Gascón rethinks soft-on-crime policies, sentence for transgender woman who assaulted 10-year-old

After receiving harsh criticism for his sentencing last month of a transgender woman who pled guilty to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl in Denny’s bathroom, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón is now admitting he may have made a mistake.

It’s a stunning admission from a DA who banned prosecutors from seeking both the death penalty and life without parole, disallowed trying juveniles as adults, and strangled prosecutors’ abilities to use sentencing enhancements the moment he took office in 2020.

In a statement released Friday, Gascón reversed his controversial policies, saying that, while his office remains committed to opposing the death sentence and trying juveniles as adults, “there are some cases and situations that require a different response.”

The Hanna Tubbs situation was one such case.

As American Wire News reported, in 2014, James Tubbs, two weeks shy of his 18th birthday, attacked a 10-year-old girl after following her into the bathroom at a Palmdale, Calif. Denny’s. He snatched the little girl up by her throat, shoved his hand down her pants, and only stopped because another patron came into the restroom.

James Tubbs fled the scene and was in the wind until he was arrested in 2019, in Idaho, on suspicion of battery and his DNA was entered into a database, which linked him back to the Palmdale incident.

Tubbs, whose lengthy rap sheet included battery, drug possession, assaults with deadly weapons, and probation violations, was charged with the 2014 assault and hauled back to California in 2020.

But by the time Tubbs was in Gascón’s custody, James was a 26-year-old adult and had “transitioned” into Hannah.

Hannah pled guilty to the assault, and the uber-progressive Gascón sentenced her to two years in a juvenile facility, sparking outrage.


In his statement, Gascón says, “we learn as we go, take feedback from the community, and make necessary adjustments based on our experiences and the complex nature of this work.”

“Specifically, we learned a lot from the Hannah Tubbs case about the need for a policy safety valve,” Gascón continues. Rather than the usual case where a child is arrested close in time to their crime, police arrested Ms. Tubbs at 26 for a crime she committed as a juvenile. Ms. Tubbs had several charges in other counties after the juvenile offense but never received any services which both her past behavior and that subsequent to her arrest demonstrates she clearly needs.”

Apparently, Gascón was unaware of Tubbs’s character when he sentenced her.

“After her sentencing in our case, I became aware of extremely troubling statements she made about her case, the resolution of it and the young girl she harmed,” Gascón said.

“Unfortunately, our juvenile system in its current iteration does not provide adequate support to help someone at 26 with this level of challenges except through the adult system,” he continued. “While for most people several years of jail time is adequate, it may not be for Ms. Tubbs. If we knew about her disregard for the harm she caused we would have handled this case differently. The complex issues and facts of her particular case were unusual, and I should have treated them that way. This change in policy will allow us the space to do that moving forward.”

The new policies “for outlier cases” will require prosecutors who want “to deviate from our core principles” to put their request in writing. A committee staffed by Gascón’s “most trusted advisors” will evaluate the request to see if an exemption is warranted.

The new process, Gascón says, “ensures that only in the rarest of cases, where our system has failed, will we diverge from our principles.”

Melissa Fine


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