classes that judges routinely order people accused of abuse or neglect of minors to attend include: largely unregulated in Californiareports the Los Angeles Times.
The state Department of Transportation posted security guards to monitor for smoke or other problems. three storage sites under the I-10 viaduct in Los Angeles, rented by the same businessman where a Nov. 11 fire severely damaged the highway, the Associated Press reports.
Writer Walker Mimms explores the reimagined Luna Luna Art Museum and its admission ticket prices.
Anthony Dias Blue, a longtime wine writer and radio personality whose love of California whites and reds helped elevate the reputation of American winemakers, died Dec. 25 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 82 years old.
Fresno man who admitted to killing his 56-year-old mother with a hammer in 2019 was sentenced to 25 years to life imprisonment.
Work crews in Berkeley surrounded People’s Park with a wall of empty shipping containers Thursday after an overnight police operation evicted activists and homeless campers from the property, which is owned by UC Berkeley.
Sacramento City Council member Sean Loloee, who is fighting federal criminal charges related to his grocery business, resigned from his seat on Thursdayreports the Associated Press.
What are you looking forward to in 2024? Milestone birthdays, trips to new places, discovering a new hobby?
Let us know your hopes for the new year at CAtoday@nytimes.com. Please include your full name and the city you live in.
And before leaving, some good news
After a difficult period of pandemic-related shutdowns followed by strikes by Hollywood writers and actors last year, the Los Angeles film scene is rebounding.
In homage to the city’s big screens, the Los Angeles Times has published a list of the county’s best movie theaters, according to its writers and editors. The list highlights 27 venues in Santa Monica, Burbank and beyond, including restored movie palaces, beloved neighborhood theaters and new venues, with recommendations tailored for movie buffs, casual moviegoers and everyone the world.
Venues were chosen based on several factors, including presentation, comfort of the theater and choice of snacks. Find full list of locations here.
Thanks for reading. We will come back on Monday. Have a good week-end.
PS Here today’s mini crosswords.
Soumya Karlamangla, Maia Coleman and Briana Scalia contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.
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