Things That Matter

The DA In Los Angeles Is Only Going For The Death Penalty In Cases Involving Defendants Who Are People Of Color

According to a new report by the ACLU, Los Angeles’ District Attorney is continuing to seek the death penalty despite a state-wide moratorium on capital punishment.

What’s more? She’s only seeking the death penalty against defendants who are black, Latino, or Asian.

The ACLU report was highlighted by news from The Guardian.

Credit: @theappeal / Twitter

Los Angeles has sentenced more people to death than any other county in the US, and only people of color have received the death penalty under the region’s current prosecutor, a new report shows.

LA county’s district attorney, Jackie Lacey, has won death sentences for a total of 22 defendants, all people of color, and eight of them were represented by lawyers with serious misconduct charges prior or after their cases.

Even though there is a moratorium on the death penalty in California, LA’s district attorney is still seeking the death penalty.

Credit: @UdiACLU / Twitter

The District Attorney has also continued to seek the death penalty despite the fact that California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, issued a moratorium on capital punishment, with an executive order officially halting executions in the state.

The governor’s moratorium affects the 737 inmates currently awaiting execution in California, who will not be put to death while Newsom is in office. Lacey, however, is continuing to seek the death penalty, despite the fact that a majority of voters in LA county have twice voted in favor of death penalty repeal measures.

Not only is she seeking the death penalty, but she’s also breaking records.

Credit: @davidminpdx / Twitter

In the last five years, LA produced more death sentences per capita than any large county in Texas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah or Washington – and sent more people to death row than the states of Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia combined.

And out of more than 3,100 counties nationwide, LA was one of only four to have more than one death sentence. Let those numbers sink in.

And it’s usage is highlighting the built-in racism in our criminal justice system.

Credit: @ACLU / Twitter

Lacey began her role as DA in 2012 and since then zero, yes zero, white defendants have been sentenced to death. Yet her capital punishment sentences disproportionately targeted cases involving white victims.

For example, white people only made up 12% of LA’s homicide victims yet 36% of Lacey’s death penalty wins involved white victims.

And perhaps most telling, of the 22 defendants sentenced to death under Lacey, 13 were Latino, eight were black and one was Asian. Zero were white.

Lacey has also faced intense scrutiny for her refusal to prosecute police officers who kill civilians, even in the most damning circumstances.

For her part, the DA says the death penalty has not been abolished by voters and she continues to enforce the law.

In a statement to The Guardian, Lacey said: “As a career prosecutor, I believe the death penalty is the appropriate punishment for some crimes – a serial killer, someone who tortures and kills a young child, the person who rapes and then kills the victim to silence his only witness or someone who kills a police officer trying to do her job safely.”

The people, especially the communities most in danger because of her policies, have had enough.

Credit: @ib_2real / Twitter

Protests and Twitter campaigns have become the norm with nearly weekly marches taking place across Los Angeles demanding further answers from the DA.

Many on Twitter had questions about how she could still be pursuing the death penalty if there was a moratorium.

Credit: @theappeal / Twitter

Same though… Like if you’re governor has basically decreed that the death penalty isn’t in effect while he’s in office, why would you keep pushing for the death penalty?

Other’s on Twitter weren’t so surprised by the disappointing news.

Minority communities have long been targets for increased and unfair prosecutions, arrests, and stricter sentencing. For many this is just business as normal.

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