Facing Recall, Soros-backed George Gascón Backtracks on Cash Bail for Some Defendants

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, right, speaks at a news conference with Paul Henderson of the San Francisco Mayor's office Tuesday, June 28, 2011, in San Francisco. Nearly 18 years after a gunman stormed San Francisco's 101 California office tower and opened fire, killing eight people and himself, city …
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, facing an aggressive recall election petition drive, has backtracked on his policy of eliminating cash bail for defendants, announcing that he will allow prosecutors to request bail in some cases.

Gascón was elected in 2020 with the help of millions of dollars from left-wing billionaire George Soros during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, ousting incumbent Jackie Lacey, the first black woman to hold the job. He was supported by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who switched his support from Lacey to Gascón, and had the backing of the state’s Democratic Party elite, including Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). Upon taking office, he began implementing radical criminal justice “reform.”

One of those “reform” policies was ending the use of cash bail in pre-trial detention for all non-violent offenses. That policy, backed by many Democrats, led to many criminals being released after arrest, with some going on to commit other crimes.

As crime began to skyrocket, Gascón faced efforts to force a recall election. The first such campaign fizzled last year, but a second attempt has already gathered 400,000 of the nearly 567,000 signatures needed by July 6 to put a recall on the ballot.

Now, the L.A. Daily News reports, he is dropping the ban on cash bail, while saying he looks forward to seeing those reforms adopted in the long term:

“Despite the significant efforts by community justice partners, a comprehensive pre-trial services program has not been fully realized,” the memo states. “After listening to the community, victims, and members of this office, I have decided to allow limited exceptions to the pre-trial release policy while such a program is finalized.”

Eric Siddall, vice president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, described Gascon’s zero-bail policy as an “unmitigated failure of leadership.”

“It took 18 months of smash-and-grab robberies and revolving-door reoffenders for George Gascón to admit what it took Angelenos about 18 minutes to know in their guts — his bail policy didn’t work and it made all of us unsafe,” he said in an email Friday. “His stubborn refusal to course-correct was a failure of competency.

The prospect of a recall election has already prompted Gascón to drop other unpopular policies. In February, after a public outcry when a convicted violent sex offender was given a juvenile sentence for a crime committed in 2014, just before (at the time) his 18th birthday, Gascón dropped his policy against prosecuting all offenders under the age of 18 as juveniles.

That convict, Hannah Tubbs, has since been booked for a 2019 murder in neighboring Kern County.

Gascón is one of dozens of prosecutors whom Soros has helped elect in large cities across the country to pursue left-wing policies on criminal justice, including the end of cash bail and pre-trail detention, as the country suffers a crime wave.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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