Q: I have two questions. First, what is the legal basis for the new Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon to take “zero bail” even though Proposition 25 was denied. Have the districts stopped depositing bail now?
A: Proposal 25 to be voted on in November 2020 was intended to replace bail with risk assessments for detained suspects awaiting trial. It was defeated, but the newly elected Los Angeles County attorney supports the no bail concept. Note, however, that Gascon is not the legislature. he cannot change the law. He’s not a Supreme Court judge either, and it’s the judge who sets bail. What Gascon has done so far is to promote a policy whereby prosecutors do not recommend bail in certain cases. I also understand that they may be silent about what the judge will decide and silent when it comes to setting bail. Even so, the reality remains that each county, through the judges, sets its own bail schedule. these will remain in effect from now on.
Q: Gascon is against the death penalty. Is it still the law in California?
-GN, Seal Beach
A: The death penalty is still on the books here in California, but no prisoners have been killed since 2006. The challenges come to court. Governor Gavin Newsom, who is also a longtime opponent of the death penalty, cites racial differences in its use, high costs, and false beliefs as reasons why he imposed a moratorium on the death penalty in 2019. Statistics say the majority of Californians support death it remains to be seen how this will ultimately be resolved.
Q: What does it take to become a prosecutor?
-LK, Los Angeles
A: Research has shown that there are at least two basic requirements to becoming a district attorney: a law degree and passing the California bar exam. From then on, the interview and hiring process is no doubt rigorous and fairly competitive.
Ron Sokol is a Manhattan Beach attorney with over 35 years of experience. His column, which appears in print on Wednesdays, summarizes the law and should not be construed as legal advice. Email questions and comments to [email protected]
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