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Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón On Sentencing Enhancements, Bail Reform And More




San Francisco district attorney George Gascon speaks during a new conference to announce a civil consumer protection action against rideshare company Uber on Dec. 9, 2014 in San Francisco.
San Francisco district attorney George Gascon speaks during a new conference to announce a civil consumer protection action against rideshare company Uber on Dec. 9, 2014 in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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It’s been just under two months since Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón took office, but he’s wasted no time implementing criminal justice reforms that he hopes will address two major issues that he’s made a focus of his term so far: reducing incarceration and addressing racial inequities within the criminal justice system.

On his first day in office, Gascón said "California's mass incarceration problem can be tied directly to enhancements and the extreme sentencing laws of the 1990s. Under Gascón's sweeping directive, his office will no longer seek sentencing enhancements for things such as using a gun, belonging to a gang, or committing a second or third strike. His prosecutors are also prohibited from seeking the most severe punishments: the death penalty and life in prison without the possibility of parole. But the implementation of these reforms has not come without challenges. Judges have refused to dismiss sentencing enhancements in a number of cases and some prosecutors in California, including several of his own deputy district attorneys, worry that relaxing these enhancements could result in more crime. 

Today on AirTalk, D.A. Gascón joins Larry to talk about his directive on sentencing enhancements, his response to the pushback against it by judges, other district attorneys, and even his own deputy district attorneys and other criminal justice issues he plans to address in the coming months.

With files from LAist

Guests:

George Gascón, district attorney of Los Angeles County; he tweets @GeorgeGascon and his office tweets @LADAOffice

Frank Stoltze, KPCC/LAist criminal justice correspondent he tweets @StoltzeFrankly