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ADL Urges New District Attorney Not to Reduce Hate Crime Enhancers

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Los Angeles Regional Director Jeffrey Abrams urged newly sworn-in Los Angeles District Attorney (DA) George Gascón not to reduce enhancers for hate crimes.
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December 17, 2020
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Los Angeles Regional Director Jeffrey Abrams urged newly sworn-in Los Angeles District Attorney (DA) George Gascón not to reduce enhancers for hate crimes. Enhancers, also known as aggravating factors, result in more prison time if new incriminating evidence is uncovered.

Gascón announced on December 7, the day he was sworn into office, a series of new policies, including that he would be getting rid of enhancers across the board. Abrams wrote that the ADL was “concerned” about this and asked Gascón to clarify if the new directive would also apply to hate crimes.

“Since hate violence has a uniquely serious impact on the community, it is entirely appropriate to acknowledge that this form of criminal conduct merits more substantial punishment,” Abrams wrote. He argued that hate crimes require special attention from law enforcement because hate crimes can cause the targeted community to feel “fearful, isolated and vulnerable” and “damage the fabric of our society.”

Abrams acknowledged that in some cases “alternative forms of sentencing” would make sense for certain hate crimes and that mass incarceration is a problem. However, he said the ADL is “concerned that eliminating hate crime enhancements in all cases could send the wrong message, causing further fractures in our community. We believe in this context, a blanket approach is not the wisest.”

 

Gascón defeated incumbent DA Jackie Lacey on November 3 by a margin of 54% to 47%. Among his other new directives as DA include ending cash bail and the death penalty.

The DA’s office did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.

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