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New Los Angeles County District Attorney–George Gascon–Brings Sweeping Reform

On December 7, 2020, George Gascon was sworn in as the new District Attorney, defeating the previous District Attorney, Jackie Lacey. With his swearing in comes sweeping reforms and promises to re-open thousands of old cases. In his sweeping reforms, Mr. Gascon provides for retroactive applications, removing gun enhancements, gang enhancements, Three Strikes Law and materially changing juvenile laws.


Traditionally, reforms are non-retroactive, meaning they do not apply to prior judgments or convictions. However, in Mr. Gascon’s sweeping reform, his office is now applying these reforms retroactively. That means that many of the new changes will affect old convictions from the past, regardless of when they took place.

In this post, Attorney Matthew Barhoma, founder of Barhoma Law, P.C. and California Criminal Appeals Attorney highlights the new changes and outlines how they will affect general cases. To learn how District Attorney, George Gascon’s, sweeping reform may affect your case, please consult with a Criminal Appeals and Post Conviction attorney with Barhoma Law, P.C. by calling our firm at 213-800-7664.


  1. PRIOR-STRIKE AND GANG ENHANCEMENTS – Under Special Directive 20-08, the D.A.’s office will no longer pursue “Prior Strike” or “Gang Enhancements” (what is knowns as STEP Acts – Penal Code § 186.22 et. seq.). If the matter is pending, the District Attorney assigned to the case are instructed to orally amend the charging document to dismiss or withdraw any enhancement. There is also a procedure for previously sentenced cases.
  2. PRIOR GUN ENHANCEMENTS – Under Special Directive 20-14, the District Attorney is instructed to “join in the Defendant’s motion to strike all alleged sentence enhancements or move to dismiss all alleged sentence enhancements.
  3. WRITS OF HABEAS CORPUS – Under Special Directive 20-10, the district attorney is instructed to stop the prior practice of automatically opposing all writs of habeas corpus. More, the Habeas Corpus Litigation Unit, the unit that litigates Writs of Habeas Corpus Petitions, are now instructed to undertake a “good-faith case review designed to ensure the integrity of the challenged conviction.” Special Directive 20-10.
  4. JUVENILES TRIED AS ADULTS – Under Special Directive 20-09, District Attorneys are instructed to abolish the practice of adult court for juveniles. This is directed for future cases. For retroactive application, Special Directive 20-14 orders the re-opening of cases where the defendant was a minor at the time of the crime for re-sentencing.
  5. LENGTHY SENTENCES AND INCONSISTENT OUTCOMES – If a particular defendant is “serving a sentence that is higher than what he/she would have received today, due to operation of law . . ., the deputy in charge of the case shall withdraw any opposition to resentencing or sentence recall and request a new sentence that complies with current law and/or sentence recall and request a new sentence that complies with current law.” Special Directive 20-14. This seems to be a sweeping promise from District Attorney Mr. George Gascon to ensure consistent judgments and convictions in all Los Angeles cases.


It’s a new day in L.A. Today, California inmates are eligible for resentencing in an unprecedented manner in an unprecedented procedure. Below, Attorney Matthew Barhoma, founder of Barhoma Law, P.C. outlines how previously-convicted inmates can utilize these sweeping reforms:

  • Assembly Bill 2942 –  AB2942 seminally allows District Attorneys in California to recommend a new sentence in lieu of previous sentences. Given the new language under a number of Special Directives, AB2942 may be a useful path to re-sentencing of previous gang enhancements, gun enhancements, and lengthy sentences due to prior strikes. We previously published an article on this here.
  • Penal Code 1170(d)(1) – Very specifically, a number of Special Directives name Penal Code 1170(d)(1) by name when outlining re-sentencing and prison reform. It is a credible path to re-sentencing for the right inmates. We previously published an article on this here.
  • Writ of Habeas Corpus – given the new procedure District Attorneys are instructed to treat Petitions for Writs of Habeas Corpus, seeking re-sentencing under a Writ of Habeas Corpus, alongside other meaningful arguments may also be a pathway to re-sentencing. We previously published an article on this here.
  • Consulting with a Renowned Criminal Appeals and Post Conviction Lawyer – new procedures are hard to follow. Barhoma Law, P.C. has experience in this area of law and has experience in reaching out to the District Attorney’s office for recommended re-sentencing. Consulting with a renowned attorney may help you navigate these procedures. More, find an attorney with good communication skills, who takes investigative measures to find your records, analyze them, and proceed with an execution strategy tailored to your needs for re-sentencing.

Speak with a Criminal Appeals and Post Conviction lawyer at Barhoma Law, P.C., by contacting us at 213-800-7664. 



Special Directive 20-08 | Special Directive 20-14 | George Gascon | Post-Conviction | Resentencing

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