By Danielle Silva
LOS ANGELES – LA DA Incumbent Jackie Lacey has 52.8% of the votes from mail-in ballots and currently counted from the Super Tuesday election, leading the other two progressive candidates by over a 25% margin. But if her number falls below 50 percent, she would face the second place finisher in November.
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office is considered the largest prosecutor’s office in the United States covering 4,000 square miles and comprised of roughly over 1,000 lawyers. With two progressive prosecutor candidates running against incumbent Jackie Lacey, the LA DA race would be a large step for the criminal justice reform movement.
The results currently stand with Lacey totaling 409,093 votes or 51.65%. George Gascón, former San Francisco DA, currently has 208,421 votes or 26.31%. Rachel Rossi, the first former public defender to run for LA DA, has 174,582 votes or 22.04%.
Lacey earned 54% with mail-in ballots but with more votes coming in Gascón and Rossi’s voter percentages continue to rise.
Gascón and Rossi are both considered progressive prosecutor candidates hoping to bring reform to the LA District Attorney’s Office.
Gascón officially resigned from his San Francisco DA position on Oct. 18, 2019, stating he would be moving to L.A. to be with family. During that time, he stated he was strongly considering running for L.A. D.A. The former SF DA authored Prop 47, a proposition which changed certain non-violent crimes to misdemeanors and expunged jail time associated with those charges. In San Francisco, he was noted for pointing out injustices in the criminal justice system and establishing more police accountability.
According to a New York Times op-ed, Gascón had focused on, “promoting alternatives to jail; gathering and relying on transparent data; limiting cash bail; expunging marijuana convictions; and deciding charges based on race-blind information… sponsored a state initiative that reduced many drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and supported a proposal to tighten the legal standard for the use of deadly force by the police.”
Rossi is the first public defender running for L.A. DA. On her campaign Twitter account, Rossi noted how the other candidates are career criminal prosecutors and her stance as a public defender would bring the reform needed in District Attorney’s office. She also notes that her policy based background would help in restructuring the LA DA’s office.
In her goal to reduce crime and end mass incarceration, Rossi’s website notes she will, “Focus resources on serious and violent cases that harm the public, and end the revolving door of low-level offenses that waste taxpayer dollars.” She is also endorsing County Measure R, which revises the duties of “the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission to investigate Sheriff-related issues, compel production of records and witnesses, review and evaluate the Office of the Inspector General’s handling of complaints, and develop a recommended jail plan, be adopted.”
County Measure R currently has 70.61% of the counted votes.
Lacey is running for her third term in office after defeating prosecutor Alan Jackson in 2012 and running unopposed in 2016. She has recently received criticisms from the Black Lives Matter movement for failing to prosecute LA officers who have fatally shot unarmed black men and the mishandling of cases.
The day prior to the Super Tuesday, Black Lives Matter protesters had gone to her home at 5:40 am requesting Lacey for a community meeting. Lacey’s husband, David Lacey, was recorded pointing a gun at protesters from his front door, telling them to get off his porch and back off. The video was released on Twitter by one of the Black Lives Matter Protestors. KTLA5 reports that the protestors stayed until at least 7:40 am that morning while LA Police Officers arrived at her home.
NBC News LA reported that Lacey and her husband did not know the protestors were outside and called the police. Protestors argued that the house had security cameras outfitted outside which the couple could have used to identify them
Lacey later spoke at a press conference, explaining that during her time as a District Attorney she received threats, had been followed, had been photographed with her family, and confronted at art galleries and fundraisers.
“And all of this is because I chose to do my job,” Lacey stated in the press conference.
Lacey also notes that her husband wanted to express his apology for his action.
“Now that he realizes what happened, he wanted me to say to the protesters, the person that he showed the gun to, that he was sorry,” Lacey said. “That he’s profoundly sorry. That he meant no one any harm. That it was just him and I in that house and that we really didn’t know what was about to happen.”
A candidate must have over 50% of the vote to be guaranteed a win – otherwise, the two with the most votes will be facing off in the November election.
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