Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey knows the heat is on. Facing a credible and worthy challenger in former San Francisco DA George Gascón, Lacey is not only becoming more accessible to the community but also changing her tune on key cases she is directly involved with.
Lacey made a surprise appearance at a recent democratic clubs membership meeting, prompting the audience to scream at her about her handling of the Ed Buck case.
Now she is reversing on a decision to dismantle deportation protections for immigrants found with canabis which legal advocates welcome.
Kate Chatfield, Senior Advisor for Legislation and Policy at The Justice Collaborative shared her thoughts on Lacey’s latest move with 2UrbanGirls.
In 2016, the California Legislature and Governor Brown enacted legislation to protect immigrants who had low-level convictions (mostly for marijuana) from deportation. In 2019, Jackie Lacey’s office tried to get this legislation overturned. This would have led to hundreds if not thousands of deportations. Once immigrant rights lawyers and the press got wind of it and started inquiring — five months before Lacey faces her first real challenger in an election — her office stunningly reversed course and withdrew their challenge. Similarly, Lacey’s office challenged SB 1437, a popular reform to the old felony murder rule that provided relief to people who have been in prison for decades for murders they did not commit. When Attorney General Xavier Becerra publicly announced his support for the legislation and tweeted to his followers that he was proud to back it, Lacey’s office silently reversed course in that case as well. The fact that Lacey has now backed away from two unpopular moves — but only after public pressure —seems like an admission that her office wasn’t acting in the public interest in the first place.
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