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DA George Gascón promises drastic criminal justice reform in LA County, including ending cash bail

Los Angeles County's new District Attorney George Gascón was sworn in Monday, at which time he promised drastic reform in the county of more than 10 million residents.

Among those reforms, Gascón promised to mostly eliminate the cash bail system, no longer pursue the death penalty, eliminate all sentencing enhancements, disband the special circumstances committee and reopen past cases including police use of force.

"Today, we will usher in a new era of criminal justice, and transform the largest criminal justice jurisdiction in America," Gascón wrote in a series of Tweets.

Prosecutors will no longer request cash bail for any misdemeanor, non-serious or non-violent offense, Gascón announced. Prosecutors will still be able to request bail in very serious offenses articulated in the constitution until Jan 1. By Jan 1, Gascón’s office will detail infrastructure and specifics to end cash bail altogether, instead seeking detention when deemed necessary.

"We will be the largest office in the nation in eliminating cash bail," Gascón said.

He also said that the DA's office will no longer seek the death penalty.

"I am committed to re-sentencing those currently on death row to life in prison," said Gascón. 

Additionally, the DA’s office will no longer seek enhancements of any kind (i.e. gang enhancements, three strikes, etc.), saying they undermine rehabilitation, exacerbate racial inequities and unnecessarily crowd jails and prisons. This policy will also be retroactive. The office estimates there could be up 30,000 cases eligible for re-sentencing.

Gascón also declared he will make victims' services available to families of those shot and killed by law enforcement officers. He also won't require victims of crime to testify against perpetrators in order to gain access to victims' services.

He also said he will immediately end the practice of charging minors as adults.

Kim Kardashian took to Twitter following Gascón's announcement, saying in part, "These changes out of the DA’s office are the change we’ve been waiting for, and I hope they have a ripple effect across the country."

Gascón on Monday became Los Angeles County's 43rd district attorney after beating out incumbent Jackie Lacey, who held the job for eight years. Gascón won the Nov. 3 election with 53.53% of the vote to Lacey's 46.47%.

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