December 8, 2020, marked a historic day for the criminal justice system in Los Angeles County. New District Attorney of LA County George Gascon issued several directives that have dramatically changed sentencing guidelines.
Individuals convicted of a crime in Los Angeles County now can petition the court for a reduced sentence or an immediate release from incarceration. Suspects held on bail in a county jail might qualify for release on their own recognizance as well.
According to District Attorney Gascon, the objective of the new resentencing guidelines is to keep as many people out of prison as possible. His election victory indicates a new commitment by Los Angeles County to rehabilitate rather than punish criminal offenders.
Why the District Attorney Issued the Resentencing Directive
The new resentencing guidelines issued by the District Attorney’s directives replace similar sections of Chapter 13 and Chapter 17 of the Legal Policies Manual. Gascon said the new resentencing guidelines go into effect immediately for all units, offices, and attorneys in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The District Attorney expects the new resentencing guidelines to evolve to ensure proper implementation.
A key section in the special directive presents the reasons why the District Attorney issued the new resentencing guidelines:
“Justice demands that the thousands of people currently serving prison terms imposed in Los Angeles County under earlier, outdated policies, are also entitled to the benefit of these new policies. Many of these people have been incarcerated for decades or are serving a “virtual life sentence” designed to imprison them for life. The vast majority of incarcerated people are members of groups long disadvantaged under earlier systems of justice: Black people, people of color, young people, people who suffer from mental illness, and people who are poor. While resentencing alone cannot correct all inequities inherent in our system of justice, it should at least be consistent with policies designed to remedy those inequities.”
How the New Resentencing Process Works
Defendants convicted of a crime in Los Angeles County should speak with a California-licensed criminal defense lawyer to determine whether they qualify for a reduced sentence or an immediate release from jail or prison. If a criminal defense attorney determines a client is eligible for resentencing, the attorney files a motion with the court to place the resentencing request on the court’s calendar.
After filing a motion for resentencing, the attorney contacts the deputy district attorney in charge of prosecuting the case. The criminal defense lawyer then presents convincing evidence demonstrating the defendant deserves either a reduced sentence or given an early release from county jail or state prison. If the criminal defense attorney and the deputy district attorney agree to resentencing, the judge overseeing the case should approve the defense attorney’s motion for resentencing.
It is important to note that not every defendant will receive approval for a resentencing motion.
The Importance of Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney Resentencing
The special directive issued by the District Attorney’s Office of Los Angeles County states that prosecutors will immediately start reviewing cases to get qualified defendants released early or reduced sentences. However, the process might take years to complete, which means defendants that work with a criminal defense lawyer have a much better chance of having their resentencing cases moved up to the front of the court docket.
A criminal defense lawyer also has a thorough understanding of the special directive guidelines, especially when it comes to the new guidelines for resentencing. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer gives you access to the deputy district attorney who handles your case.
Be proactive today by contacting criminal defense attorney Patrick Aguirre to handle your resentencing motion. You can reach our office by calling toll-free at 800-572-1253 or by calling 562-904-4337. We also provide a Contact form on our website.