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2nd App. Dist. Ct. Rules on Action Against LADA Gascon's Policies

The Association of Deputy District Attorneys etc. v. Gascon, Docket: B310845 (Second Appellate District), Opinion Date: June 2, 2022. On appeal, the district attorney argued that The Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County (“ADDA”) lacks standing to seek mandamus relief on behalf of its members and that he does not have a ministerial duty to comply with the legal duties ADDA alleges he violated, that the trial court’s preliminary injunction violates the doctrine of separation of powers and that the balance of the harms does not support preliminary injunctive relief. The Second Appellate District affirmed in part and reversed in part the trial court’s order. The court concluded that ADDA has associational standing to seek relief on behalf of its members. The court concluded the voters and the Legislature created a duty, enforceable in mandamus, that requires prosecutors to plead prior serious or violent felony convictions to ensure the alternative sentencing scheme created by the three strikes law applies to repeat offenders. This duty does not violate the separation of powers doctrine by materially infringing on a prosecutor’s charging discretion; to the contrary, the duty affirms the voters’ and the Legislature’s authority to prescribe more severe punishment for certain recidivists. Further, neither the voters nor the Legislature can create a duty enforceable in mandamus to require a prosecutor to prove allegations of prior serious or violent felony convictions, an inherently discretionary act. Nor is mandamus available to compel a prosecutor to exercise his or her discretion in a particular way when moving to dismiss allegations of prior strikes or sentence enhancements under section 1385.

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