Our View | Gascón Chickens Home to Roost

Our View

George Gascón’s policies have come home to roost in the Santa Clarita Valley.

We predicted that the new Los Angeles County district attorney and his policies aimed at “justice reform” would diminish public safety and embolden criminals throughout the county, and even here in the SCV, one of the safest communities in the nation. That prediction is already coming true, in many small ways — and now, one big one.

A week and a half ago, a local mother of three, Michelle Dorsey, was stabbed to death in her home. Homicide investigators from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department reported that Dorsey made a “dying declaration” that it was her estranged ex-husband, James “Matthew” Dorsey, who had stabbed her as their three children slept.

The suspect had driven to town from where he’d been living in the state of Washington. It’s a long drive. He had a lot of time to think about what he’d do when he got here.

Investigators say James Dorsey fled the scene after the stabbing, and he was arrested at the end of a daylong manhunt that culminated in a brief pursuit followed by an hours-long standoff on a remote road near Quartz Hill.

A few days later, the charges were announced. On their face, they seem appropriate: murder, attempted kidnapping, residential burglary, evading police and resisting a law enforcement officer. 

It sounds like a recipe for a life behind bars, doesn’t it?

Yes. But not in George Gascón’s Los Angeles County. 

You see, Gascón believes every criminal deserves a second chance — even the ones who break into the homes of their estranged wives, commit the final act of domestic abuse and kill the mothers of their children.

So, in George Gascón’s Los Angeles County, if convicted, James Dorsey will spend no more than 20 years behind bars. 

At that point, his oldest child would be in his 30’s when Dorsey walks free. 

That’s because George Gascón, as part of his “reform” agenda, has banned prosecutors from pursuing any sentencing enhancements. And, although the death penalty is currently “paused” under Gov. Gavin Newsom, that’s off the table, too, in George Gascón’s Los Angeles County, as he has instructed his prosecutors not to seek the death penalty under any circumstances.

Even without the death penalty, in the Dorsey case, for example, sentencing enhancements could have included murder in commission of a burglary, murder during the course of a kidnapping, and lying in wait.

Those additional charges, plus any possible weapons enhancements, could have resulted in a potential sentence of life without parole, should the 41-year-old be convicted.

Effectively, George Gascón has already cut the sentence in half — or more — before a single witness has been called.

And he’s L.A. County’s chief prosecutor. 

Here’s the additional wrinkle: By eliminating those enhancements, the district attorney has boxed in his own prosecutors.

Every crime suspect, of course, must be presumed innocent until proven guilty.  

Regardless, it’s a fact of life that serious criminal cases often end up in negotiated plea deals. In this case, Gascón has left his prosecutors nowhere to go with any potential negotiations — there are no enhancements that can be used as bargaining chips to secure a guilty plea and avoid a trial. 

When 20 years is the “ceiling” for murdering the mother of your children, in cold blood, with a knife, there’s no reasonable negotiation to be had.

Perhaps that’s our mistake: Expecting to be able to utter “reasonable” and “Gascón” in the same breath.

Our support for the effort to recall George Gascón remains unwavering. The current L.A. County district attorney is a menace, and a friend to criminals everywhere, including right here in the Santa Clarita Valley. George Gascón is the enemy of every victim of crime in L.A. County, and the Santa Clarita Valley. 

Gascón must go.

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