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Another prosecutor defies DA Gascón, sues for retaliation over demotion – Daily Bulletin

Another veteran prosecutor has joined the growing ranks of those suing the Los Angeles County, claiming revenge for overturning the controversial sentencing directives of District Attorney George Gascón.

In a lawsuit filed last week, Deputy District Attorney Michael K. Matoba alleges he was transferred in October 2021 from a high-profile post in the Sex Crimes Unit to a less prestigious job in the Elder Abuse Unit because he informed the court that Gascon’s blanket policy to exclude charges under special circumstances was illegal.

“The plaintiff was transferred to elder abuse, a position that requires travel across the county, is not coveted and is very unlikely to result in a promotion or promotion,” the lawsuit alleges in the High District Court of Los Angeles. “The plaintiff claims that most, if not all, of his qualified peers with whom he served in line operations at the Sex Crimes Unit have been promoted.”

The Los Angeles County Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the lawsuit. Gregory W. Smith, a lawyer representing Matoba, did not respond to a request for comment.

Gascón has described those who disagree with him as “internal terrorists,” said Eric Siddall, vice president of the Association of District Deputy Prosecutors, which represents about 800 prosecutors.

“From the first day of his administration, he retaliated against those who questioned his orders,” Siddall said. “One incident cost Los Angeles County taxpayers over $ 1 million in damages because the prosecutor simply asked Gascon, ‘Why?’ Unyielding and knowing that the taxpayers would cover up his incompetence, he continued his path of revenge even against those who carry out his orders. Lawsuits are already being piled up. Uesit Taxpayers should be offended by his revenge. ”

2 boys killed

Matoba claims the revenge stems from his involvement in the prosecution of sexually violent predator Kenneth Kasten Rasmuson for the murders of two 6-year-old boys, Jeffrey Vargo of Anaheim Hills and Miguel Antero of Agoura Hills.

Jeffrey was abducted on July 2, 1981, while riding his bicycle near his home in Anaheim Hills. His partially clothed remains were found the next day about 25 miles away at a construction site in the Phillips Ranch neighborhood of Pomona. Forensic officials said he had drowned. In 2015 alone, DNA would lead to Rasmusson’s arrest.

Rasmusson abducted Miguel on April 8, 1986, after he got off a school bus. The boy was stabbed several times and his body was discovered the same day in a bath in an Agoura Hills canyon.

Although Rasmuson was accused of improving the circumstances by making him fit for the death penalty under former LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Gascón was dismissed to dismiss those charges as part of a mandate that prohibits prosecutors from seeking the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. .

According to the lawsuit, the policy was later changed, but not until Matoba complained about its illegality.

Matoba, in line with Gascon’s policy, filed a motion seeking permission from the court to lift the additional sentencing measures for Rasmusson. He also stated in the motion that dismissing the charges for special circumstances “was not in the interest of justice” and that it was illegal.

“Like Gaskon and his chief of staff, Joseph Iniguez“they were aware that the plaintiff and the co-lawyer were the author and submitted the request”, it is stated in the lawsuit.

Alleged false story

Meanwhile, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer, after reading a Southern California News Group report, submitted a request for fight away from Gascon, Rasmusson prosecution in Jeffrey’s murder.

During a hearing to consider the transfer of the case, Iniguez told the court he wished Spitzer had contacted him and then falsely claimed that a plea deal with Rasmusson had been in place for weeks. stated in the lawsuit.

Matoba disputed this claim.

“The plaintiff revealed to the court that the parties had learned of a possible plea agreement just 15 minutes before the hearing, challenging Iniguez’s false narrative in court,” the lawsuit states. “Lawyers are mandated by law and their ethical obligations to be honest with the court.”

Rasmuson ultimately did not claim competition on two counts of murder with the special circumstance of multiple murders and was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

According to the lawsuit, Matoba is seeking compensation for lost wages and pension benefits.

A revolt in the ranks

He joins a growing uprising within the District Prosecutor’s Office which already includes more than one half a dozen prosecutors who have claimed revenge from Gaskoni.

In December 2021, former deputy chief Richard Doyle received a $ 800,000 payment from Los Angeles County after claiming revenge from Gascón ‘for refusing to drop charges against three protesters against police accused of trying to disrupt a train in Compton.

In an April lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Supreme Court, Deputy District Attorneys Peter Cagney, Richard Todd Hicks, Mindy Paige and Karen Thorp allege that Gascón retaliated against them for refusing to comply with his sentencing directives. .

“Each plaintiff either objected or revealed to his supervisors that the laws were being violated if they followed Gascon’s hastily conceived sentencing instructions and that prisoners who posed a serious and dangerous danger to society would be released or would be released. from prison.

“Gascon’s policies effectively required prosecutors to illegally conceal the truth from the courts by misrepresenting many acts of violence and concealing prisoners’ tendency to violence and danger to the community if they are released early from prison, by courts and convicted judges. ”

In addition to opposition from his prosecutors, Gascón is facing growing pressure from voters and politicians in the Los Angeles county.

Organizers of a campaign to oust him say they have collected more than 500,000 of the 566,857 signatures needed by July 6 to put the measure on the ballot.

Moreover, 34 Los Angeles County counties have issued no-confidence votes against Gascon and 98% of his prosecutors support the withdrawal.

Another prosecutor defies DA Gascón, sues for retaliation over demotion – Daily Bulletin Source link Another prosecutor defies DA Gascón, sues for retaliation over demotion – Daily Bulletin

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