LA’s D.A. Steve Cooley and SF’s D.A. George Gascon Square Off About Realignment, 3- Strikes Reform, & the Death PenalityAugust 24th, 2012 by Celeste Fremon
Today, Friday, KQED together with the Center for Investigative Reporting wraps up their excellent and informative week-long series called PRISON BREAK that is all about realignment and the changing face of California’s criminal justice system .
The half hour segment that will air tonight at 7:30 pm, is in two parts. The first part is an remarkably detailed overview of the issue—reported by my friend Michael Montgomery—that will give you a clear idea of what realignment is all about, what challenges and opportunities it presents, and the myriad ways it could affect the health and well being of our state and of our individual counties.
The second half of Friday’s program features twinned interviews with the District Attorneys from California’s two most populous cities—LA’s Steve Cooley and San Francisco’s George Gascon. (It should be noted that, as the former Assistant Chief and head of operations of the LAPD, under Bill Bratton, Gascon knows LA pretty well too.)
As they are questioned by KQED’s Scott Shafer, Cooley and Gascon and square off over the value—or lack thereof—of realignment—and come down on two very different sides of the question.
Cooley displays the most law-and-order side to his personality as he portrays realignment as an unfolding disaster.
In contrast, Gascon comes across as a man with a more nuanced view of the future of criminal justice, and a broader grasp of the possibilities that realignment presents.
And finally, the videos at the top of this post are extra two clips from the outtakes of Friday night’s show in which Cooley and Gascon agree about the proposed 3-Strikes reform, Prop. 36, and then disagree mightily on the topic of the death penalty, and Prop. 34, the ballot measure that would end the death penalty and replace it with life without parole.