The Fresno County District Attorney has criticized the Governor of California as 'either ignorant... or a liar' over comments he made praising the work state laws have done to reduce crime, despite an uptick in crime rates.
Fox News reports that Governor Gavin Newsom previously claimed that work done by Proposition 47, Proposition 57 and Assembly Bill 109 had all helped to reduce crime in California.
And now he seems to have suggested that more work needs to be carried out by law enforcement officers and state attorneys if the state is going to see reduced crime rates.
However, hitting back at Newsom, Fresno District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp said that he should be 'ashamed of himself' and that the laws he had praised were in fact 'not doing anything to stop' crime in the state.
Governor Gavin Newsom (pictured on November 10, 2021) has appeared to suggest law enforcement officers and state DAs need to do more to help tackle the growing crime rate in California
Proposition 47 was passed by California voters on November 5, 2014.
It made some 'non-violent' property crimes, where the value of the stolen goods does not exceed $950, into misdemeanors.
It also made some 'simple' drug possession offenses into misdemeanors, and allows past convictions for these charges to be reduced to a misdemeanor by a court.
Under California law, though, if two or more person's conspire to 'cheat and defraud any person or any property, by any means which are in themselves criminal' they can face no more than one year in county prison, a fine of $10,000 or a combination of the two.
The three state laws were introduced under former Governor Jerry Brown, under whom Newsom had worked for eight years.
Proposition 47 downgraded some felonies to misdemeanors, Proposition 57 reduced prison sentences and Assembly Bill 109 moved detainees from state prisons to local jails.
However, contrary to Newsom's comments, the number of high profile murders taking place in California has been on the rise.
Homicides in LA have grown nearly 40 per cent since 2019 after the county reported nearly 400 murders at the end of 2021.
In 2019, LA reported a total of 252 homicides, the lowest since 2014.
Then in 2020, murders shot up to 343 and continued to rise in 2021 as LA reported 397 deaths by the end of the year.
Turning attention from the three laws he had praised, Newsom also seemed to suggest more work needed to be done by law enforcement officers and district attorneys.
He said: 'We need arrests and we need prosecution. We need people held to account. No one condones that behavior – quite the contrary.'
He added that he believes Proposition 47 has been used as an excuse not to make arrests or hold people accountable for their crimes.
Hitting back at Newsom, Fresno District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp (pictured) said that he should be 'ashamed of himself' for blaming state law enforcement and that the laws he had praised were in fact 'not doing anything to stop' crime in the state
Responding to Newsom's comments, Smittcamp said: 'It's not deterring [crime], it's not preventing it. It's not doing anything to stop this, which is why it just keeps getting worse and worse and we keep seeing more bold behaviors, we keep seeing more criminals who are empowered.'
On Newsom's calls for state law enforcement to be doing more, Smittcamp said: 'He should be ashamed of himself. This is the environment that he created. And he's either ignorant of the statistics, or he's a liar.'
She added that state laws such as Proposition 47 had weakened the legal system in California and she accused Newsom himself of trying to destroy the state's law enforcement.
The war of words comes as LA reported a yearly surge in crime, despite an overall dip at the end of last month.
A number of high profile murders have been committed in recent months, including those of Brianna Kupfer, 24; Sandra Shells, 70; and Jacqueline Avant, 81.
Murders in Los Angeles reached an all time high in 2021 as the LA Police Department reported 397 homicides. The homicide rate took a sharp increase after Gascon took office in 2020
The end of 2021 saw a drop in crime rate in an otherwise violent year with record high murders
LA crime is on the upswing, according to police statistics. Shooting victims have increased 10.6 percent year-to-year and 53 percent from the same point in 2019
Shells, an ER nurse, was allegedly struck in the face without provocation by Kerry Bell, 48, a homeless man, as she waited for a bus to take her to work.
Shells succumbed to her injuries three days later.
'Sandy was a very hard worker. Very private person, stayed to herself but she was always working. I think her whole job, her