Progressive billionaire George Soros has attracted significant criticism from conservatives in recent years for his efforts to fund and support a range of left-leaning prosecutors in districts across the U.S.
Now, some of the same individuals Soros helped get elected are being accused of catering to criminals instead of serving the people. The latest outrage has been directed at Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, who recently dropped a request to seek the death penalty against two defendants accused of brutally torturing and murdering a 10-year-old boy.
“Not based upon new evidence”
Even Gascon’s deputy district attorney has publicly denounced the decision in a statement.
“This is not based upon new evidence,” declared Jonathan Hatami. “This is not based upon new mitigation or new law. I stand by the special-circumstances committee decision that I announced to the court on the record two years ago.”
Gascon’s predecessor, Jackie Lacey, originally sought the death penalty in the case against Heather Maxine Barron and Kareem Ernesto Leiva.
The woman and her boyfriend are accused of torturing her son, Anthony Avalos, for five or six days before killing him. The young victim was allegedly whipped with a belt and electrical cord, doused in hot sauce, and dropped repeatedly on his head before his death.
Avalos’ father and other relatives are suing the county over allegations that social workers did not take claims of child abuse and neglect seriously. Two other children were reported in the home at the time of the boy’s death.
Gascon promises criminal justice reform
As it now stands, Barron and Leiva face a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole if convicted of the crime.
For his part, Gascon came into office promising “reforms” in the criminal justice system, including the abolition of cash bail and the death penalty. Thus far, he has been true to his word in working to implement such changes.
Of course, critics have been vocal in denouncing his softer approach to crime and he is facing a recall effort by angry constituents.
The city councils of both Beverly Hills and Santa Clarita have issued a vote of “no confidence” against the district attorney even though he has been in office for less than four months.
The Avalos case has apparently added a personal element to the feud between Gascon and Hatami, who heads the district attorney’s child abuse unit and is himself a professed victim of child abuse. While the district attorney has cited the cost, risk of executing innocent people, and possible racial bias in his opposition to the death penalty, it remains to be seen if his convictions will ultimately cost him his job.
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Author: Jen Krausz
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