In mid-June, two El Monte Police Officers were callously murdered by career criminal Justin Flores who was out on probation. Under California law, Flores should have been in a state prison cell the day he murdered these two officers. But, because of the policies of Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, he was given probation.
When he was elected as the Attorney General for Los Angeles County last year, George Gascón issued an order that all criminal offenses convicted by the prior district attorneys were not to be used in sentencing guidelines, essentially changing the initial verdict to “Not guilty.” He ordered that all cases eligible for probation should be given probation. Those were his orders, and he was in charge and the boss of Los Angeles Officers who file between 30 and 50 thousand felonies each year.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is the largest local agency that handles criminal cases nationwide. It is charged with prosecuting every state felony and almost all misdemeanors within Los Angeles County; with approximately ten million residents, it is the most populous county in the country and more crowded than forty U.S. states. It has 32 branch offices plus the main H.Q. in downtown Los Angles.
Handling an operation of this size requires delegating most of the decisions to the local office and the assistant D.A.s in charge of that office. Under that system, most decisions are made by experienced local prosecutors or their immediate supervisors. Elected County D.A.s are rarely involved because they have other duties, like granting leniency or immunity, structuring their respective bureaus, and implementing policy. They have five bureau directors that manage the individual case settlements of approximately 50,000 cases—an almost impossible job.
Gascón’s new policies required a bureau director’s approval on any non-probationary offers. Five bureau directors were now responsible for making offers on all cases if the deviation was from the “give them probation policy.” This meant probation was the default and given on many troubling cases, including Justin Flores. This was because requiring bureau director approval for any other than probation became very hard to obtain and indicated the director was a non-team player.
In February 2021, Flores – a gang member, was charged with felonies; possession of a firearm, possession of methamphetamine, and illegal possession of ammunition. Under California state law, Flores was ineligible for probation and faced a minimum sentence of 32 months in state prison. Instead, because of Gascón’s policies, he was released on probation.
As a result of probation, in a small El Monte, California motel on June 14, 2022, Justin Flores was beating the hell out of his girlfriend. Someone called the cops, and officers Santana and Paredes responded to the call. In their final act, they rushed to help a person in trouble. For their sacrifice, their families are now left without a father.
San Francisco just recalled a DA with almost the exact same policies as Gascon; maybe San Francisco is more intelligent than L.A. But why is it important to a small town in the heartland of America? Because liberal DA’s like the one in Los Angeles and San Francisco are popping up everywhere and releasing career criminals who are being released all over the United States.
We must not let it happen here in Nevada, where all career criminals belong in jail.
Mike Young has been writing opinion articles for most of his life, having been published in multiple periodicals. He is the author of numerous articles and a book on Public Speaking. A member of President Bush’s task force on infrastructure protection for water and power systems, he is presently on the Board of Trustees for Overton Power District #5 as the Secretary/Treasurer. He currently resides in Mesquite, NV.