Gascón “personally opposed” to the Death Penalty

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

Published on May 19, 2011 with 3 Comments

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. Photos by Luke Thomas.

By Luke Thomas

May 19, 2011

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón revealed yesterday he is personally opposed to the death penalty.

“I am personally against the death penalty,” Gascón, who is seeking election at large in November, told FCJ, “but I cannot say categorically that I will not follow the law of the State.”

Gascón made the comment yesterday following his appearance at the 2011 Justice Summit organized by Public Defender Jeff Adachi where he was one of four panelists discussing the future of the death penalty.

Sixteen states have so far abolished the death penalty.

Sitting beside Gascón on the panel was former death-row inmate John T. Thompson who spent 14 years in Louisiana’s notorious Angola prison before being exonerated of his 1985 conviction for murder.

Thompson made several pleas to Gascón during the discussion asking him to reconsider his position on the death penalty.

“I ask that you reconsider your position on the death penalty and to join in the fight to abolish the death penalty,” Thompson said looking at Gascón, adding that the criminal justice system is tainted by racism and over zealous prosecutors more interested in conviction rates than justice. Thompson’s conviction and death sentence was overturned when it was discovered exculpatory evidence was deliberately withheld at trial.

Former death row inmate JT Thomspon pleas with District Attorney George Gascón to join the fight to abolish the death penalty.

Gascón made headlines in January shortly after his swearing in by former Mayor Gavin Newsom when he told reporters he is “not philosophically opposed to the death penalty.”

His comment yesterday appears to be a softening of his public position on the death penalty in a city where it is estimated 20 to 30 percent of voters are opposed to State-sanctioned murder.

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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  • Gascon in a walk,

    As the candidate of the Downtown crowd Gascon wouldn’t have gotten that 30% of the population that hates the death penalty vote anyway. Progs don’t have a viable D.A. candidate. It would be interesting to see Gonzalez challenge Gascon while Adachi runs for Mayor.

    Giants are back in First Place!


  • greg kamin

    I’m so sick of this tap dance bullshit. What the hell does “personally opposed” mean? I’ve heard the same mealy mouthed response from Sharmin Bock. Of course we know what it really means -it means that the politician wants the votes of the anti-death penalty majority, while at the same time sending signals to the conservative base that s/he will totally use the death penalty.

    Enough of this “personally opposed” crap. The media needs to press the politicians to be crystal clear: Will you USE the death penalty? Yes or No.

  • dalysux

    so he was for it, then he’s not for it, then he realized OMG Im running for office in SF, better be against it, and once in office he’ll be for it, but not for it.

    It’s really hilarious how progs are getting their asses kicked in this election cycle. Between Avalos, a rookie, Chiu (backstabber) and watching other so-called progressive tap dance to downtown’s tune, to the fact that progs have NO CANDIDATE WORTH SUPPORTING in the DA’s race?

    Wow, what a pack of fuck ups.