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As Recall Petition Starts Collecting Signatures, Gascón Spokesperson Questions Who’s Behind Effort – CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The effort to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón is now in the signature collecting stage, after the Los Angeles County Registrar Thursday approved the petition.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gasón, who was sworn into office last December, is facing a recall effort. (Credit: CBS)

Gascón handily defeated former District Attorney Jackie Lacey on a platform of criminal justice reforms, but his opponents have been working since February to get the recall petition approved.

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Recall supporters had to wait 90 days after he was sworn in before they could start the process, which included getting signatures for the intent to recall. Now that the recall has been approved, they need to collect signatures from 579,062 registered L.A. County voters by Oct. 27, 2021 to get it on a ballot.

Since December, Gascón implemented changes that upset some families of victims — including directing his prosecutors to not seek the death penalty or sentencing enhancements in most cases. He has also said he does not want juveniles to be tried as adults.

Most recently, the handling of the Anthony Avalos case has drawn criticism after his office dropped the death penalty as a possible sentence for the two charged in his death. According to prosecutors, Anthony’s mother and her boyfriend whipped him with a belt, poured hot sauce on his face and mouth and repeatedly dropped him on his head before he died. They have both pleaded not guilty.

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Additionally, the city councils of 14 cities in L.A. County have passed votes of “no confidence” against the new D.A., including Diamond Bar, Azusa and Santa Fe Springs just this week.

But Maxwell Szabo, a spokesperson for Gascón’s political campaign, said the election showed people wanted change — a change, he said, Gascón was delivering.

“Surveys repeatedly show that majority of survivors of violent crime in L.A. County support policies that favor rehabilitation over simply more incarceration,” he said. “And I just don’t believe, frankly, the fact that this group is supposedly victim-led. There are a number of victims who are supporting the recall effort, but really it’s being led by a small number of, you know, conservative politicians in Los Angeles County.”

The effort is being supported by Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and former District Attorney Steve Cooley among others.

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If successful, an election would be held sometime next year.