Venice Shorts: Judge Craig Mitchell Launches Campaign to Oust Lada George Gascon, Blasts Incumbent for Placing Criminals Over Victims!

Former Teacher, Deputy DA,  Judge, and Founder of the Skid Row Running Club Joins a Growing Field of Challengers Against the Controversial Incumbent.

By Nick Antonicello

LA Superior Court Judge Craig Mitchell announced his campaign for Los Angeles County District Attorney on Monday.

Judge Mitchell is a lifelong Democrat, appointed to the Superior Court in 2005 by former GOP Governor Schwarzenegger, and served 11 years as a Los Angeles District Attorney. Mitchell’s candidacy adds to an ever growing list of hopefuls that are seeking to oust the one-term incumbent George Gascon, who has faced several recall challenges and has had a polarizing effect on LA’s criminal justice system.

The 69-year old Gascon, who was born in Cuba and is a former Republican who served as San Francisco’s District Attorney from 2011-2019. During Gascon’s tenure, a serious backlog in cases have overwhelmed his office as he has alienated a good portion of attorneys in his own employ. Critics of the incumbent believe the office has become politicized and polarized as his left-leaning values have trumped traditional crime-fighting strategies and methods.

Mitchell, who is making his first attempt for public office is a highly regarded jurist who’s work with the homeless has brought him national attention. Yo! Venice interviewed Mitchell several months ago on that service and dedication to the homeless community:

“As a Judge serving on the bench for 18 years, I am deeply distressed and disappointed that our District Attorney (Gascon) places criminals over victims and ideology over common sense,” stated Mitchell.

“I am running for District Attorney to restore common sense to our justice system.”

Mitchell has served the people of Los Angeles for 45 years in various capacities, first as a high school teacher in South and East Los Angeles for 17 years, as a Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney for 11 years – prosecuting murders, sexual predators, and child abusers – and now as a Superior Court Judge for nearly two decades. 

Mitchell founded the Midnight Mission Running Club on Skid Row in 2001 after becoming involved with the Midnight Mission Shelter.

He later founded the Skid Row Running Club in 2011, a nonprofit organization concentrating on marathon running for those seeking to break the cycle of addiction, prison, and homelessness. 

“George Gascon may be well-intentioned, but he does not understand how his policies are increasing crime and empowering criminals,” stated Judge Mitchell.

“He has never tried a single case, and that lack of experience is making Los Angeles County dangerous,” cautioned the candidate.

Judge Craig Mitchell is an 18-year Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge overseeing serious felony cases who founded the Skid Row Running Club. This nonprofit organization provides a community and support system for people recovering from addiction and homelessness in the Los Angeles Skid Row neighborhood.  To all the runners who wake up Monday and Thursday mornings to run through Skid Row, he is known affectionately as “The Judge.” 

Judge Mitchell also taught high school in Los Angeles for 17 years –  ten years at Serra High School, five years at Crenshaw’s Continuation High School, and two years at Wilson High School in El Sereno.  He learned that students coming from the most challenging circumstances could achieve any goals they set for themselves when equipped with solid academic skills and a thorough body of knowledge.

While working as a teacher, he took night classes at Southwestern Law School. 

Mitchell served as a Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney for 11 years, prosecuting murders, sexual predators, and child abusers. By the end of his career, he was trying more murder cases than any other prosecutor in Los Angeles.  He witnessed firsthand the trauma and devastation experienced by victims of some of Los Angeles’s most heinous crimes. “Victims and their families deserve justice, not for revenge but for closure – to heal and move forward,” noted the candidate.

Mitchell is probably best known for founding the Skid Row Running Club. The organization brings together volunteers and runners from all walks of life to train for marathons and other races, promoting physical fitness, mental health, and community building. The club has also raised funds for various social causes and was featured in several documentaries, including “Skid Row Marathon” and & “The Human Race.” 

Mitchell is married to Juliet Ingram, who taught for 35 years in LAUSD, and they have three children and two grandchildren. Mitchell is the recipient of the LA County Bar Association Community Service Award, the Mexican American Bar Association Community Service Award, the Langston Bar Association Community Service Award, the SHARE Community Service Award, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Service Award, and was named a “CNN Hero”. 

Nick Antonicello is a thirty-year resident of Venice and covers the homeless issue locally. Antonicello will also be covering the race for LA District Attorney. Have a tip or a take? Email the author at

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