The First Lawsuit
The Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County (ADDA) filed a lawsuit on December 30, 2020 to stop several illegal policies put out by newly-elected district attorney George Gascon. The Superior Court agreed with the ADDA and filed a temporary injunction on February 8, 2021. Gascon appealed on March 19, 2021. He filed his opening brief on August 17, 2021. The ADDA responded on November 16, 2021. Briefing was completed when Gascon filed a reply on December 6, 2021.
There were two amicus curiae briefs. The first was from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. The second was written by Erwin Chemerinsky, law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, writing on behalf of 67 other progressive prosecutors. The ADDA responded on January 3, 2022.
As of today, the parties are awaiting a decision by the Second District Court of Appeal.
The Second Lawsuit
On October 14, 2021, the ADDA sought an injunction in Superior Court to prevent District Attorney George Gascon from appointing ineligible political supporters to civil service protected positions in the District Attorney’s Office. Specifically, Gascon appointed former public defenders:
- Alisa Blair;
- Tiffiny Blacknell; and
- Shelan Joseph.
He did this outside of the merit system created by the County Charter to root out political bias in hiring and promotion. None of these public defenders had taken or passed the test required for promotion, nor did they have the required experience as a prosecutor. There were 53 candidates who had followed the rules and had been certified as eligible under the County Charter. All 53 were passed over. The ADDA also appealed before the Civil Service Commission.
On November 8, 2021, a judge denied the ADDA’s request for a preliminary injunction. He held that the appeal before the Civil Service Commission should be completed before an injunction issued. A day before the court denied the request, Gascon promoted 53 internal candidates. Lawyers said this appeared to be an attempt to moot the lawsuit and the Civil Service proceedings. The parties held a trial setting conference on December 3, 2021, which was continued. Then, Gascon filed a Motion for Stay of Proceedings on December 21, which the ADDA opposed on January 3, 2022. Briefing was completed with Gascon ‘s reply on January 7th. The Court heard the motion on January 14, 2022 and denied it. That same day, the court continued a trial setting conference for a second time.
The next hearing is another trial setting conference on April 20, 2022.