“Confessed child molester could serve little or no time; prosecutors furious at LA County DA.”
That was the headline on a Fox11.com news story Jan. 9.
Anyone reading that headline would have to think: “How can this be?”
Here is how, as explained in the story:
“It happened on New Year’s Day 2014. James Tubbs walked into a woman’s restroom at Denny’s in Palmdale and hid in a stall. When a 10-year-old girl walked in by herself, he grabbed her and sexually molested her.”
Deputy District Attorney John McKinney, who, unlike his boss Gascón, cares about protecting the people of Los Angeles County from criminal predators, described what happened.
“The assault went on until someone walked into the restroom and scared him off. He fled from the restaurant, and he went unidentified for several years until a cold DNA hit identified him as someone who was arrested in the state of Idaho.”
You may remember the horrible case. You may remember the picture of the assailant at the top of the front page of the newspaper back in 2014. The Denny’s security camera showed him entering the restaurant.
Readers were understandably outraged that a man could stroll into a restaurant in the middle of the day, go into the women’s room and sexually attack a 10-year-old girl.
It was one of those “What is the world coming to?” moments.
Most thought, even though the security photo was not the greatest quality, that the man would be quickly caught. He was not, and the trail went cold, until that 2019 DNA hit from Idaho.
Now the man, James Tubbs is 25, and, thanks to Gascón’s policies, is not headed for a long prison term. In fact, he may be walking among us again soon.
How can this be? Well, Tubbs was days short of his 18th birthday at the time of the crime, and Gascón doesn’t think anyone even one minute under 18 should have his case adjudicated anywhere but in juvenile court.
Thus, Tubbs may be free soon, having been held for just two years since his arrest in Idaho and return to LA County.
As McKinney put it to Fox 11 News: “What is happening is our district attorney is ushering him right out the door, back onto the streets of this county and God knows where else he might roam. It’s madness; it makes a mockery of our criminal justice system.”
Imagine you are a detective who worked on this case and finally got word of the DNA hit that solved it. Yes, you would be outraged, and cops are outraged.
Imagine how the victim and her family must feel.
What is particularly infuriating is that Tubbs went on to commit several more crimes after the 2014 attack.
It’s not like he made one terrible youthful mistake and spent the next six years as a model citizen.
I asked my friend Steve Cooley, the longest-serving DA in LA County history (2000-2014), what he would have done with this case.
“It is simple: You file all charges where the evidence establishes the crime beyond a reasonable doubt after consideration of all plausible defenses. All sentencing enhancements such as prior criminal convictions, infliction of great bodily injury, use of a weapon, etc., should also be alleged.”
Gascón, of course, does not like sentence enhancements. He acts like the public defender, not the DA.
I gave him the name Train Wreck because 1) He is a train wreck, and 2) He declined to charge protesters who nearly derailed a Metrolink train by placing barriers across the tracks, only to have quick-acting cops move them just before the train arrived.
Cooley does not hold back on his opinion of the DA any more than I do. “Gascón’s violation of his oath each and every day leaves one breathless and stunned. There is only one solution — recall DA George Gascón.”
William P. Warford’s column appears every Friday and Sunday.