Revolt at LADA Training

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office will occasionally do a training on Saturday for its prosecutors. Since the election of George Gascón, topics have been on cultural rather than legal issues, such as Racial Justice and Transgender Awareness. This Saturday, even though LADA has 800 of the countries best prosecutors, Gascón brought in an outside person to train on opening statements and closing arguments. This was a particularly fraught time for the office, since the last Saturday seminar involved a lengthy and pointed question about the district attorney’s political policies which was censored out of a subsequent broadcast. That censored comment was by celebrated cold-case prosecutor John Lewin. This Saturday, Lewin’s skepticism broke out into an all out revolt.

The revolt took place in an online comment box. It started out gently at first, as prosecutors began to realize that they had more expertise than the trainer hired by the office.

The question was not answered live.

Bafflement over the rudimentary nature of the training and the speaker’s lack of experience continued.

This question was not answered live. Then John Lewin weighed in. He is a famous name in legal circles for convicting real estate tycoon Robert Durst of murder, after other agencies tried and failed for many years. He was the longest serving member of the office’s Major Crimes division. He’s media savvy, occasionally appearing on AM talk radio, and was the subject of an LA magazine cover story. When Gascon came to office, he busted Lewin out of Majors and sent him to Inglewood to file low level felonies. This was widely viewed as retaliation for Lewin’s outspoken criticism of the DA’s weakness towards violent criminals.

Lewin is referring to a recently 1.5 million dollar jury verdict awarded to Shawn Randolph, the former head of LADA’s Juvenile Division. The jury found that Gascón illegally retaliated against Randolph after she warned him that his policies were illegal and required prosecutors to lie in court. These are not private opinions or political statements, these are findings of fact by an impartial jury.

The presenter bumbled on, ignoring Lewin and giving advice about how to argue gang cases, apparently unaware that Gascón banned the filing of gang cases.

This question was not answered live.

This is true. Gascón’s special directives instruct his prosecutors to use the term “justice-involved individual.” The audience had apparently had enough. Political comments continued.

Members of the administration, or maybe one of the 2.5% of prosecutors that support Gascón, weighed in with this:

It is hard to tell if this is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that the “several years” the presenter had been working were much fewer than the years of experience in the audience. Prosecutors passed over that point and responded:

Lewin also weighed in.

By the end of the training, Gascón (who has never tried a case) hadn’t won himself any friends.

This question was not answered live.

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