This week, week you learned that our state, local and federal governments have the authority to designate certain actions “crimes” and to decide on punishments for citizens who violate the laws specifying what those crimes are. In Los Angeles and most other jurisdictions, there have long been criminal laws punishing the use, possession and distribution/sale of marijuana. As most of you know, this has changed in recent years in many areas. Last year, our District Attorney George Gascon dropped cleared approximately 60,000 marijuana-related convictions from people’s records. Approximately 66,000 convictions had also been dismissed by D.A. Gascon the prior year. Read this article (Links to an external site.) which summarizes the actions he took, and then answer the following questions:
1. Why did D.A. Gascon dismiss these convictions and what does it mean that they are “dismissed”?
2. Do you agree with his move or do you think the convictions should have remained because at the time the affected individuals were convicted, their conduct was against the law? Are there other crimes that you think should be taken “off the books” and if yes, what are they?
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