Antelope Valley Press

11 seeking to replace Gascón as county DA

- By JULIE DRAKE Valley Press Staff Writer

Eleven potential candidates have either pulled or filed nomination papers or filed signatures in lieu to challenge first-term Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón in the March 5 presidenti­al primary.

As of Wednesday, Debra Archuleta, a Los Angeles Superior County Court judge; Jeff Chemerinsk­y, a federal prosecutor; Jonathan Hatami, an LA County deputy district attorney; Nathan Hochman, a former US assistant attorney general; Lloyd “Bobcat” Masson; David S. Milton, a retired LA County Superior Court judge; Craig Mitchell, an LA County Superior Court judge; Maria Ramirez, head deputy district attorney; and deputy district attorney Eric Siddall each pulled candidate nomination papers, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder.

Deputy District Attorney John McKinney filed signatures in lieu of paying the $4,000 filing fee. Criminal defense attorney Dan Kapelovitz filed his candidate nomination papers on Tuesday.

Gascón pulled his candidate nomination papers for re-election on Nov. 16. The deadline to file is Dec. 8.

Gascón has faced criticism for his policies since he took office in December 2020. He announced policy changes such as dropping sentencing enhancemen­ts and ending the practice of transferri­ng juveniles accused of serious crimes to adult court.

Gascón backtracke­d on the policy in January 2022 after then-26-year-old transgende­r child molester Hannah Tubbs was ordered to serve two years in a juvenile facility for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl in the women’s restroom of a Palmdale Denny’s. Tubbs was 18 days short of her 18th birthday at the time of the crime. Tubbs, whose legal name is James, pleaded

no contest Nov. 6 to voluntary manslaught­er, witness intimidati­on and second-degree robbery in the April 2019 death of Michael Clark, 22, and will be sentenced to 15 years in prison Dec. 7 in Kern County Superior Court.

“Like every responsibl­e office, we learn as we go, take feedback from the community, and make necessary adjustment­s based on our experience­s and the complex nature of this work,” Gascón said in a statement at the time.

Critics have said the former police officer and former San Francisco district attorney has a “pro-criminal” agenda that helps criminals feel emboldened, residents unsafe and victims abandoned, according to a group of victim advocates that unsuccessf­ully sought to recall Gascón.

Nearly four years ago former LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey faced two challenger­s in the 2020 presidenti­al primary, Gascón and Rachel Rossi, a former federal prosecutor, in her bid for a third term. Lacey was first elected in 2012. She won a second term in 2020 when she ran unopposed. She faced criticism by Black Lives Matter protesters who contended she could have done more to prosecute law enforcemen­t officers in officer-related shootings.

Gascón beat Lacey in the November 2020 general election with more than 53% of the vote.

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