Four more prosecutors are suing Los Angeles County, alleging they were demoted because they opposed the resentencing guidelines of District Attorney George Gascón.
Deputy District Attorneys Peter Cagney, Richard Todd Hicks, Mindy Paige and Karen Thorp brought the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit on Monday, April 25, alleging retaliation and seeking unspecified damages. A representative for the District Attorney’s Office did not immediately reply to a request for comment made after the close of normal business hours.
“Each plaintiff herein was subjected to adverse employment actions because they disclosed that the resentencing guidelines and directions they received from their supervisors were violations of the current state of the law and/or refused to carry out unlawful directives and/or orders given to them by their supervisors,” the lawsuit states.
The four either opposed or disclosed to their supervisors that Gascón’s “hastily conceived new resentencing guidelines” were unlawful and that prison inmates that posed a serious and dangerous risk to society would be or were released from prison, the suit states.
“Gascón’s policies effectively required prosecutors to unlawfully hide the truth from the courts by mischaracterizing many violent offenses and hiding the inmate’s propensity for violence … from the courts,” the suit states.
Cagney was head deputy of the Pomona branch of the District Attorney’s Office until Sept. 7, when he was reassigned to auto insurance fraud, as was Hicks, who was an assistant head deputy assigned to post-conviction and discovery until he was transferred on Dec. 1, the suit states.
Thorp was the assistant head deputy in the Pomona branch before being transferred Sept. 7 to a job filing cases in Long Beach and Paige was a subject matter expert in resentencing protocols until she was moved to a courtroom handling misdemeanor cases on Oct. 4, the suit states.
The four prosecutors have suffered emotional distress and may lose earnings, overtime, their pension and other benefits, according to the suit.
Several other Los Angeles County prosecutors have filed similar lawsuits alleging they suffered backlashes for opposing the various Gascón directives. Their cases are still awaiting trial.