Victory for Progressive Prosecutor Movement in Los Angeles

N&P partner Cristina Parrinello led research for the 2020 George Gascón for Los Angeles District Attorney campaign. Gascón, LA native and former Police Chief and District Attorney of San Francisco, won a hotly contested race against incumbent Jackie Lacey.

Our team identified a staggering pattern of Lacey’s failure to lead jeopardizing public safety. We found Lacey opposed every progressive criminal justice reform during her tenure, contributing to mass incarceration through outdated and unjust policies on mental health, marijuana, and cash bail. Our team found Lacey had a long history of giving a “pass” to sexual abusers including Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Ed Buck, and even prosecutors in her own office.

Lacey’s refusal to charge police brutality—coupled with her inappropriately cozy relationship with police unions and her office’s racial biases in prosecution—contrasted with Gascón’s emphasis on political accountability during a political tipping point.

Los Angeles has the country’s largest jail system and the largest local prosecutor’s office. Gascón’s win is considered to be a major victory for the progressive prosecutor movement. On his first day in office, Gascón announced his office would end cash bail for misdemeanors and nonviolent offenses, stop charging juveniles as adults, and stop pursuing the death penalty.