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Gascon recall campaign receives court victory


Supporters of the attempt to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón this week obtained an expedited hearing on their efforts to force the county Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk to allow them to review thousands of signatures that were declared invalid in August, thwarting their effort to oust the county’s top prosecutor.

Gascón took office in December 2020 and has been dogged by claims he is soft on crime with various directives, including not seeking the death penalty and a reluctance to try juveniles as adults. California law guarantees proponents of a recall the right to review whether public officials have properly rejected a petition, according to the lawsuit brought Oct. 18 by the Committee to Support the Recall of District Attorney George Gascón.

On Monday, committee attorneys filed papers with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant asking that he set a hearing within two weeks on whether a preliminary injunction should be issued against the Registrar-Recorder. Recall advocates say that until now the Registrar-Recorder’s Office has not been as transparent as promised and that injunctive relief will give them more access and information to conduct their review.

Chalfant did not grant a date within two weeks, instead setting the hearing for Dec. 6.

“The court concludes that the case is not entitled to priority because it is not an election contest and petitioner is not an elector,” a minute order from Tuesday’s hearing stated. “Nonetheless, the case should not languish.” Before Tuesday, the first hearing in the case was not set until Jan. 26.

In their latest court papers, attorneys for the recall proponents said that a meaningful review of the recall petition requires that the requested documents be produced immediately so its members could complete the signature review and bring any necessary challenges quickly.

Dean Logan, the county’s registrar-recorder, determined in August that the effort fell short of meeting the required 566,857 signatures because nearly 90,000 of them were not registered to vote and roughly 45,000 were duplicates.

However, recall proponents are skeptical, with their attorneys stating in court papers, “Nothing corrodes a democracy more than the public’s distrust in the electoral process.”