In a blow to LA County District Attorney's George Gascón's reform agenda, a judge today issued an injunction barring him from enforcing some directives he issued shortly after taking office.
LA County prosecutors score a win against DA George Gascón in the legal battle over some of their boss' most controversial reforms.
An LA Superior Court judge has temporarily barred Gascón from enforcing part of his policy on sentencing enhancements, including a ban on three-strikes allegations.
The preliminary injunction also lets prosecutors keep special circumstance allegations that could lead to a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
The ruling does allow Gascon to bar the charging of most sentencing enhancement in new cases.
The LA County prosecutors' union, which filed a lawsuit against the DA late last year, is celebrating the judge's decision, saying it's based "on what the law is and not what an officeholder thinks it should be."
USC Law Professor Jody Armour, a supporter of Gascón's policies, says this legal battle, which is being closely watched by reformers around the country, is far from over.
"Oh, there's going to be an appeal, for sure," Armour says.
Armour says prosecutors have a lot of discretion in how to uphold the law.
"Jackie Lacey sought the death penalty even while Gov. Newsom had a moratorium on it. A prosecutor can exercise discretion not to seek the death penalty and is not violating their oath of office while doing so. So prosecutorial discretion is built into the job. So how you prioritize that prosecutorial discretion reflects your values and your values are supposed to come from what the voters elected you to do," he says.
Gascón says in a statement he knew reforming the justice system - which he describes as a "dated institution steeped in systemic racism" - would be tough. He vows to keep fighting for change. Until there's a decision on the appeal, Gascón says his office "will adjust its policies to be consistent" with the ruling.