A group behind an effort to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón plans to submit petition signatures Wednesday at the county elections office.
The petition signatures are required as part of a process that would ultimately let voters decide whether Gascón should be removed as the top prosecutor in California’s most populous county.
The signatures are expected to be submitted early Wednesday afternoon at the registrars office.
The process for recalling an elected public official in California is outlined in the state constitution. California and 19 others have laws that outline a process by which voters can recall an elected official from office.
The process starts with a petition listing reasons for the recall, which is sent to elections officials. A multi-layered certification process requires several steps involving different elections officials in addition to county-level preparations needed to conduct the election.
Gascón has been under fire from critics since voters elected him to the office in 2020. His tenure started with a series of directives many critics have called soft on crime. The directives include a rule against seeking the death penalty, a ban on transferring juvenile defendants to adult court and prohibitions on filing sentencing-enhancements in most cases.
Gascón has defended his policies, saying he made his intentions clear during his campaign. He said the result of the election in which he defeated incumbent DA Jackie Lacey signified public support for the agenda.
The recall effort must reach 566,857 valid petition signatures to place Gascón’s fate in the hands of voters. Organizers recently claimed they passed that figure, but the petition drive continue with organizers saying they are aiming for 700,000 signatures.
Wednesday is the deadline for the petitions to be turned over to the county.
In a statement Tuesday, recall organizers said residents “have spoken in a resounding way,” noting the sheer number of people who have signed petitions and pointing to 37 cities in the county that have taken “no-confidence” votes in Gascón.
“The sheer magnitude of this effort, and time and investment required to get to this point, show how strong the public desire is to remove George Gascón from office,” the Recall DA George Gascón campaign said in a statement. “From day one, this recall has been led by the very victims who Gascón has abandoned, ignored and dismissed. When the recall qualifies, he will not be able to ignore them any longer.”
Gascón was asked about the recall during a Tuesday news conference, but he declined to comment.
Gascón has softened on some of his directives since taking office and a state appeals court panel recently sided with a lawsuit filed by his own prosecutors trying to block orders against filing sentencing enhancements or prior-strike allegations.
The recall drive gained some late fuel following questions about prosecutors’ handling of a criminal case against a man who last month fatally shot two El Monte police officers. Critics said gunman Justin William Flores had a history of arrests but was given a plea deal last year that allowed him to avoid any jail time for possession of a weapon, ammunition and methamphetamine.
Gascón had a news conference to defend the handling of the case, saying the plea deal was appropriate under the circumstances.
Source: NBC Los Angeles