A Los Angeles District Supreme Court judge allowed the criminal case against Dist's husband. Atty. Jackie Lacey went on Thursday, denying a defense argument that the California Attorney General's decision to pursue the case was inappropriateness.
The attorney general's office filed three misdemeanor charges against David Lacey, 66, last month after he aimed a gun at protesters criticizing his wife during a March confrontation outside the front door of the family home in Granada Hills.
Defense attorney Samuel Tire argued that the attorney general's involvement in the case was inappropriate and violated David Lacey's rights as the Los Angeles prosecutor's charge came under the jurisdiction of the attorney general.
Los Angeles police presented the results of their investigation to the Attorney General's office because Laceys' involvement in the case had led to conflict. The charges against David Lacey are considered "wobblers" under California law, which means they can be brought as a felony or misdemeanor.
Supreme Court Justice Patricia A. Hunter ruled Thursday that the attorney general's office had not misused its discretion to monitor the case. She found that the Lacey family's involvement complicated the situation and required an outside review to ensure public confidence.
David Lacey's "Relationship with the District Attorney, the City Attorney … is exactly why the Attorney General has this discretion," Hunter said.
Chief asst. City of Atty. Mary Claire Malidor also filed a letter to the court in late August endorsing the Attorney General's decision to handle the case.
"We are concerned that our office's involvement in a David Lacey prosecution may appear biased and reduce public confidence in the impartiality and integrity of the criminal justice system," Malidor wrote, also noting that City Atty. Mike Feuer publicly supported Lacey in the November elections, where she is seeking a third term.
On March 2, protesters rang the doorbell of the Laceys just before 6 a.m. after beating drums and singing in the street. David Lacey opened the door and pointed a gun at three protesters. He threatened to shoot them if they didn't leave his porch.
The protesters, including Black Lives Matter organizer Melina Abdullah, were unarmed. Later that morning, Jackie Lacey apologized for her husband's actions during a hastily convened press conference. She has since defended him for acting “out of sincere concern” because of threats made in the weeks leading up to the incident.
Lacey is in a tough re-election campaign with the former San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascón in a race designed as a test of Southern California's appetite for criminal justice reform. Protesters routinely beat Lacey for alleged reluctance to indict police officers in controversial shootings. Sheriff's MPs blocked the road outside the San Fernando courthouse on Thursday morning in anticipation of the demonstrators. No demonstrators appeared.
Tire said he was disappointed with Jäger's decision and was considering asking the appeals court to stay the criminal case against David Lacey, who has not yet appealed the case. The next hearing is scheduled for October 2nd.