Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami said Tuesday that the city’s district attorney, George Gascone, was “pro-criminal [and] anti-victim” because he refused to invoke the death penalty for murder.
Under U.S. law, deputy district attorneys, like Hatami, are appointed and serve under district attorneys such as Gascone.
“Millions of [people from Los Angeles] voted for the death penalty. We now have a district attorney who is pro-criminal, anti-victim, who refuses to follow the law,” Hatami, who is part of a movement to recall Gascone, said to “Fox & Friends.”
Hatami referred specifically to the case of Anthony Avalos, a 10-year-old boy, who was tortured and murdered in 2018. Both defendants were indicted on charges of murder and torture, with the prosecution initially seeking the death penalty. Heather Barron, 29, and Kareem Leiva, 32, pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges, the Los Angeles Times reported. (RELATED: California Prosecutors To Consider Looters’ ‘Needs’ Mandated By District Attorney)
Hatami said the decision to seek the death penalty “was made by a committee through a rigorous process,” which included discussions with the victim’s family.
In Hatami’s view, overriding the decision to move forward with a death penalty communicated to the family members “that you don’t care about them,” which could potentially re-victimize them all over again.
“It’s sad,” Hatami said.
Critics of District Attorney Gascone have not minced words about his decision to proceed with leniency. One went so far as to say the district attorney was “like the Devil.”
Gascone’s office, on the other hand, described the death penalty as a waste of money. They believe putting death on the table for criminals does not deter further crimes from being committed nor does it balance the checkbook for taxpayers. Because of inevitable appeals in the legal process, executions can cost up to $300 million for execution b (RELATED: Los Angeles DA Vows To End Cash Bail, Stop Death Penalty As Citywide Shootings, Murders On The Rise)
“You should never put a price tag on justice, especially when you’re talking about a little child,” Hatami countered, referring to the young victim.
“The death penalty is a deterrent it’s been approved and voted on by many individuals, including here in California and so he’s just wrong.”