A Preventable Murder

On Jan. 8, 41-year-old Alejandro Garcia was working the drive-through at Taco Bell in South Los Angeles. Mr. Garcia was shot to death by Jonathan Madden after Madden tried to pay with a counterfeit $20 bill. Mr. Garcia is survived by his wife and three children.

The tragedy of Mr. Garcia’s murder is compounded by the fact that it was entirely preventable. If we had an elected district attorney who enforced the law, Madden would have been in custody. Not only did Madden have a long criminal history — he had two open felony cases. He should have been in jail.

George Gascon’s bail policy ensured that Madden was on the street on that horrific day. This is because Gascon will not seek pretrial detention unless the current offense is either a “serious” or “violent” offense. There are no exceptions.

Madden’s criminal record demonstrates the absurdity of this policy. He had multiple felony convictions and has been to prison three times. He is the definition of “recidivist.” His first felony conviction was in 2001 for robbery (a violent felony), for which he was given a second chance and put on probation. He then picked up a 2002 burglary and grand theft conviction, a 2006 robbery conviction, a 2009 conviction for possessing drugs while in prison, and a 2018 conviction for felon in possession of ammunition and possessing cocaine for sale. The only reason Madden was out of custody while having two open felony cases pending against him is because of Gascon’s unlawful policy which did not allow allegations to be filed, combined with his blanket policy which does not allow prosecutors to ask for pretrial bail.

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