Los Angeles, CA – Today, August 30th, outside the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles the family of Michelle Avan, a bank executive and community leader who was brutally murdered, was joined by Tania Owen who is the widow to the late LASD Sergeant Steve Owen and the family members of other victims whose lives were lost due to violent crime. They met to discuss the effect that the numerous policy changes made by DA Gascon pose to their cases.
Special Directive 20-08 is one such policy change that was issued by Gascon on his first day in office. In Special Directive 20-08, Gascon prohibits the filing of sentence enhancements and sentencing allegations from being filed in any cases. It is one of a series of such directives that have been hotly contested and the subject of much dispute in the months since being ordered. The Avan family voiced concerns that failing to file special circumstances on this case could result in a 2nd degree murder charge that might only see a sentence of 7 years for the brutal taking of a life.
This directive, along with others in the series issued, have also been repeatedly cited as reasons for the recall effort that is underway and that Gascon is facing. Recall Gascon Now co-chair Harriette Reid issued the following statement on this case,
“Mr. Gascon argues his policies are an attempt to reform a system rooted slavery and racism, but too many victims are persons of color and this is just another example of a crime committed against a Black woman not seeing appropriate charges filed and risking injustice to her and her family. As a Black woman, myself, I believe the law should be equitably enforced and the murderer of Ms. Avan should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. In this way the District Attorney’s office can show that all Black lives really do matter. It is this fundamental belief that has led me to be a co-chair in the Recall Gascon Now movement.