Header: Dan Kapelovitz for Los Angeles District Attorney 2024

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New news almost every day. Please check back again. New Events on Events page, too, including There are also New Events including a New Candidate Forum Facilitated by the NAACP on Mon, Feb 26.

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DAN’S PLATFORM AND INFO:

  • Dan will ensure equal treatment for all and reject racist policies that fuel mass incarceration.
  • Dan is opposed to the death penalty and unnecessary escalation of bail and sentencing.
  • Dan is the only candidate who fights for indigent defendants every day.
  • Dan is the only candidate who is actually working in the courtrooms all over LA county every day.
  • Dan pledges to reduce crime and end mass incarceration by addressing root causes of crime, such as poverty, drug addiction, and mental illness.
  • Dan is the only candidate endorsed by two parties, the Green Party and the Peace and Freedom Party.
  • Dan wants to create more harmony in the DA’s office, working with the current deputies, giving them raises, and recruiting the best attorneys possible to seek justice, filling the vacant positions.
  • Yes, Dan is an artist. And a very intelligent and compassionate champion for the disenfranchised. And his campaign and platform are very serious! Do not mistake a quick wit for frivolity, LA Times.

Current Articles

Crime Data (Fact-Checked)

    “Crime is trending downward, according to criminologist Jeff Asher. FBI third-quarter national data last year found violent crime fell 8% while property crime fell 6.3% in 2023 compared to 2022, according to Asher. Violent crime nationally has trended downward for at least 30 years according to FBI data.

    Los Angeles Police Department data show violent crime is down 10.8% and property crime is down 18% year to date from two years ago.”

    From LAist.com

    Audio: LA County District Attorney Race: Criminal Defense Attorney Dan Kapelovitz

    by AirTalk with Larry Mantle on 89.3 FM KPCC | Published February 6, 2024 at 8:57 AM PST | click for site

    Audio: Info for Feb 13 Forum & Details about Dan Kapelovitz's Platform

    by Mike Stafford for UnitedChambers.org | click for site

    Easy Reader Logo, Dan K 4 LA DA 2024

    DA candidates united in opposition to incumbent Gascon

    Easy Reader
    NEWS,NEWSLETTER
    ELKA WORNER|FEBRUARY 17, 2024

    Criminal defense attorney Dan Kapelovitz, who was heckled and booed at several of the local forums, said crime was actually down in Los Angeles County under Gascon.

    “You’re not going to believe this, but we are safer today than we were three years ago. Violent crime is down,” he said. “The fearmongers, some of whom are here today, have convinced everyone that crime has gone up.”

    If elected, Kapelovitz said he would maintain some of Gascon’s policies. “Most people don’t think that people should get prison for stealing a candybar, even if they do it three times,” he said. “We should not be trying children as adults,” he added.

    The rest of the article is here. 

    California Globe Header — Dan Kapelovitz for Los Angeles District Attorney 2024

    Los Angeles DA Candidates Low-Key Square-Off

    The event was comparatively polite, with few directly personal barbs fired

    By Thomas Buckley, February 12, 2024 8:45 pm

    Eleven of the twelve declared candidates for Los Angeles District Attorney squared off Monday night in a debate at Los Angeles City College hosted by the League of Woman Voters.

    LA Co. District Attorney George Gascón. (Photo: da.lacounty.gov)

    The event was comparatively polite, with few (if any) directly personal barbs fired despite the presence of current DA George Gascon (the only candidate to not appear was Jon Hatami who was reported as “unavailable.”)

    That’s not to say Gascon escaped criticism — he was attacked from left right and center in fact. Self-described “most progressive candidate” and defense attorney Daniel Kapelovitz said the office has prosecuted “factually innocent” people and very bluntly said “the criminal justice system is racist.”

    The rest of the article is here.

    Los Angeles Times: Dan Kapelovitz for Los Angeles District Attorney 2024

    Your guide to the L.A. County district attorney race: 11 candidates aim to unseat Gascón

    Staff Writter
    FEB. 1, 2024 3 AM PT

    A journalist turned defense attorney, Kapelovitz seems to be the only candidate tacking to Gascón’s left. He said he will further fight to reduce mass incarceration, and has called for even tighter limits on when cases can be filed and when bail can be sought. In an email to The Times, Kapelovitz said he would also bar prosecutors from seeking bail against defendants accused of nonviolent crimes and work to recruit “justice-oriented attorneys who believe in justice reform” to fill vacancies in the office.

    The rest of the article is here.

    laist.com, Dan Kapelovitz for LA DA 2024

    LA County District Attorney

    By  Frank Stoltze

    Published Feb 5, 2024 5:00 AM

     

    There are 11 candidates running against incumbent George Gascón to be L.A. County’s next District Attorney. It’s a powerful and influential role that determines what crimes get prosecuted — and whether certain crimes should be considered felonies or misdemeanors.

    Dan Kapelovitz

    Kapelovitz is a criminal defense attorney. His firm also represents animal rights activists pro bono when they are charged with crimes related to their working to help animals. Previously, he was the features editor of Hustler Magazine.

    Some platform highlights:

    • Says D.A.’s office needs to be progressive to reduce crime, end mass incarceration: “We need to get people into programs to prevent crimes from occurring in the first place,” such as alternative sentencing programs and treatment for people struggling with mental health and drug issues. “Not only will this reduce crime, but it will also help end mass incarceration.”
    • Uniquely positioned: “I’m the only candidate whose practice is dedicated to representing indigent criminal defendants. I already work with prosecutors to try to obtain the most just result. As District Attorney, I know I can work with them to improve the justice system and therefore people’s lives.”
    • Opposes the death penalty, and believes “victimless misdemeanors should not be prosecuted at all… so that a person will not have a conviction on their record. Even a misdemeanor conviction can have harsh consequences in terms of jobs, housing, immigration, and more.”
    • Opposes cash bail: “Bail creates a two-tiered system of justice. People are often coerced into pleading guilty to crimes they didn’t commit just to get out of jail… People who are presumed innocent should not lose their homes and jobs because they cannot afford bail. The children of those accused of crimes should not become homeless or go hungry because a parent is stuck in jail.”

    More voter resources:

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    California Globe Five-Part LA DA Q&A

    California Globe Header — Dan Kapelovitz for Los Angeles District Attorney 2024

    Los Angeles DA Q&A, Part Five: On Victims and Failure

    This is the final installment of a series of questions and answers with the candidates for Los Angeles District Attorney. Thank you for reading and we hope the series has been informative.

    By Thomas Buckley, February 7, 2024

    Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon has not been a friend to victims. As Gavin would say – Period. Full Stop.

    He has barred prosecutors from attending parole hearings, he has been accused of using strong-arm tactics on victims’ families to get them to agree to lower sentences, and he has even berated them in public.

    That criminal good, victim annoying attitude is one of the major reasons Gascon has failed as a district attorney, no matter what the Los Angeles Times says.

    Let’s get to today’s questions: 

    How should the victim of the crime be involved in the prosecution of the offender?

    DAN KAPELOVITZ

    Victims should not be further victimized. I am the only candidate that represents victims and witnesses in criminal cases to ensure that their constitutional rights are not violated. The DA’s office should not have their own victims arrested and held on extremely high bail for missing a single day of court. Gascón’s office does this. Under the California Constitution, victims have the right “to be treated with fairness and respect for his or her privacy and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment, and abuse, throughout the criminal or juvenile justice process.” All too often the current DA and his predecessors violate these rights. However, we must also make sure that attorneys without standing not be allowed to interfere with court proceedings. As for parole hearings, I have no issue with prosecutors attending them, so long as they are there to truly seek justice and be objective.

    The rest of the article is here: https://californiaglobe.com/fr/los-angeles-da-qa-part-five/amp/

    California Globe Header — Dan Kapelovitz for Los Angeles District Attorney 2024

    Los Angeles DA Q&A, Part Three: On Management and Politics

    ‘The District Attorney’s Office must be apolitical’

    By Thomas Buckley, February 4, 2024 9:12 am

    How does one best manage an office of professionals that both acknowledges individual expertise and experience while also ensuring continuity and overall adherence to the mission of the office?

    DAN KAPELOVITZ

    I will assign high positions to the best veteran deputy district attorneys, including a couple of my opponents. They have a wealth of institutional knowledge that I would be a fool to ignore. I’ll also hire people who have unique perspectives. We will make the best decisions possible based on everyone’s input.

    Morale is down. Prosecutors are overworked. I will hire people to fill the hundreds of vacancies. 

    Unlike Gascón, I will immediately meet with my line deputies to outline my plan to truly seek justice. Even as a defense attorney, I probably speak to more deputies each day than Gascón. I am in courthouses all over the County working with prosecutors trying to resolve cases. I’d be surprised if Gascón has even stepped foot in many of them. How can you relate to your line deputies if you’ve never tried a case and rarely, if ever, enter a courtroom?

    Do you believe the District Attorney’s office should be apolitical or should what could be described as an ideology be allowed to impact the actions of the office?  In other words, what philosophical construct will inform your term?

    DAN KAPELOVITZ

    Of course, the District Attorney’s office should be apolitical. That is why it is a nonpartisan position. The office’s decisions should never be based on politics. Everyone, of course, has his or her own philosophy regarding the best way to seek justice. I believe in mine — preventing crime in the first place by addressing the root causes of crime. We know that throwing people in prison for as long as possible does not reduce crime. Let’s truly try something different. Gascón has failed to implement many of his reforms because he has no control of his line deputies. They disregard almost all of his directives. And now he is reversing course on some his policies for political reasons.

    California Globe Header — Dan Kapelovitz for Los Angeles District Attorney 2024

    LA DA Candidates Q&A Part One: Prop. 47 and the Concept of the Misdemeanor

    Prop. 47 played a significant role in creating the degraded state of public safety in California’s cities

    California Globe

    By Thomas Buckley
    January 28, 2024 2:30 am

    As the Globe has done for a number of other important political races in the past, we asked each of the candidates for Los Angeles District Attorney if they wished to take part in a question and answer series on the major issues facing the office.

    Five of the candidates are participating — thank you! — while incumbent George Gascon and five others declined or did not respond.

    We asked ten questions and will be printing — verbatim — the responses over the coming five days, two questions per article.

    The first question couplet involves Prop 47 and misdemeanors. The passage of 47 and the failure to prosecute misdemeanors — often called “quality of life” crimes — have played significant roles in creating the degraded state of public safety in California’s cities.  Smash and grab robberies and rampant shoplifting and increased street drug use and violence are just two of the consequences of these policies.

    Let’s get to the questions!

    Questions about proposition 47 have continued to roil law enforcement circles and the public.  Do you believe there is a direct relationship between its passage and the increase in property crime?  Also, do you believe there is a direct relationship between its passage and increased drug abuse due to its removal of potential penalties?  Would you support its repeal and/or amendment?

    DAN KAPELOVITZ:

    Property crime has risen because fearmongers have misled the public into believing that nothing happens to people who commit those crimes.  Imagine if the fearmongers convinced everyone that the DA will not prosecute anyone who robs a bank.  Bank robberies would obviously increase.

    Gascón is prosecuting theft crimes.  And they are filed as felonies because stealing, say, even one designer bag meets the $950 threshold.

    The “rational criminal” who goes into a store and steals $949 worth of goods is a myth.  One candidate recently claimed she saw videos of people going into stores with calculators to make sure they can’t be charged with a felony. I will donate $10,000 to her campaign if she can produce one such legitimate video.

    As for mere drug possession, it should be decriminalized.  People who are addicted to drugs need treatment — not punishment, and especially not up to three years in prison.

    While the term “misdemeanor” makes them sound minor, misdemeanor crimes clearly have a more direct negative impact on the lives of typical residents than far rarer high-profile crimes.  Would you aggressively prosecute misdemeanors and/or “quality of life” crimes if you are elected District Attorney?

    DAN KAPELOVITZ:

    Being charged with a misdemeanor can be quite serious. Facing a year in jail is serious. Losing your job or not being able to find one due to a misdemeanor conviction is serious. Losing your home because you can’t afford bail and are stuck in jail fighting your case is serious. And if you aren’t a U.S. citizen, having certain misdemeanor convictions is extremely serious. Anyone who thinks that being charged with a misdemeanor and facing months in jail is not serious has likely never been to jail.

    Except for the most serious misdemeanor offenses, I will not oppose diversion programs where the result is no conviction on someone’s record. For most first-time misdemeanor offenders, the process of being charged with a crime is enough to deter future offenses. Moreover, I will not prosecute many misdemeanors at all, such as drug possession, gambling, and crimes involving consensual sex between adults.

    The rest of the article is here.

    California Globe Header — Dan Kapelovitz for Los Angeles District Attorney 2024

    Los Angeles DA Q&A, Part Four: On Strikes and Reform

    ‘The community expects that individuals who commit serious and violent crimes should be punished and removed from society for an appropriate period of time’

    By Thomas Buckley, February 5, 2024

    California has a “three strikes” law.  That should mean that if you do three very bad things you can go to prison for a very long time.

    Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon is a decarcerationist, meaning he really doesn’t think people should be in prison – in fact, his preferred maximum sentence for pretty much anything would be 15 years.

    In other words, he’s not a fan of strikes and has strongly discouraged their use in his office (he got sued for that position and lost.)

    Gascon is also in favor of gun control, except, it seems, for people who use guns to commit crimes as he does not allow the addition of “gun enhancements” to prosecutions.  Go figure.

    Gascon is also a “criminal justice reformer.”  To him that means the system is inherently corrupt and racist and bad and should be practically gutted and re-built(ish.)  But reform can mean something far less insanely dangerous, too.

    Let’s get to today’s questions:

    Will you allow the use of “strikes” and enhancements?

    DAN KAPELOVITZ

    Three Strikes has been a disaster. People – disproportionately nonwhites – spend decades more than necessary to achieve the goals of incarceration. The maximum sentences for crimes are high enough already – and prior convictions have always been considered in terms of plea deals and sentencing. Every case is different, but we also must ensure that people are treated equally.

    Enhancements can more than double a sentence. I had a case where my client rejected an 8-year offer. The maximum sentence without enhancements was 12 years. To punish this African-American man for exercising his right to go to trial, the judge maxed him out and gave him 29 years in prison, where he died from Covid.

    Most enhancement laws were enacted when politicians were fighting to be the most “Law and Order” candidate. People have since wised up, but it takes time for the laws to catch up with reality.

    Criminal justice reform seems to mean different things to different people, though the ideas of systemic race-based inequality and over-incarceration appear to be at the forefront currently. Do you see the justice system as inherently racist and what is your position on incarceration as a tool to promote public safety?

    DAN KAPELOVITZ

    There is no doubt that the “justice” system is inherently racist and discriminates against the poor.

    People in prison are disproportionately people of color. People of color are stopped more often by police, searched more often, arrested more often, charged more often, and given extremely high sentences more often than so-called white people. Defenders of this practice claim that people of color commit more crimes than white people. Even assuming that was true for the sake of argument, doesn’t that say more about society than it does about the people who commit crimes?

    The rest of the article is here.

    California Globe Header — Dan Kapelovitz for Los Angeles District Attorney 2024

    LA DA Candidates Q&A, Part Two: Law Enforcement and the Death Penalty

    Cops simply do not trust Gascon to prosecute people properly when they are arrested

    California Globe

    By Katy Grimes
    January 29, 2024 7:12 am

    This is part two of a continuing series of questions and answers with the candidates for Los Angeles District Attorney.

    When Mayor Karen Bass held a press conference to announce an inter-agency law enforcement task force to tackle the issue of smash and grab robberies, one person was noticeably absent: Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon.

    Exactly how bad does your relationship with the rest of law enforcement have to be to — as the chief prosecutor — not be asked to be a part of such an event? As a former elected official I can tell you: very very very bad.

    Cops simply do not trust Gascon to prosecute people properly when they are arrested, a fact that has led directly to fewer arrests (that’s why Gascon can try to claim crime is down — pretty convenient, huh?)

    As to the death penalty, it is an admittedly sticky ethical issue for some but not only is it state law but attempts to eliminate it entirely have been soundly rejected by California voters — twice.

    Let’s get to today’s questions:

    How has George Gascon harmed the DA’s office relationship with other law enforcement agencies and can it be repaired and, if so, how?

    DAN KAPELOVITZ:

    I already work well with law enforcement, and in fact, treat them with more respect in court than many prosecutors. While I have no police-union financial support, many retired officers who have spent decades in law enforcement have endorsed me.

    Instead of defunding the police, we need to increase funding to pay for more training and to offer higher salaries to recruit the best people. The same goes for our attorneys. We need to compete with corporate law firms and pay competitive salaries so new attorneys will work for us instead of soul-sucking law firms. And we need to be able to hire veteran criminal attorneys from other jurisdictions and offices and from private practice.

    California voters have repeatedly affirmed their support for the death penalty.  Would you ever pursue the death penalty and, if not, why?

    DAN KAPELOVITZ:

    In LA County, where I’m running, the majority of voters in 2016 voted to repeal the death penalty.

    Views have changed since 2016. People are realizing that the death penalty doesn’t work and disproportionately affects nonwhites and the underprivileged. In a 2021 poll, 44% of Californians said they’d vote to eliminate the death penalty, with only 35% supporting it. Additionally, 48% supported Newsom’s executive order to halt executions, while only 33% opposed it.

    I will never seek the death penalty. That people on death row have been exonerated is reason enough to eliminate it. Moreover, it doesn’t deter murder. People committing crimes assume they will not get caught. Otherwise, life in prison would deter them just as much as execution. Eliminating the death penalty would save California countless millions — money that could be used to address the root causes of violent crime. And, of course, killing people is wrong.

    The rest of the article is here.

    January 2024

    In this Aug. 16, 2016, file photo a condemned inmate is led out of his east block cell on death row at San Quentin State Prison, in San Quentin, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

    Where 2024 Los Angeles County district attorney candidates stand on the death penalty

    Press-Telegram

    Editorial Board
    PUBLISHED: January 2, 2024 at 7:00 a.m.
    UPDATED: January 2, 2024 at 7:01 a.m.
    Opinion

    As part of this newspaper’s endorsement process, we invited the candidates for Los Angeles District Attorney to provide their written thoughts, only lightly edited for length, on major public policy matters.

    Here we present their responses to the question: The death penalty, for all practical purposes, is not likely to ever be carried out in California. Should the Los Angeles County DA pursue death sentences, if only to send a message?

    Dan Kapelovitz: First, I disagree with the notion that the death penalty will never be carried out in California. A new governor can lift the moratorium at any time. Second, pursuing a death sentence just to send a message is completely insane. I am against the death penalty for so many different reasons: innocent people have been executed or sentenced to death, the death penalty is applied arbitrarily and in ways that discriminate against people of color, it is extremely costly to the taxpayers, it does not deter crime — the list goes on. So no, my office will not be pursuing death sentences to send a message — or for any other reason.

    The rest of the article, including an auditory version, is here: https://www.presstelegram.com/2024/01/02/where-los-angeles-county-district-attorney-candidates-stand-on-the-death-penalty/amp/

    Similar articles:

    Photo: In this Aug. 16, 2016, file photo, a condemned inmate is led out of his east block cell on death row at San Quentin State Prison, in San Quentin, California. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

    In this Aug. 16, 2016, file photo, general population inmates walk in a line at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

    Where 2024 Los Angeles County district attorney candidates stand on Proposition 57

    Los Angeles Daily News

    By THE EDITORIAL BOARD | opinion@scng.com
    PUBLISHED: January 4, 2024 at 6:59 a.m.
    UPDATED: January 4, 2024 at 6:59 a.m.

    As part of this newspaper’s endorsement process, we invited the candidates for Los Angeles District Attorney to provide their written thoughts, only lightly edited for length, on major public policy matters.

    Here we present their responses to the question: Give us your assessment of Proposition 57. How do you intend to handle cases subject to the measure?

    Dan Kapelovitz: Under Proposition 57, prosecutors cannot directly file juvenile cases in adult court. This seems more than reasonable. In fact, this provision of Proposition 57 does not go far enough. Juveniles should not be tried as adults at all. Today, a juvenile can be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Such a sentence for a minor is a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause (even if the Supreme Court disagrees). Proposition 57 also allows for the possible early release of nonviolent offenders from prison. Proposition 57 is a step in the right direction, but to truly end mass incarceration, we need further improvements in sentencing reform and crime prevention.

    The rest of the article, including an auditory version, is here: https://www.dailynews.com/2024/01/04/where-los-angeles-county-district-attorney-candidates-stand-on-proposition-57/

    Photo: In this Aug. 16, 2016, file photo, general population inmates walk in a line at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

    Where 2024 Los Angeles County district attorney candidates stand on Proposition 47

    Los Angeles Daily News

    PUBLISHED: UPDATED:

    As part of this newspaper’s endorsement process, we invited the candidates for Los Angeles District Attorney to provide their written thoughts, only lightly edited for length, on major public policy matters.

    Here we present their responses to the question: Give us your assessment of Proposition 47. How do you intend to handle cases subject to the measure?

    Dan Kapelovitz:

    Many of my opponents are now advocating to lower the dollar amount threshold needed to make theft a felony. But the vast majority of cases involve either minor offenses, such as a person taking an item to eat from a grocery store, which most reasonable people believe should be treated as a misdemeanor, or they are relatively major offenses, such as a group of people taking a large amount of, say, expensive clothing, which almost always results in meeting the $950 amount and thus are charged as felonies. The “rational criminal” who goes into a store and steals $949 worth of goods is a myth.

    The mass-incarcerators also want to make it so that someone convicted of petty theft multiple times can be charged with a felony. But reasonable people don’t think that a person who steals a candy bar three times should go to prison for several years.

    The rest of the article, including an auditory version, is here: https://www.dailynews.com/2024/01/03/where-los-angeles-county-district-attorney-candidates-stand-on-proposition-47/

    Photo: (iStockphoto)

    California Globe Header — Dan Kapelovitz for Los Angeles District Attorney 2024

    LA DA Gascón’s Improper, Unethical, or Just Plain Stupid Actions Cost Taxpayers Another $5 Million

    Millions for defense, not a penny for competence

    California Globe

    By Thomas Buckley
    January 29, 2024

    Maybe there’s a good reason Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón has never (as an attorney) set foot in a courtroom — it could be because he always loses.

    Last week, the LA County Board of Supervisors decided to pay someone Gascón charged and then quickly uncharged $5 million to settle an only four-month old lawsuit.

    Considering how long these things typically take, the idea that the settlement was reached to get it out of the way before the March primary cannot be dismissed entirely.

    But this is not the first time Gascón’s improper, unethical, or just plain stupid actions have cost the county.

    The taxpayers have already had to pay $2.3 million to a pair of deputy district attorneys — Shawn Randolph and Richard Doyle (who was ordered to drop charges against a trio of defendants who attempted to derail a train — really — during an anti-police protest) for Gascón’s on the job retaliation.

    Gascón has also lost in court for improperly imposing blanket policy “directives” involving strikes and enhancements and such on the office.

    Beyond losing lawsuits, Gascón has also failed to get available funds. Filled out the paperwork and just didn’t get approved for the $2.7 million in anti-smash-and-grab robbery and other grants? Nah — Gascón’s office simply missed the filing deadlines.

    As to last week’s settlement, it involved Eugene Yu and his election software company Konnech.

    In October 2022, Gascón’s office charged Yu with stealing personal identifiable election worker information and storing it offshore in China — here’s Gascón’s original press release.

    About six weeks later, the charges were dropped and the lead deputy district attorney on the case, Eric Neff, was placed on leave.

    The initial charges seemed wildly out of character as Gascón politically aligns with the segment of the population that screams “Election Denier!!” at anyone who ever asks a question about election security.

    Reportedly, the DA’s office was in contact with a group called True the Vote, a conservative organization that says it is dedicated to preserving electoral integrity.  True the Vote did not respond to a request for comment.

    At the Supervisors meeting last week, Neff (speaking as a private citizen) asked the board to not approve the settlement.

    Yu was reportedly pleased with the settlement, with his attorney saying “Mr. Yu is extremely pleased that his innocence has now been publicly confirmed, and he and Konnech look forward to start to recover from the significant losses which they suffered.”

    DA candidate Dan Kapelovitz is not surprised by the Konnech situation.

    “I get many cases filed by Gascón where my clients are factually innocent, so I’m not surprised that L.A. County had to pay out $5 million for Gascón prosecuting an innocent person,” Kapelovitz said.

    While Kapelovitz sees the settlement as an unsurprising problem, considering Gascón’s record, he is a little less sure of the probity of deputy district attorney lawsuits:

    When deputy district attorneys sue Gascón, where do they think the money for payments and to defend these suits comes from?  It doesn’t come out of Gascón’s pocket. So basically, these DDAs want us taxpayers to hand them our hard-earned money. This money could have been used for programs that could have prevented crime.

    Most of my opponents have never had a job where they didn’t have civil servant protections. They went directly from college to law school and then became a prosecutor. They have no real-life experiences and can’t relate to average person.

    When I was an editor at Hustler, just imagine if Larry Flynt asked me to write an editorial supporting the First Amendment, and I said, “No. I’m going to write a pro-censorship piece.” Or if I told the federal judge I worked for that I was going to dismiss a case against his wishes.  I’d be fired immediately.

    The primary vote is in March.

    The rest of the article is here.

    Where Los Angeles County district attorney candidates stand on police accountability

    Los Angeles Daily News

    By  | opinion@scng.com

    PUBLISHED: UPDATED: 

    As part of this newspaper’s endorsement process, we invited the candidates for Los Angeles District Attorney to provide their written thoughts, only lightly edited for length, on major public policy matters.

    Here we present their responses to the question: Does the current system provide sufficient accountability for police officers? What additional approaches or policies would you enact to deal with misbehaving officers and deputies?

    Dan Kapelovitz: We need much more transparency. If a police officer engages in misconduct, the people have a right to know, especially those who are being accused of committing a crime by that officer.

    California is one of the worst (if not the worst) states in terms of obtaining information about police misconduct. If an officer has a history of violence or fabricating evidence or racial profiling, this information is not automatically provided to defense counsel even though it is required to be under the Constitution. Instead, an attorney — defense attorneys and prosecutors alike — have to jump through a bunch of hoops to possibly get this information. Then if a judge does allow an attorney to obtain this information, the judge issues a court order stating that the attorney can’t warn other attorneys about the officer’s misconduct.

    All officers should have their body cams on when investigating crimes and arresting people, and all police vehicles should be equipped with cameras. This footage needs to be immediately provided to the district attorney before a case is filed so that the filing deputies can review it to see if a crime actually occurred and so the DA can provide this footage to defense counsel by the first court appearance — or earlier.

    The rest of the article, including an auditory version, is here: https://www.dailynews.com/2024/01/16/where-los-angeles-county-district-attorney-candidates-stand-on-police-accountability/

    DK 4 DA LA 2024

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    Supporting the People's College of Law Facing the California State Bar

    DECEMBER 14, 2023

    Today the California State Bar voted to shut down the non-profit People’s College of Law.  Students, faculty, alumni, board members, and community members gathered in front of the State Bar building to show their support for the school.

    There were burst of chants of “Sí se puede” (“It can be done”, or “Yes you can”) throughout.

    There was one minor victory:  After hearing the heartfelt statements from several supporters of the law school, nine of the thirteen Bar staffers voted to allow the students to finish out their school year.  (The other four staffers wanted to shut down the school immediately.) 

    The People’s College of Law was established in 1974 by La Raza National Law Students Association, Asian Law Collective, National Conference of Black Lawyers, and the National Lawyers Guild. 

    The law school was created to bring legal resources to under-represented communities and train legal advocates for the people.  For almost 50 years, the school has trained advocates for human rights, tenants’ rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, consumer rights, and workers’ rights.  PCL graduates have gone on to fight discrimination, economic and political oppression, and abuse of power, and have provided legal protections to those who have been historically denied such services. 

    Dan Kapelovitz has taught at the People’s College of Law for more than five years, teaching Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and running the school’s criminal defense clinic.  The students, faculty and administration at the school are all incredible fighters for justice.  It is a sad day for the school and for the entire Los Angeles community.

    (Photos © Hadley Gustafson 2023)

    Previous Elections: News Archive

    RELEASE: CALIFORNIA GREENS ENDORSE A “LEFT UNITY SLATE” WITH THE PEACE AND FREEDOM PARTY FOR 2022 ELECTIONS

    The Green Party of California delegates have voted to endorse a “Left Unity Slate” composed of Green Party and Peace and Freedom Party candidates for the June 2022 Primary Elections:

    Gary Blenner (Green), CA Secretary of State
    Laura Wells (Green), CA Controller
    Dan Kapelovitz (Green), CA Attorney General
    Meghann Adams (Peace and Freedom), CA Treasurer
    Nathalie Hrizi (Peace and Freedom), CA Insurance Commissioner
    John Parker (Peace and Freedom), US Senate

    SACRAMENTO, CA – A historic decision, this united strategy was based on the many shared values between the Green and the Peace and Freedom political parties. Among these values are guaranteed access to healthcare, also known as expanded and improved Medicare For All, truly affordable housing, union-wage jobs, public ownership of energy, ending wars for profit, and a comprehensive climate plan, including a just transition to 100 percent renewables.

    Since the 2020 presidential elections when the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins and Socialist running mate Angela Walker formed the first “Left Unity” campaign, the movement for a united left has gained support among independent voters. “We need to unite the many against the few that finance the two big capitalist parties,” Hawkins said during his campaign. “We need our own political voice. We need our own independent power.”

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    Insurance Commissioner candidate Nathalie Hrizi said, “Our campaign calls for a single-payer healthcare system that removes the insurance companies altogether. A state single-payer system would guarantee health care for all people, with the state government paying all medical bills. It would be like Medicare for all. Contrary to right-wing propaganda, Medicare is far more efficient than private insurers.”

    “The question always comes up about how do we pay for what we need,” said Laura Wells, candidate for CA Controller. “There are solutions. We can implement Public Banking so that our state and localities stop paying high interest to Wall Street banks. We can save money with a rational healthcare system, which Democratic leadership again stalled despite having a super-majority and a budget surplus. And we can certainly tax the rich! Nobody needs to be a billionaire, and Forbes tells us California has 189 of them, up 24 from the year before. That makes no sense, the rest of us are already paying fees and fines and tuition and taxes. Tax the rich.”

    “If we had electoral reform, such as multi-winner ranked-choice voting, a candidate-based form of proportional representation, California’s voters would have a bigger voice in policies that are critical to their lives,” said Gary Blenner, candidate for CA Secretary of State. “For example, we would be leading the way in implementing a single-payer healthcare system rather than allowing the Democrats to wipe it off the table.”

    “Through this early endorsement step, the Green Party plans to help Greens from across the state get engaged in the campaigns of these endorsed candidates early and help build support for these corporate-free campaigns that do not accept contributions from corporations and their industry lobbyists,” said Greg Jan, Statewide Candidate Subcommittee member, and Green Voter Guide editor.

    Additional candidates, including Governor, will be considered for endorsement in early December.

    Contact:
    Green Party of California
    gpca@cagreens.org

    #WeAreGreen #LeftUnitySlate

    Originally published at gp.org: https://www.gp.org/cagp_endorse_left_unity_slate_with_peace_and_freedom_party

    Meet the other recall candidates: Dan Kapelovitz

    https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2021-08-27/opinion-meet-the-other-recall-candidates-dan-kapelovitz

    LA TIMES
    AUG. 27, 2021 5 AM PT

    OPINION

    What experience has prepared you to take over leadership of the world’s-fifth largest economy?
    As a criminal defense attorney, part of my job is to take complicated problems and find solutions to them. Also, I’ve learned how to find and work with the best people for any given situation. As a Green Party candidate, I have access to some of the greatest minds who have been thinking deeply about all of the issues California faces, including the economy. I will keep some of the current experts, and I will bring in those experts who have been previously shut out of the government by our two-party system.

    Do you believe Joe Biden was lawfully elected president?
    Yes

    Should an ethnic studies course be required for high-school graduation?
    Yes

    Defund police?
    Yes

    Should government make any vaccine mandatory, including for polio and smallpox?
    No

    Under California law, low-income women are eligible for taxpayer-funded abortions. Do you support this?
    Yes

    Should the governor’s emergency powers be altered, and if so, how?
    Given the emergency nature of our global climate catastrophe — recently documented in the IPCC 6th Assessment Report, “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis” — the governor should have the power to declare a climate emergency for our state.

    If you had $25 billion to spend on homelessness, what would you do with it?
    Prevent tenants from being evicted in the first place, and for long-term homeless, create housing that incorporates “wraparound” social services and other support mechanisms. We also need to stop criminalizing homelessness and stop the illegal seizure and destruction of homeless people’s property.

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    As governor, would you direct the state to do more to help Immigration and Customs Enforcement?
    No. I would end ICE transfers from prisons and jails and support the California Values Act, which prevents law enforcement from sharing immigrants’ personal information and transferring them to immigration custody. ICE’s enforcement activities wreak havoc on immigrant communities.

    What would you do to decrease the chance of destructive wildfires?
    The more we address climate change, the more we will prevent wildfires. We should restore the forests by removing dead trees and brush and by making sure that young trees survive. And all of this must be based on sound scientific ecological principals.

    What emergency steps would you take during a drought to allocate water usage among Californians?
    Replenish groundwater aquifers. Increase investment in storage of rainwater. Promote local self-reliance to provide flexibility during emergencies. End fracking, which contaminates water quality and results in less clean water to go around. End public subsidies to unsustainable agriculture.

    Do you support California’s climate change initiatives. If no, what would you change?
    We need to quickly transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy with a comprehensive Green New Deal approach, connecting all parts of economy and introducing greater forms of public decision-making and control. Every dollar we spend wisely today will save us more in the future.

    Laws Should Protect Animals

    Bill 2296’s Punishment of Speech May Lead Activists to More Violence to Make Their Voices Heard

    https://dissidentvoice.org/2008/10/laws-should-protect-animals/

    DISSIDENT VOICE
    by Dan Kapelovitz, Jill Ryther, and Jaimie Bryant
    October 11th, 2008

    Members of the campus community recently received an e-mail from UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block extolling the virtues of Assembly Bill 2296, a new law that restricts the speech of animal-rights activists (whom he calls “anti-animal research extremists”) in order to protect animal researchers. As this law moved toward passage, much was said about the fear animal researchers feel when confronted by protestors. By contrast, few have commented on the pain and terror experienced by animals used in experiments or have explained why there is protest against animal research at UCLA and other institutions in the first place.

    Every day at places like UCLA, animals are subjected to excruciating, unrelieved pain as involuntary subjects in research experiments that have not been described or justified to the public. Researchers and the heads of experiments hide behind unsupported general claims that such research is necessary and productive for human health, but they offer no information by which the public can assess their claims as to specific experiments.

    Therefore, the public has no information about the research that is being done or whether, in fact, any of it has led to or has the potential to lead to worthwhile advancements. Researchers and the heads of institutions like UCLA reject calls for transparency about the animal research that is conducted.

    Because of the way research applications are reviewed and funded, it is highly likely that research dollars are wasted on useless animal testing and experiments. Funding might well have been more productively invested in research methods that bear actual fruit in advancing human health.

    Animal researchers like to further argue that they are in complete compliance with state anticruelty statutes and federal laws that regulate scientific research on animals. However, as legally interpreted, neither state nor federal laws provide any protection to animals tortured at institutions like UCLA.

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    State anticruelty statutes define “cruel” as only the infliction of “unnecessary” suffering on animals. Scientific research is arbitrarily defined as “necessary,” which means that the infliction of even the most horrific suffering on animals falls outside the legal boundaries of the “anticruelty” statutes.

    Federal law is no different. The Animal Welfare Act purports to regulate scientific research, yet the AWA covers only a very small minority of the animals used in research and explicitly states that none of its provisions can be used to impede or affect research design or implementation. The AWA does not prevent the infliction of horrific suffering on animals; it only creates paperwork for research scientists who need to provide minimal justifications for their unwillingness to provide pain relief or consider alternatives to animal-based research or testing.

    Chancellor Block, a former animal researcher himself, praises AB 2296 for providing new protections for animal researchers, but animal researchers already have complete legal protection from violent conduct. That is why we believe that a primary purpose of the new law is to intimidate peaceful protestors; the first versions of the law were even more expansive in curtailing their speech. Even though AB 2296 was reduced in scope before it was enacted, it still punishes speech.

    Given the history of law enforcement reactions to animal advocacy protests, we believe that such a law is likely to be abused by law enforcement officials who use their authority to intimidate peaceful animal activists into silence. It is animals – and the people who care about them – who are not sufficiently protected by existing laws.

    Unfortunately, laws like this – whose focus is the speech of protestors – may actually increase violent acts against researchers rather than diminish them. When lawful speech is stifled by expansive use of such laws to intimidate protestors, activists concerned about imminent and ongoing violence against animals may feel the need to resort to methods other than speech to have their voices heard. That tragedy could be avoided with more transparency and more public debate about whether the extreme pain inflicted on animals is justified.

    2022 election: Q&A with Dan Kapelovitz, California attorney general candidate

    https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/story/2022-05-17/2022-election-q-a-with-dan-kapelovitz-california-attorney-general-candidate

    BY THE SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE EDITORIAL BOARD
    MAY 17, 2022 6 AM PT

    There are five candidates on the June 7 ballot who want to be elected attorney general. They are incumbent Rob Bonta, a Democrat appointed to the position last year; attorney/business owner Eric Early and general counsel Nathan Hochman, both Republicans; criminal defense attorney Dan Kapelovitz, a Green Party candidate; and Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, an independent. The top two vote-getters will advance to a Nov. 8 runoff. The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board sent each a 10-question survey and here are their replies.

    Below are Dan Kapelovitz’s responses and a link to other responses.

    Q: What do you feel about current efforts to revise criminal justice reform laws like Propositions 47 and 57? What changes would you support?

    A: The current efforts to revise Propositions 47 and 57 are just a reaction to the “tough on crime” fearmongers out there who think the answer to everything crime-related is more incarceration. I think the media and the “tough on crime” folks are using a few high-profile incidents to make it seem like crime rates are increasing much more than they really are. Proposition 47 made shoplifting in the amount of less than $950 a misdemeanor. It also made mere possession of a narcotic a misdemeanor. Most people in California agree that someone should not become a convicted felon for committing these relatively minor offenses. In terms of drug possession crimes, Proposition 47 does not go far enough because mere possession of drugs should be decriminalized. People who are addicted to drugs need treatment — not punishment. Moreover, drugs are pretty easy to find in the jails and prisons, so it’s not a great place to send someone with a drug problem. Under Proposition 57, prosecutors cannot directly file juvenile cases in adult court. This seems more than reasonable. In fact, this provision of Proposition 57 does not go far enough. Juveniles should not be tried as adults at all. Today, a juvenile can be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Such a sentence for a minor should be a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s cruel and unusual punishments clause. Proposition 57 also allows for the possible early release of nonviolent offenders from prison. Proposition 57 is a step in the right direction, but to truly end mass incarceration, we need further improvements in sentencing reform and crime prevention.

    Q: Crime is up statewide, creating debate over whether California should be more harsh or more lenient on people charged with crimes. What, if anything, should the attorney general do about the surge in crime?

    A: We’ve seen that the “tough on crime” methods of the past few decades do not work. We need to work on preventing crime. We need to examine the root causes of crime, not just throw people away in prisons for decades after the fact. The length of a sentence has little to do with deterring crime. The typical person who commits a crime does not apply rational economic principles to his or her criminal decisions. They don’t say, “Well, the risk of me getting caught is X, and the length of my sentence could be Y; therefore, I should not commit this crime.” Most people who commit crimes don’t think they will ever be caught in the first place. As attorney general, I would work to get at the root of these problems so we can prevent crimes from happening at all. There are many causes of criminal activity, including poverty, drug addiction and poor mental health. We need to fund and promote intervention and treatment programs that address those and other issues …

    Read More

    Q: California has taken several steps in recent years to crack down on police abuses. Are there any additional measures you think are needed?

    A: Instead of “defunding the police,” we need to reallocate funds to better train police officers and pay for trained specialists to deal with those incidents that do not require a police presence. Properly trained officers are taught to de-escalate a situation. Often that’s the difference between someone living or dying. We also need more transparency when it comes to police misconduct. California has one of the worst rules of any state in terms of police accountability. There needs to be a public database of incidents of police misconduct so that bad officers do not just move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Finally, the Office of the Attorney General should handle any prosecutions dealing with law enforcement. There is an inherent conflict of interest when county district attorneys prosecute crimes allegedly committed by people who routinely testify as their witnesses.

    Q: California has the strictest gun laws in the nation yet has had some of the nation’s worst mass shootings this year. What, if anything, can the attorney general be doing to reduce gun violence in California?

    A: As the question points out, even with the strictest gun laws in the nation, there can be horrible mass shootings. There are already more guns in America than people. Again, we need to get to the root cause of these mass shootings. We need to fund violence-prevention and threat-assessment programs.

    Q: Gov. Gavin Newsom has endorsed California adopting a gun control law modeled on Texas’ abortion law, which allows people to sue those who help women get abortions. Do you support a law allowing Californians to file lawsuits like this over gun-related issues or not, and why?

    A: I do not support such a law, just as I don’t support the Texas abortion law. Having citizens suing each other and spying on each other are not good ways to address an issue. Our country and state are already polarized enough without these kinds of lawsuits.

    Q: Attorneys general in both parties have been criticized for writing ballot titles and summaries in a slanted way to try to influence voters. Should the attorney general retain this role? Or should it go to a nonpartisan office as reformers urge?

    A: I have no problem with a nonpartisan office doing this work, so long as we can ensure that it is truly neutral in terms of the proposed law for which it is writing ballot titles and summaries.

    Q: How would you as attorney general support or challenge any federal actions targeting the state’s estimated 2 million undocumented residents, and why?

    A: I would challenge the federal government oppressing undocumented residents. We don’t need the federal government to tell us how we treat fellow Californians. As attorney general, I would stand for social justice for all people regardless of their immigration status.

    Q: The climate emergency is worsening in California. Should the attorney general play more of a role to make local governments live up to laws they enacted to reduce emissions and the threat of global warming?

    A: The attorney general should play a huge role in ensuring that local governments live up to laws enacted to reduce emissions and reduce the threat of climate change. It’s one of the most important issues of our time.

    Q: The Attorney General’s Office has called out cities like Huntington Beach and Encinitas for not following state law related to housing construction. How aggressive would you be on this front?

    A: I would aggressively fight cities who violate the law, especially where the law is meant to help address the housing crisis we currently face.

    Q: Why should you be elected over your opponents in this race?

    A: First, I am the most progressive of all of the candidates. I believe that the majority of Californians are more progressive than mainstream Democrats. But I am also open-minded and will work with and listen to people from the entire political spectrum.

    Second, because crime is such a major issue this year, I believe that, as a criminal defense attorney who deals with criminal cases on a daily basis, I understand the issues better than my opponents. The other candidates either have little to no criminal law experience or they are just promoting the same old “tough on crime” policies that have failed us all these years.

    Third, I will always do what I believe is right. I haven’t take a dime from any special interest groups. I’m not trying to use the position as a steppingstone to some other office. I’m not a career politician. Nor do I want to be. When I’m done with my term as attorney general, I will go back to fighting for justice for my clients.

    DAN KAPELOVITZ AND MICHAEL FEINSTEIN

    Dismissing Voter Choice No Way to Win Recall Election

    https://www.laprogressive.com/election-reform-campaigns/dismissing-voter-choice

    BY DAN KAPELOVITZ AND MICHAEL FEINSTEIN
    AUG 21, 2021

    Dan Kapelovitz and Michael Feinstein: The Dan Kapelovitz for Governor candidacy offers a primary focus on ranked-choice voting and proportional representation elections.

    Now that ballots for the September 14 Recall election are hitting the homes of over 22 million Californians, Governor Gavin Newsom and his team are messaging how to vote – but what message are they really sending to voters?

    On Question #1 – “Do you want to recall Governor Newsom?” – their recommendation is understandable – “Vote No” in order to keep Newsom in office.

    But on Question #2 – “If the governor is recalled, who do you want to replace him?” – Newsom and his team are engaging in a form of voter suppression and telling voters to “leave it blank” and give up their vote.

    Strategically, not filling out Question #2 clears the way for Republicans to take over the governor’s office, if the recall effort is successful. By ceding the electorate on Question #2 to pro-recall voters, this may also lead to the most reactionary and extreme Republican being elected, who can then claim a stronger mandate with a higher percentage of the vote, than they may have received otherwise.

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    The Dan Kapelovitz for Governor candidacy offers a primary focus on ranked-choice voting and proportional representation elections.

    But more profoundly, telling voters not to vote on Question #2 demonstrates exactly the type of personal arrogance and elitism that got Newsom in trouble with so many voters with the French Laundry Restaurant scandal — an arrogance that helped fuel the recall petition drive to qualify in the first place.

    Newsom has every right to campaign for himself on Question #1, by urging a ‘No’ vote. But it is not his place to tell voters to give up their choice on Question #2 – it’s their choice, not his. Showing such disdain for voter choice suggests Newsom really doesn’t belong in the Governor’s office in the first place — as it is supposed to be an office respecting all Californians.

    This isn’t the first time that Newsom thinks he knows more about what’s good for voters than they do. In 2019, Newsom vetoed SB212, a bill that would’ve have given voters more choice in California’s 361 general law cities — as well as in all of California’s school districts and counties — by giving them the option to adopt ranked-choice voting for use in local elections, contingent upon a local public vote.

    The Dan Kapelovitz for Governor candidacy offers a primary focus on ranked-choice voting and proportional representation elections. Ranked-choice voting gives voters the option to rank multiple candidates and eliminates ‘vote-splitting’ and the ‘lesser-of-two-evils’ dynamic. Under proportional representation, instead of winner-take-all, single-seat-district elections, parties win seats in multi-seat districts, in proportion to their support among the voters. Every vote for the Kapelovitz campaign is a vote for these important reforms and a viable multi-party democracy for California, giving more people a seat at the table of our democracy.

    The recall phenomena itself shows it’s time for these reforms. Newsom and supporters want to frame the recall effort as Republican-driven only. But many left-of-center voters also signed the recall petition. Some because they were underwhelmed by Newsom’s performance in office. But others signed, because they feel generally underrepresented under California’s Top Two elections.

    As governor, would you direct the state to do more to help Immigration and Customs Enforcement?
    No. I would end ICE transfers from prisons and jails and support the California Values Act, which prevents law enforcement from sharing immigrants’ personal information and transferring them to immigration custody. ICE’s enforcement activities wreak havoc on immigrant communities.

    What would you do to decrease the chance of destructive wildfires?
    The more we address climate change, the more we will prevent wildfires. We should restore the forests by removing dead trees and brush and by making sure that young trees survive. And all of this must be based on sound scientific ecological principals.

    What emergency steps would you take during a drought to allocate water usage among Californians?
    Replenish groundwater aquifers. Increase investment in storage of rainwater. Promote local self-reliance to provide flexibility during emergencies. End fracking, which contaminates water quality and results in less clean water to go around. End public subsidies to unsustainable agriculture.

    Do you support California’s climate change initiatives. If no, what would you change?
    We need to quickly transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy with a comprehensive Green New Deal approach, connecting all parts of economy and introducing greater forms of public decision-making and control. Every dollar we spend wisely today will save us more in the future.

    DK 4 DA LA 2024

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