Deputy DA criticizes his new boss George Gascon: 'They are sending people to court to monitor what we say'

Yesterday I wrote about some of the impacts incoming District Attorney George Gascon was having on specific cases in LA County. Gascon’s decision to drop all special enhancements from prosecutions means some seriously violent people will likely be getting more lenient sentences. For instance, Gascon is attempting to have enhancements dropped from the case of an accused double murderer who allegedly shot one person at random in the street and then, about an hour later, executed an off-duty police deputy by shooting him the back of the head.

In another case, a man accused of a third DUI allegedly killed a passenger in another vehicle. Gascon is also trying to remove the special circumstances against that driver which will put him back on the street sooner.

Last night one of Gascon’s own Deputy DA’s criticized what he sees taking place. DDA Jon Hatami often prosecutes child abusers. In 2017 he was the lead prosecutor in a high profile case in which a woman and her live in boyfriend tortured and eventually murdered her son Gabriel Fernandez. A documentary about the case is available on Netflix. The abuse that Fernandez suffered was horrific and involved repeated beatings which eventually left him brain dead. His mother was sentenced to life in prison and the boyfriend was sentenced to the death penalty. Hatami doesn’t understand why Gascon would want to undo that.

“A lot of DDAs (deputy district attorneys) are really scared,” said Hatami. “They are sending people to court to monitor what we say. They are working with the public defenders and alternate public defenders to intimidate us and document what we do and what we say.”

He’s not imagining that. Gascon’s office is apparently reprimanding DDA’s for having it noted in court that they are dropping sentencing enhancements in line with Gascon’s new order but against their own better judgment. DDA Hatami was emotional as he talked about how this impacts his own cases:

“I just don’t understand why we’re not trying to prosecute child murderers to the fullest extent of the law,” Hatami said…

“I believe that there needs to be some reforms, however, those reforms need to be based upon the law,” said Hatami. “They also need to be based upon the protection of the public. They need to be based upon the protection of children. They need to be based upon the facts of each case.”

Hatami is clearly worried about losing his job for publicly criticizing the DA, but said “Unless they run me out of here or they take away all my cases, I’m not going anywhere. And I’m going to fight for all the kids.”

ABC 7 reports a group of LA’s nearly 800 Deputy DA’s are considering filing a state bar report against their boss but no other Deputy DAs were willing to go on camera for fear of professional repercussions. Here’s ABC 7’s report:

Finally, last night Tucker Carlson devoted a big part of his show to what Gascon is doing in LA County. Much of this is what I covered in this post yesterday but the 2nd clip includes a new interview with the sister of the murdered police deputy.