New Policies in the Van Nuys District Attorney’s Office

Posted by Ronald D. HeddingDec 30, 2020

Elimination of Using California's Three Strikes Law. Right now, across Los Angeles County, as the new year approaches, the new head Deputy District Attorney George Gascon has imposed several new crucial policies, and some prosecutors are angry about it.

LA county has one of the biggest prosecution agencies in the world.  There are over 1,200 prosecutors and 38 different courts.  And I'll tell you right now; they're not reacting well to the new policies.

New Policies in the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office
The new policies by the Los Angeles District Attorney include not enforcing California's three-strikes law.

These policies eliminate the three-strikes law in LA county as far as not enforcing it.  That's one area where it gets a little bit confusing. The law is still there, but the DA's office has simply chosen not to utilize it. So, anybody who is like:

  • marker> a second striker, for example, picks up a new third strike and would typically be looking at 25 to life. 
  • marker> is not looking at 25 to life anymore is looking at whatever the charge range is for whatever the charge is that they picked up.

Also, the death penalty looks like it will go by the wayside, which is another critical implementation factor of this new LA County District Attorney. I've made a bunch of appearances in the Van Nuys court.  My office is five minutes from there.

The prosecutors are implementing the policy because they will lose their job if they don't. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will cover this topic below.

Probation for Defendants with Exceptions

But, it's still mirky on how they're going to deal with the part of the policy that says everybody gets probation unless certain exceptions apply. So, a lot of the prosecutors, I don't think, know what to do with this because there are some pretty severe cases charged in the Van Nuys court. So, I think that seems to be up in the air.

In other words, are they going to give probation to some of these offenders who would typically get multiple years in prison? I think some prosecutors are still dragging their feet as far as that particular issue goes.  But I've got a bunch of cases coming up.  So, we're going to see precisely how the prosecutors will deal with it.

Judges Refusal to Follow New Policies

Some Judges are Refusing to Follow New Policies by Los Angeles District Attorney
There are some judges in the Van Nuys Court that are refusing to implement some of the new policies.

In the Van Nuys courthouse, I see that many judges are refusing to implement this new policy. In other words, let's say there's a case where somebody's charged with two prior strikes, and they have a new felony pending, and the DA's office is making motions across LA county, but in specific, Van Nuys court, to strike those last strikes.

A lot of the judges, because they have the authority under Penal Code 1385 PC to strike allegations once they're filed, are refusing to do so, saying, no, I'm not going to do that, unless you can show me why in the interest of justice, I'm going to strike these strikes, I'm not doing it.

And that, I think — looking at this, because I don't know how the new DA will respond to that type of activity. Suppose it's down at the preliminary hearing level. In that case, the way that can be fixed from a defense standpoint is once you do the preliminary hearing, the District Attorney's office simply doesn't file those strikes back in the charging documents.

Suppose it's down to the preliminary hearing level. In that case, the way that can be fixed from a defense standpoint is once you do the preliminary hearing, the District Attorney's office simply doesn't file those strikes back in the charging documents. Now the judge loses the authority to do anything about those strikes.

Trial Court

On the other hand, if your case is up in the trial court in Van Nuys and the judge refuses to do it, that creates a problem.  Now, those strikes are still sitting there should somebody get convicted. The way around that is, either they can dismiss the case and refile it without the strikes, or they could simply offer the defendant a deal that didn't include the strikes.

So, there's still a lot yet to be seen in the Van Nuys courthouse related to the new District Attorney's policy, but I think it will benefit defendants. I think it's crucial more than ever now to have a great defense attorney by your side because you want to make sure that these prosecutors who don't like the policy aren't able to skirt out of giving your client a fair resolution. All of the mitigating factors are put out there on the client's behalf.

Criminal Defense in Van Nuys Courthouse

Criminal Defense Lawyer  in Van Nuys Courthouse
Call our law firm to learn how we can help you.

I've been doing this now for 27 years — handling cases on the defensive end in the Van Nuys courthouse.  I've worked for the District Attorney's office, so I know how their office work; I've worked for a superior court judge, and since 1994, I've been defending people just like you.

If you need help, pick up the phone.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding if you've got a Van Nuys courthouse case and need help. Hedding Law Firm is a top-ranked criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436.

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