Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón Thursday announced the start of a centralized charge evaluation system in an attempt to ensure greater consistency and fairness in filing decisions by county prosecutors.
“We’re centralizing the decision-making process to ensure that the same conduct leads to similar results regardless of where a crime occurs in Los Angeles County,” Gascon said in a written statement. “Consistency in the initial case evaluation and filing is essential to achieving equal justice for all people in our county.”
Centralized filing metrics will be developed and studies will be conducted to measure progress, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Criminal cases in the Antelope Valley, downtown Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, and Van Nuys began being filed using the new centralized system Monday, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Case filings will be centralized by January in the Compton, Pomona, El Monte, West Covina, San Fernando, Santa Clarita, Torrance and Inglewood courthouses, followed by the Airport, Long Beach, Norwalk, Bellflower, Downey, Metropolitan, Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank and Alhambra courthouses around March 1.
Roughly 680 cases a day are presented for filing consideration by law enforcement agencies. Most are reviewed and either filed or declined for criminal prosecution by deputy district attorneys assigned to the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center and branch and area courthouses throughout Los Angeles County. They will continue to work in local courthouses but report to the Head Deputy District Attorney of the Charge Evaluation Division.
Cases submitted for evaluation to specialized units, such as the Family Violence and Community Violence Reduction divisions, will continue to be reviewed for filing consideration by the same deputy district attorneys who handle all aspects of the case from filing to disposition.
Centralized filing metrics will be developed and studies will be conducted to measure progress.