Two deputy district attorneys are suing Los Angeles County, alleging they were demoted from their positions as bureau directors for opposing reform directives implemented by District Attorney George Gascon.
Prosecutors Maria Ramirez and Victor Rodriguez brought the lawsuit Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking unspecified damages.
“Both plaintiffs were directors of bureaus and were removed from their positions in retaliation for disclosing violations of law and/or refusing to violate law concerning unlawful practices and policies of … George Gascon and/or other high officials in the Gascon administration,’’ the suit states.
Ramirez is the former director of the Bureau of Specialized Prosecutions and Rodriguez once headed the Bureau of Branch and Area Region II and part of Area Region I. Both were demoted to the position of head deputy, the suit states.
The plaintiffs each have more than 30 years of service in the District Attorney’s Office and aspired to be assistant district attorneys, according to their suit.
When Gascon was sworn into office in December 2020, he implemented a directive that “effectively abolished the ability of prosecutors to file certain crimes against juveniles, if the crime also qualified as a strike,’’ the suit states.
“Ramirez disclosed to District Attorney George Gascon and his immediate staff that his Youth Justice Directive was unlawful … and would cause untruthful charging practices by line prosecutors, violating their ethical obligations when following the directives,’’ the suit states.
Ramirez told Gascon and others in his administration about an “unethical and unlawful disposition of a case through a backroom deal’’ that shortened the life sentence of a murderer to a seven-year prison term, according to the suit.
Ramirez was demoted last Sept. 7 “because of her disclosures and refusals to violate the law,’’ the suit states.
In March 2021, Gascon invited Rodriguez to a meeting to discuss the possible prosecution of officers who were involved in an officer-involved-shooting that ended in the death of two people, the suit states.
“Rodriguez was appalled by the discussion that was taking place since there was insufficient evidence that the officers had committed a crime,’’ the suit states.