Attorneys for a veteran prosecutor suing Los Angeles County, alleging she has been denied important positions in retaliation for complaining about directives set forth after the 2020 election of District Attorney George Gascón, can depose Gascón’s chief of staff, a judge ruled Tuesday, Oct. 25.
Deputy District Attorney Shawn Randolph‘s Los Angeles Superior Court retaliation lawsuit, filed in October 2021, states that at the time of Gascón’s election, Randolph was the head prosecutor in charge of the District Attorney’s Office’s Juvenile Division, in which she supervised about 50 lawyers and 50 civilian workers.
In February 2021, Randolph was transferred to the parole division, a “dead-end position for a head deputy,” and denied transfers to head the District Attorney’s branch offices in Torrance and Long Beach Superior Courts even though she was the most qualified applicant for each position, the lawsuit states.
On Oct. 3, county lawyers filed motions asking Judge Terry A. Green to deny efforts by Randolph’s attorneys to depose Gascón and his chief of staff, Joseph Iniguez. The county attorneys stated that both men are top-level executives and agency heads known as “apex” witnesses who are not subject to depositions absent compelling reasons. The lawyers further argued that Randolph can get the same information from other people. Green ruled Tuesday that Iniquez can be deposed, but he delayed until Dec. 5 a decision on whether Gascón will have to sit for a deposition.
According to the county lawyers, Randolph’s attorneys should not be permitted to depose Gascón because she does not allege that she complained to Gascón, nor does she claim that he was directly involved in her retaliation allegations. The county attorneys made the same basic argument regarding Iniguez’s proposed deposition, maintaining that because Randolph alleges that she reported her complaints to her immediate supervisors, the information she seeks can be obtained from them as well as through written discovery instead of the “duplicative and harassing” questioning of Gascón and Iniguez.
According to Randolph’s suit, upon being sworn into office on Dec. 7, 2020, Gascón released numerous directives, including a policy that, among other things, mandated that Randolph use alternative theories of prosecution that minimized a juvenile’s criminal conduct, no matter how violent the offenses.
“In essence, plaintiff was directed not to file strike offenses against juveniles and this directive creates a false and misleading description to the court of the crimes that were actually committed,” the suit states.
If a 16- or 17-year-old juvenile robbed a victim by putting a gun to the victim’s head, Randolph could not prosecute the juvenile for robbery because that is a strike offense, the suit states. Randolph was directed to instead file against the juvenile for a lesser crime such as assault by using force that is likely to cause great bodily injury, according to the suit. The ability of a prosecutor to file a strike offense such as robbery has a deterrent effect because if the juvenile commits another serious or violent felony as an adult, his or her sentence can be doubled, the suit states.
The directive also mandated that Randolph could not file any enhancements for egregious violent conduct, according to the suit. Randolph repeatedly disclosed to her superiors that juvenile petitions made under Gascón’s policy were not truthful and that filing such petitions before a court violates the ethical and statutory duties of a prosecutor, the suit states.
Randolph additionally complained that under Gascón’s directive, violent juvenile murderers could not be tried as adults and that Gascón violated the law by refusing to permit the victims’ family any input into the decision not to try them as adults, the suit states.
11 comments for "Veteran LA County DA granted deposition of Gascón chief of staff"
AV’er in Idaho says
Tim Scott…. The Los Angeles County Public Defender is a law office established and funded by the County of Los Angeles. The functions of the office are defined by the county charter and by California state law. It is not part of the DA’s office, or the tooth fairy.
Tim Scott says
Wow. Learn something new every day. I thought they were branches of the same office. Obviously with different functions, but all “county lawyers” under management of the top county lawyer. I stand corrected.
No Caps Lock says
that is a weird way to try to change policy.
the strategy will not work
imagine if a private industry/company employee tried the same tactic
LA County taxpayers will likely pay some kind of settlement to make this LADA drone go away.
that’s what is sad
these people (attorneys of all stripe) are utilizing the law and the practical finance of justice against taxpayer for their own gain – political, economic, tactical
it is a ludicrous development in a country where law is supposed to be a noble profession
Gascon has played a big part in the crime in la county by not trying juvinlies as adults and letting criminals go free
Tim Scott says
That’s an interesting assertion. Can you back that up with measurable facts?
Step one: provide evidence of this “letting criminals go free” claim. I’ve seen that one a lot. In a lot of places that I have seen it it was just a wild blaming out of the blue, for example in the case of a guy who was released because a judge overturned his conviction someone out of the blue will say “Gascon did it.” That’s not the kind of ‘evidence’ I’m interested in.
Step two: document just how much “not trying juveniles as adults” has actually happened. I know that his criteria for when to try them as adults is tighter than the DAs office was accustomed to, but there never was an “always try them as adults” policy, and there isn’t currently a “never try them as adults” policy. The vast majority of juveniles that are not being tried as adults under current policy would not have been previously either. To back up your “big part” claim, do tell us just how many cases this policy change actually affects.
Step three: Provide a documented comparison of “crime in LA county” over time. I mean, if crime is up 5% that means that 95% of the crime is presumably the result of whatever was causing it before, and that’s certainly not Gascon’s policies, so for him to be a “big part” I would expect that crime must be up, what, a third? That would make these policies at least possibly responsible for a quarter of current crime, which might qualify as “a big part.”
Step four: Provide plausible links from these policies to the actual increases in crime rates that you have documented. And really they need to be more than plausible, more like probable. Because there are already a whole lot of other plausible explanations for increases in crime. Scandalous law enforcement organizations losing the respect of the governed is one. Increases in the homeless population and increases in the desperation of their circumstances as aid is cut off is another. Demonstrable “benefits of lawless behavior” being displayed by highly placed government officials over the past several years is another. The list is long.
Now, this seems like a lot of work on your part. Alternately, you can just admit that you were spewing nonsense out your butt that you have no intention to back up. That would be fine.
Zoila Glaz says
TimScott you pathetic POS
Tim Scott says
LOL…wow, is that the first thought you’ve had that was so deep you wanted it immortalized on the internet?
That’s more then probable.
Sir Francis Galton says
once again, there is a singular instance held up as representative by a LADA goon.
fyi, public defenders are also part of the DA office, but they have little to say about the policies…why?
to hold a single example as representative is a violation of basic statistics
but that does not matter in a polemic
all that matters is the hyperbolic rhetoric meant to inflame passions, cause outrage, then result in angry divisiveness
it is stoking unAmerican behavior, and it is wrong
Public Defenders are MOST DEFINITELY NOT part of the D.A.’s Office. They represent opposing parties in a criminal case.
Tim Scott says
Who do you think they work for, the tooth fairy?