Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon has sparked outrage for pushing a bill seeking lighter sentences for gun criminals, just hours after Clarence Avant’s wife was fatally shot during a home invasion in the crime-ridden city.
The murder of the famed producer’s 81-year-old philanthropist wife, Jacqueline Avant inside her $7 million Beverly Hills home on December 1 is part of a recent string of smash-and-grab robberies plaguing Southern California.
Merely hours after Avant’s death, Gascon, who has been criticized for being ‘soft on crime‘ and supporting the zero-bail policy, sent a fundraising email to promote a bill removing extra prison time for using a gun during a crime.
‘If you don’t have time to read it, here’s a quick ask: we’re just weeks away from our $75,000 End-of-Year goal and we’ve still got 20% left to rise. Can you chip in a donation today to fund our community outreach efforts?’ the email read, according to The Washington Examiner.
It continued: ‘More than 80 percent of people serving time in California state prisons have had sentence enhancements applied to their time served…sentence enhancements have never been shown to reduce the rate of crime, and excessive sentence enhancements can actually drive up reoffense.’
Merely hours after Jacqueline Avant’s death, Gascon, who has been criticized for being ‘soft on crime’ and supporting the zero-bail policy, sent a fundraising email to promote a bill removing extra prison time for using a gun during a crime
The email, with a subject that said ‘We’ve got to reform outdated sentence enhancement policies,’ was branded ‘tone-deaf’ by Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
‘I don’t think you can begin to explain this one,’ Villanueva told the Examiner.
‘That is amazing but not surprising at the same time. He is trying to nullify the legislative intent, and he is undermining the entire system and not reforming it.’
When charging the suspect of Avant’s murder, Aariel Maynor, Gascon skipped gun enhancement that would add 25 years to his sentence, filing minor gun charges that carry less time instead.
The murder of Clarence Avant’s 81-year-old philanthropist wife, Jacqueline inside her $7 million Beverly Hills home on December 1 is part of a recent string of smash-and-grab robberies plaguing Southern California
‘If you don’t have time to read it, here’s a quick ask: we’re just weeks away from our $75,000 End-of-Year goal and we’ve still got 20% left to rise. Can you chip in a donation today to fund our community outreach efforts?’ the email read
Maynor, 29, was arraigned on Tuesday. Avant was killed while her 90 year-old husband, legendary music producer Clarence Avant, was at home but was not injured.
Maynor, who has a lengthy criminal record, is also charged with the attempted murder of the Avants’ security guard, whom he allegedly shot at during the December 1 robbery but did not wound.
‘Mrs. Avant was a treasured member of our community. Her generosity and goodwill touched so many lives,’ Gascon said in a news release.
Gascon has advocated against sentence enhancements for using a gun, belonging to a gang, and causing great bodily injury.
Prosecutor Eric Siddall was among those infuriated by the timing of Gascon’s fundraising email.
‘After a year of record homicides, smash-and-grab robberies and the day of the callous murder of an 81-year-old woman in her own home, George Gascon sent a letter to his supporters asking for money to further his efforts to eliminate our ability to prosecute crime and protect the public,’ he told the Washington Examiner.
Siddall is the vice president of Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, an organization representing roughly 1,000 Los Angeles County prosecutors.
Siddall told FOX on Monday that Gascon had ‘created an atmosphere devoid of accountability,’ as organized groups of thieves continue to terrorize LA, brazenly looting retail stores for thousands of dollars-worth of goods, often in front of customers and staff.
‘Reckless, feckless, crass are some of the more charitable words that come to mind,’ Siddall said about Gascon’s email.
When charging the suspect of Avant’s murder, Aariel Maynor, Gascon skipped gun enhancement that would add 25 years to his sentence, filing minor gun charges that carry less time instead
Shocking photos obtained by DailyMail.com show the sliding glass door that was smashed by home invader who killed the wife of legendary music executive Clarence Avant
Gascon has faced rampant criticism since assuming office last year over his progressive policies – such as allowing suspects to go free as they await their day in court.
The message went on to say that sentence enhancements have disproportionately impacted sentencing for people of color.
Gascon, one of many ‘woke’ DAs bankrolled by billionaire Democrat donor George Soros, has survived one recall effort and faces another that was launched Monday.
Gascon’s silence in the face of the lawlessness has only infuriated his critics.
Last week, LA police arrested 14 suspects alleged to have been involved in 11 recent smash-and-grab robberies at stores last month, where nearly $340,000 worth of merchandise was stolen in strikes on an LA Nordstrom, a Lululemon in Studio City, a Fairfax district store, and a CVS pharmacy in South LA.
Eric Siddall of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys slammed LA DA George Gascon Monday for his silence on the recent string of smash-and-grab robberies
However, due to city’s zero-bail policies, the suspects were all released within hours of being handcuffed and are currently walking the streets while they wait for their cases to go to court.
‘If you look at the 14 people arrested, they could have been charged, there could have been bail amounts set, but none of that was done because the district attorney refuses to take a leadership position on this issue,’ Eric Siddall told Fox, slamming Gascon office’s do-nothing approach to the rampant crime wave currently afflicting cities all across the Golden State.
In a statement sent to the outlet Monday, Gascon’s office said that it was looking into the suspects’ cases with LAPD officials and ‘will hold those responsible accountable.’
A map shows the locations of some of the major smash-and-grab robberies that have recently taken place in Southern California
‘Our Organized Crime and Cyber Crime Divisions are involved because often many of these cases can be interconnected and part of these crimes happens online,’ an adviser to the prosecutor, Alex Bastian, asserted in the statement.
‘These brazen acts hurt all of us; retailers, employees and customers alike. We will hold those responsible accountable.’
Billionaire donor George Soros has been quietly pumping millions into the campaigns of Democratic District Attorneys across the country – including Gascon
Policies raising criticism are tied to Soros’ effort to overhaul the criminal justice system by giving millions to a network of woke prosecutors in Democratic races.
Gascon raked in more than $2.5 million last year from the Hungarian-American financier, who boasts a reported net worth of $8.6 billion and is most known for giving to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Soros has also donated to the campaign of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner to the tune of $1.7 million.
In 2016, Soros pumped $3million into seven local district-attorney campaigns, including races in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas.
Los Angeles police say at least 20 people used sledgehammers to break the glass at a Nordstrom on November 22 and ransack its shelves before fleeing. Fourteen suspects were arrested last week in connection to the brazen heist, but have since been released
In May, Gascon’s opponents organized a recall effort to oust him from office.
However, despite garnering more than 200,000 signatures from LA citizens in a matter of months, the campaign fell short in October, failing to amass the needed 580,000 LA County voters needed to remove Gascon.
The recent rash of ‘flash mob’-style robberies have only made matters worse for Gascon, with a second recall effort launched against the DA on Monday.
The renewed recall attempt looks to have been spurred by the string of smash-and-grab attacks, which have seen a variety of high-end retailers in the city relentlessly ransacked in recent months.
This year alone, through November 27, there were 7,542 robberies in Los Angeles, LAPD’s most recent data, as compared to 7,258 last year – a 3.9 per cent increase.
There were 7,542 robberies in Los Angeles this year through November 27, the LAPD’s most recent data indicate, which represents a 3.9 per cent increase from last year
Among the latest of the brazen of robberies in LA was a pair or robbers who cornered a mother with her baby on the driveway of her mansion as she waited for its electronic gates to close on Sunday.
The Los Angeles Police Department, which shared footage of the crime on Twitter, is asking for help finding the suspects who robbed the mother in broad daylight.
The unidentified woman is seen in the video walking into her driveway with her infant in a stroller.
The two robbers walk past the home, then turn around and walk inside before the electronic gates could close.
They then back the woman against the wall of her property, take a diaper bag off her back and grab a cooler from inside her stroller before fleeing in a car parked outside.
‘Fearing for her and her child’s safety, the victim complied’ with the thieves demands that she hand over her belongings, the LAPD wrote in its Twitter post.’
Among the latest of the brazen of robberies in LA includes a pair or robbers who cornered a mother with her baby on the driveway of her mansion as she waited for its electronic gates to close on Sunday
The attack came after, legendary music executive Clarence Avant’s wife of 54 years, Jacqueline Avant, was killed last Tuesday by a gunman in what police fear may have been a home invasion at their $7 million mansion in Beverly Hills.
Shocking photos obtained by DailyMail.com show the musician’s decimated sliding glass doors, though police pointedly declined to confirm that robbery was the suspected motive, saying all possibilities are under consideration.
Law enforcement sources told the LA Times that at least one burglar made it into the mansion before Jacqueline was killed.
Aariel Maynor, 29, a career criminal, was arrested on Wednesday for the murder.
On November 26, Black Friday, LA looters ransacked a Home Depot, taking a slew of tools such as crowbars, mallets and sledgehammers that LAPD officials say will likely be used in future heists. Thieves also busted into a Bottega Veneta store.
A suspect wields a hammer during a jewelry store robbery in Los Angeles in November
On November 22, about two dozen robbers smashed their way into an LA Nordstrom, making off with $5,000 worth of merchandise. A CVS pharmacy in the city was struck just an hour later, where looters stole $8,000 from a cash register. Police said that the 14 arrests made last week were in connection to these attacks.
Two days later, police in Palo Alto announced that two women had been arrested in connection with an attempt to steal items from the RealReal clothing boutique downtown.
At the time, cops detailed how 30 to 40 people arrived in some 20 cars and tried to break down the glass front door but it held. A security guard then reported the effort via a 911 call, which spurred the crowd to flee as police started to arrive.
The suspects were subsequently stopped in a car near the scene, where police said they found at least $15,000 in clothes from a second RealReal location that was burglarized in Larkspur earlier that night.
In another incident later that day, five more people pleaded not guilty to felony charges involving thefts – this time in San Francisco.
Nine people were initially charged in the string of attacks on San Francisco stores such Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Bloomingdale’s in the city’s downtown area and in Union Square – a posh shopping district popular with tourists that was teeming with holiday shoppers.
Aside from the organized crime rings, the growing problem has been attributed to police officers’ apparent reluctance to pursue such criminals in the current political climate, prosecutors’ failure to prioritize larceny and theft, and the decriminalization of low-level offenses in some jurisdictions.
Two weeks ago, the San Francisco Bay Area saw a relentless string of audacious ‘smash-and-grab’ robberies, including an incident involving a gaggle of hammer-wielding masked bandits who ransacked jewelry, sunglasses and clothing stores at the Southland Mall in the San Jose suburb of Hayward on November 21.
That same evening, packs of thieves ransacked a sunglasses store and a Lululemon store in San Jose, stealing nearly $50,000 in merchandise – an incident also related to the recent arrests made by LAPD.
The day prior, on November 20, police said as many as 80 suspects, some wearing ski masks and carrying crowbars, targeted a Nordstrom in the San Francisco suburb of Walnut Creek, assaulting employees and stealing merchandise before fleeing in waiting cars, police and witnesses said.
Another incident, on November 19, saw roving bands of thieves brandishing hammers and crowbars hit a string of high-end retailers, including Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Bloomingdales, as well as a Walgreens pharmacy and several marijuana dispensaries, in the vicinity of Union Square in San Francisco, a high-end area popular with tourist that was crowded with holiday shoppers.
California’s Proposition 47 – lighter sentences for thieves
Proposition 47 was passed by California voters on November 5, 2014.
It made some ‘non-violent’ property crimes, where the value of the stolen goods does not exceed $950, into misdemeanors.
It also made some ‘simple’ drug possession offenses into misdemeanors, and allows past convictions for these charges to be reduced to a misdemeanor by a court.
Under California law, though, if two or more person’s conspire to ‘cheat and defraud any person or any property, by any means which are in themselves criminal’ they can face no more than one year in county prison, a fine of $10,000 or a combination of the two.
Similar strikes have been reported in other parts of the country as well, in fellow crime-ridden metropolises like Chicago and New York.
Both Los Angeles and San Francisco recently placed in the top 10 for the National Retail Federation’s list of cities most impacted by organized retail theft – with LA earning the dubious honor of the top spot. Southern California cities San Francisco and Sacramento each took the 8 and 9 spots, respectively.
The zero-bail strategy currently employed by Gascon’s office – a policy that was statewide until last year but kept in place within the LA County Superior Court system – was initially intended to reduce the city’s jail populations, as The City of Angels grappled with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore said Monday that the effort is ill-founded.
‘There are individuals in communities that look at that as a lack of consequences, a lack of deterrence and open season in which to go and commit these types of crimes,’ LA’s top cop told KNX Radio on Monday.
‘The crisis during COVID, while well-intended, the impact it had on the criminal justice system was significant and severe that it’s developing another crisis in public safety. We have an offender base that commits and are willing to commit serious and violent crimes and we need to make sure the criminal justice system acts as a deterrent.’
Officials in San Jose and Santa Clara County slammed zero-bail last week when two suspects allegedly involved in a Halloween murder were freed to await trial outside of jail walls.
Another case in Los Angeles County resulted in a car-theft suspect being arrested 13 times over 12 weeks.
Others blame the voter-approved measure Proposition 47 -passed by California voters on November 5, 2014 – which reclassified felony thefts cases under $950 to misdemeanors.
Siddall, however, disagrees, and said Monday that Gascon bears sole responsibility for the dangerous phenomenon.
‘We didn’t have these flash mobs for many, many years,’ Siddall said. ‘You really cannot blame Prop 47. When people are engaged in a conspiracy to commit larceny, that becomes a felony. You can’t say that the law is weak on these issues. You can’t say that the judiciary is weak on these issues.’