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California Gov. Gavin Newsom faced some sharp criticism Wednesday after appearing to accuse police and prosecutors of not holding criminals to account.
Lisa Smittcamp, district attorney in Fresno County, claimed Newsom “should be ashamed of himself” for remarks he made earlier in the day, FOX 26 reported.
Newsom’s comments came after he praised three state laws, claiming they had helped reduce crime in the state: Proposition 47, which downgraded some felonies to misdemeanors; Proposition 57, which reduced prison sentences; and Assembly Bill 109, which shifted detainees from state prisons to local jails, FOX 26 of Fresno reported.
All three laws were enacted during the administration of Newsom’s predecessor, Democratic former Gov. Jerry Brown, according to the station. Newsom, a Democrat and a former mayor of San Francisco, had served as Brown’s lieutenant governor, 2011-2019.
But California has seen a surge in high-profile crimes in recent months, including “smash and grab” thefts at major department stores up and down the state, and shocking murders – including the “follow home” slaying of Beverly Hills philanthropist Jacqueline Avant on Dec. 1 and the brutal stabbing death of UCLA graduate student Brianna Kupfer at a store in Los Angeles last Thursday.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s comments on law enforcement drew a sharp response from Lisa Smittcamp, Fresno County district attorney.
Newsom then turned his attention to the actions of law enforcement and district attorneys, according to FOX 26.
“It seems to me that there’s deterrence when people are arrested for breaking the law and are prosecuted,” Newsom said, according to the station. “We need arrests and we need prosecution. We need people held to account. No one condones that behavior – quite the contrary.”
“There’s deterrence when people are arrested for breaking the law and are prosecuted. We need arrests and we need prosecution. We need people held to account.”
But Smittcamp, who has been district attorney in Fresno County since 2015, claimed the Brown-era laws were having no discernable impact on reducing crime, FOX 26 reported.
“It’s not deterring [crime], it’s not preventing it. It’s not doing anything to stop this, which is why it just keeps getting worse and worse and we keep seeing more bold behaviors, we keep seeing more criminals who are empowered,” Smittcamp said of the policies, according to the station.
As for Newsom blaming police and prosecutors, Smittcamp wasn’t having it.
“He should be ashamed of himself,” she said. “This is the environment that he created. And he’s either ignorant of the statistics, or he’s a liar.”
“He should be ashamed of himself. This is the environment that he created. And he’s either ignorant of the statistics, or he’s a liar.”
Newsom also accused officials of sometimes using Proposition 47 as an “excuse” to avoid holding criminals accountable in some cases, according to FOX 26.
“Prop 47 has been conveniently used, from my humble perspective, as an excuse for things that don’t necessarily have to be – meaning people can arrest, they can hold people accountable, and they should,” the governor said, according to the station.
But Smittcamp accused the governor of trying to “destroy law enforcement” by “weakening our laws.”
“If he thinks that shoplifting is down, and all of his rhetoric about Prop 47 and the success of it is simply just a lie,” the district attorney said, according to FOX 26. “They’ve caused such a disrespect for the law by weakening our system, by weakening our laws. Newsom has tried to destroy law enforcement, so for him to sit here and say that he wants a more local effort put forth is so offensive to me, because he is the person who is letting these dangerous criminals out of prison on parole left and right.”
Others who have denounced the Brown-era laws have included Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, Fresno police Capt. Burke Farrah, local businessman Herman Nagra, Fresno Councilmember Garry Bredefield, and Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, FOX 26 reported, citing its past reporting.
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