Incumbent Jackie Lacey and George Gascón are running in the nonpartisan general election for Los Angeles district attorney on November 3, 2020. Both candidates completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. To learn more about what motivates them on political and personal levels, click here.
Gascón worked as a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department from 1978 to 2006 and San Francisco’s district attorney from 2011 to 2019. Lacey was a deputy district attorney with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office from 1986 to 2012 and has served as Los Angeles’ district attorney since 2012.
In the nonpartisan March 2020 primary, Lacey and Gascón advanced with 48.7% and 28.2% of the vote, respectively. In 2012, Lacey defeated Alan Jackson 55% to 45%. In 2016, she ran unopposed. Gascón was first elected as San Francisco district attorney in 2011 in a ranked-choice voting election, winning 62% to 38% in the third round of vote allocations. In 2015, he ran unopposed.
This race drew media attention following protests over use of force by law enforcement and the death of George Floyd. Both candidates mentioned the topic in their responses to Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Lacey said she “helped to train over 2,000 law enforcement officers on how to deescalate situations involving people with mental health problems.” Gascón said he would “hold law enforcement accountable to help rebuild the trust between the community and law enforcement officers.”
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office is the largest local prosecutorial office in the country. The Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising at Harvard Law School defined a prosecutor as “the government attorney who charges and tries cases against individuals accused of crimes.” Los Angeles’ district attorney prosecutes felonies in Los Angeles County and misdemeanors in unincorporated parts of the county and in all of the county’s cities, except Burbank, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Inglewood, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Redondo Beach, Santa Monica, and Torrance.