Nine Candidates For LA County DA Will Debate Tonight. The Current DA Won’t Be One Of Them

Nine candidates seeking to unseat L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón in the March 2024 primary election will take the stage Wednesday night in a debate sponsored by the region’s biggest police unions.

A spokesperson for Gascón said he would not attend because of a previously scheduled event at the same time with a Democratic club.

Law enforcement unions, including the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs and Los Angeles Police Protective League, have been among the DA’s sharpest critics. They argue he is too lenient with people who commit crimes. Police unions are a powerful political force, capable of spending big dollars for and against candidates.

Gascón is sure to be the main target of Wednesday’s two-hour debate, which is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at the Pacific Palms Resort in the City of Industry.

The debate will be live streamed here.

Gascón has said his policy of reducing criminal penalties is aimed at reducing mass incarceration and racial disparities in the criminal justice system. He won office touting that message in 2020, ousting incumbent Jackie Lacey.

The district attorney enacted a sweeping set of reforms when he took office. They resulted in a dramatic reduction in the filing of misdemeanors and certain gang and other sentencing enhancements.

Gascon, who was a Los Angeles police officer early in his career, also has aggressively prosecuted police officers involved in shootings and other uses of force, filing charges against 15 officers over three years. The previous two DA’s filed charges against two officers over nearly 20 years.

The L.A. County DA’s race is expected to be closely watched across the country as a barometer of how the public is feeling about criminal justice reforms amid an increase in property crime. Property crime is up 17.4% in the city of L.A. so far this year compared to two years ago.

Videotaped smash-and-grab robberies have also attracted widespread media attention.

Violent crime is down 1.3% year to date from two years ago.

Overall, both property and violent crime remain significantly lower than a decade ago. The numbers mirror what’s happening in cities across the country and among jurisdictions with both liberal and conservative prosecutors.

If no candidate garners a majority of votes in the non-partisan March primary, the top two finishers will advance to the November general election.


  • Here are the nine DA candidates scheduled to participate in a debate on Oct. 18, 2023 (candidates are listed in alphabetical order):

    • L.A. Superior Court Judge Debra Archuleta: Archuleta has been on the bench since 2016. Before that, she was a deputy district attorney.
    • Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Chemerinsky: Chemerinsky joined the U.S. Attorney’s office in 2014, rising to chief of the violent and organized crime section, according to his website. He is currently in private practice.
    • Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami: Hatami has been a prosecutor since 2006, which a focus on child abuse cases.
    • Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Hochman: Hochman is currently in private practice. In addition to serving as a federal prosecutor in L.A. Hochman is a former president of the L.A Ethic Commission and ran as a Republican for California Attorney General in 2022.
    • Deputy District Attorney John McKinney: McKinney has been a prosecutor for 25 years, with a focus on major crimes.
    • Retired L.A. County Superior Court Judge David S. Milton: Milton is an attorney in private practice who served on the bench from 1995 until 2014. Before that, he was a deputy district attorney.
    • L.A. County Superior Court Judge Craig Mitchell: Mitchell has served on the bench for 18 years. He was a high school teacher and deputy district attorney before that.
    • Deputy District Attorney Maria Ramirez: Ramirez has been a prosecutor for three decades, with a focus in prosecuting gang violence and drug trafficking, according to her website.
    • Deputy District Attorney Eric Siddall: Siddall has been a prosecutor for 16 years, with a focus on violent gang crime cases. He is a former vice president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, the union that represents rank and file prosecutors.

What questions or concerns do you have about civics and democracy in Southern California?

Frank Stoltze explores who has power and how they use it at a time when our democratic systems have been under threat.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge, Black Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge, Black Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

This post was originally published on this site