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Thursday, February 24, 2011

DA Candidates In The News

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich Backs-Off Jail Time for Protesters

The Political Pantloads Blog portrayed Trutanich alongside Stalin and Mubarak
in reference to the erstwhile "People's Lawyer's" aggressive stance against political protesters.
 Perhaps sensing that his "aggressive stance" against political protesters isn't proving to be a winning strategy with Los Angelenos, stealth DA candidate Carmen Trutanich appears to be backing-off his jail time demands. In a breakfast drive time interview with KABC AM790's Peter Tilden, Trutanich sounded subdued, distracted and perhaps even despondent as he was drilled by his one-time BFF and DUI Marijuana guinea pig over his jail time demands.

As both Tilden and co-host Teressa Strasser railed on Trutanich expressing their incredulity at his jail time demands, Trutanich suddenly said "There's not going to be any time!"

Perhaps Trutanich should have made his volte face clear to his other BFF, LA Times columnist Steve Lopez, who once again blasted Trutanich over his mishandling of this event.

Trutanich is believed to have retained the services of campaign strategist John Shallman for his stealth campaign to become DA in 2012. Perhaps Trutanich should pay closer attention to the advice of experts, but then again, leopards don't change their spots.

There is little doubt that Trutanich will have to admit defeat over his micro-management of "Political ProtesterGate," and give the protesters the fine and infraction that was the practice established by his predecessor Rocky Delgadillo for over enthusiastic protesters with otherwise unblemished records.

Regardless of when and how Trutanich backs-down from his jail time demands, the damage to Trutanich's political aspirations appears to be significant. Doubts are now being cast as to Trutanich's veracity over his claims that there were "professional protesters" and that an ambulance was prevented from accessing a hospital during the protest. Memories of the Micheal Jackson memorial "criminal aspects" investigation come to mind.

Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers 

Meyers scored well in the "newsworthiness" category this week with her name making the headlines all over the world because of the Lindsay Lohan case.


Although celebrity news source TMZ is giving Meyers a great deal of exposure and valuable name recognition, they certainly are not doing her any favors with their photo choices.

Meyers also announced a couple of endorsements to boost her campaign. Compton Mayor (and fellow Deputy District Attorney) Eric Perrodin gave his endorsement to Meyers, as did His Excellency Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, former Prime Minister of Tanzania, President of the United Nations Security Council, and Special Envoy to the Darfur Conflict.

Assistant District Attorney Jackie Lacey - Fundraiser This Saturday

 Dragnet's roving reporter will be at Lacey's campaign kick-off event on Saturday night, so stay tuned for news of whether Carmen Trutanich makes another unscheduled surprise visit armed with some more calligraphic scrolls.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

DA Union Loses Lawsuit - All Deputy DAs May Be Forced to Pay for Folly

The Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys' website
talks about preliminary victories in their lawsuits, but makes no mention
of a huge loss, confirmed on appeal. Will all Deputy DAs have to pay?
A number of comments on Dragnet have been posted attacking candidates who are considered to be "anti-labor." Although the comments are anonymous, it is highly likely that the authors are associated with the ADDA - the Association of Deputy District Attorneys.

Ironically, the ADDA is hardly "pro-labor" itself, having endorsed right wing Republican John Eastman during the 2009 primary election for State Attorney General. Nevertheless, the ADDA  appears maintain the appearance of a typical "pro labor" association.

Forgive the cynicism, but appearances can be deceptive and it does appear that the ADDA is not fully informing those who might be affected by significant developments.

We therefore repeat here a couple of comments received this evening, the contents of which are self explanatory:

A Deputy DA said...

    OMG The 'Union" thing again @ 10:16am. The so-called DA's union that endorsed John Eastman, the extreme right-wing candidate for Attorney General. That "labor" organization, right.

    Hmmm, has anyone bothered to see what the so-called DA's "union" is up to? How about stealthily going around setting up a "vote" to force all deputy DA's in grades I through IV have $900 a year withdrawn from their salaries for compulsory "union dues."

    Think I'm joking? Take a look at 189 Cal. App. 4th 801. Looks like the "union" has a $160k problem and wants all the deputy DA's to pick up the tab.

    For all their bragging and bloviating about winning preliminary rulings in "Federal lawsuits," the ADDA who endorsed right wing ultra conservative John Eastman, are keeping their mouths tightly shut about how they LOST a lawsuit at trial, and then again on appeal, because they did not follow their own bylaws.

    As a result the ADDA are now are left with having to pay $60,000 in attorney fees for LOSING at trial, and a further $100,000 for LOSING on appeal, and guess what? They want the rank and file Deputy DAs to be forced to pay for their folly.

    There is not a mention of this case on the ADDA website. So come on "Windscale" I've given you the story. How about you have the guts to write about it?

    February 17, 2011 9:02 PM

and

Another Deputy DA said...

    189 Cal. App. 4th 801 is the case of Peter Burke vs. Steven Ipsen et al.

    Looks like Burke, a deputy DA, sued Ipsen and the Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys (union) because Ipsen didn't follow the rules and hold an election when and how he was supposed to, and then amended the ADDA bylaws inappropriately.

    This is typical of the way this so-called union operates - they do something under the radar, and then try to tell members that it was all done in accordance with the rules they make up to suit their purposes.

    So the trial court agreed with Burke and awarded him his attorney's fees ($60k). Instead of obeying the court's order, Ipsen appealed, and on October 29, 2010, the Court of Appeal rejected Ipsen's arguments and also awarded Burke his attorney's fees for the appeal, which are around $100k.

    So now the "union" doesn't have the $160k to pay for screwing up, and they want us to pay for their stupidity? I don't think so.

    So far this "union" has been the problem not the solution. They claim to be 'labor' but they endorsed an extreme right wing candidate for AG - John Eastman.

    Ipsen and his appointed replacement Seligman have manipulated the truth about the Burke case. As a member of this union, I have not received any notice of this case, and neither have I heard anything about them trying to force me, and everyone else at the DA's office, to pay $900 a year so they can pay off their debts.

    I hope the Dragnet has the balls to write about this.

    February 17, 2011 10:45 PM
   

The ADDA website, http://la-adda.com/, makes no reference to either the "compulsory" $900 a year "union dues" nor the loss of the lawsuit.

One can only assume that the ADDA hopes to fund their estimated debt of $160,000 in attorney fees through membership dues, and that might explain why there's no reference to either matter on the ADDA website.


Those who have received communications from the ADDA regarding either the "Closed Shop" mandatory union dues proposal, or the results of the Burke v. Ispen lawsuit and its funding are free to comment here to correct any inaccuracies.

Equally, those who wish to express their dissent and disapproval of the way the ADDA conducts its affairs, often claiming to "represent" all Deputy DAs, when that could not be further from the truth, are welcome to voice their opinions.

Hopefully a healthy debate here might lead to a more representative organization.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

District Attorney Candidates Campaigns Take Shape

Although the primary election is 16 months away, the candidates are not letting the grass grow. We now list some of the developments we are aware of.


Assistant District Attorney Jackie Lacey Kicks Off Campaign With Fundraiser



On Saturday, February 26, 2011, Jackie Lacey will hold a meet and greet fundraiser to kick off her campaign.  For $45 meet Jackie, enjoy a buffet dinner, and enjoy a screening of an award winning independent film entitled "Barakumentary." The film documents a young man's personal journey from Los Angeles (Leimert Park) to Washington, D. C., in January 2009, to witness the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. The film won an award at a New York Independent Film festival but has never been shown in Los Angeles. The film makers will be present to introduce the film.
RSVP to JackieLaceyDA2012@gmail.com by Februrary 24.

It's a grass roots start, but with moves afoot in Sacramento to change the date of the Presidential Primary from February to coincide with the DA and State Primaries in June 2012, it could be that a grass roots campaign will give Lacey the support she needs to secure the top slot in the November run-off.

Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers' Campaign Website Now Live


I don't know if our previous report provided Danette with the spur to launch her website, www.DanetteForDA.com, or if it was just coincidence, but her campaign website is now live.

We understand that Meyers was also an add-on speaker at today's Beverly Hills Bar Association lunch time event at Lawry's in Beverly Hills. Aptly, for Meyers who is handling the Lindsay Lohan case, the event was entitled "Celebrities In Crisis" and Meyers joined Attorneys Mark Geragos, Blair Berk and PR Guru Stan Rosenfield to discuss the do's and don'ts of handling celebrity cases.

Deputy District Attorney Mario Trujillo Working Hard For March Launch

We understand that Trujillo's been "meeting the right people" in the community and is targeting early March for the launch of his campaign website as well as some serious fundraising. As Trujillo made clear when he formally announced his candidacy at the Mexican American Bar Association's Annual Installation Gala, he's not shy asking supporters for money, and our sources tell us that he's going to be asking for big numbers.  

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich to Likely to Fight Council Plans to Outsource Criminal Prosecution

City Attorney Carmen 'Nuch' Trutanich's 'aggressive stance' towards
political protesters likened to that of Stalin and Mubarak
(Credit: Political Pantloads Blog)
 If there was outrage at Trutanich's threat not to prosecute crimes because of budget cuts, his decision to somehow find the money to allow him to take personal charge of prosecuting political protesters is believed to have caused many Los Angeles City Councilmembers to take the 'Perry Mason Proposal' to strip Trutanich of power to prosecute misdemeanor crimes even more seriously.

The Perry Mason Proposal calls for the City Council to investigate the financial advantages attendant to contracting with the District Attorney's Office for the prosecution of misdemeanor crimes. The move could save the City millions of dollars, but perhaps now even more importantly, strip Trutanich of the ability to selectively prosecute those he does not agree with.

Many see Trutanich's vow to jail the political protesters as abusive of his powers. That is, perhaps, particularly so because he is personally overriding the City Attorney's Office long-established policy of handling peaceful law-breaking political protesters by way of an informal office hearing or perhaps an infraction fine. Additionally, Trutanich's "aggressive stance" appears to be out of touch with reality and lacking perspective at a time when the rest of the free world is saluting the actions of peaceful political protesters in the Middle East.

Trutanich is likely to vigorously oppose any plan to strip him of the power to handle criminal prosecutions, however, he is on the record for saying that he does not have sufficient resources to do so, and his own statements could be his biggest problem in fending off this proposal.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Trutanich Taken To Task by Times

OPINION

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich received harsh criticism from the Los Angeles Times this past weekend over his decision to seek jail sentences for political protestors. The criticism was richly deserved and perhaps marks the beginning of the end for the 'People's Lawyer,' the honeymoon is well and truly over, and divorce papers are being filed. 

In his Friday 'Talk Back' piece, LA Times' columnist Steve Lopez rhetorically asks "Is Carmen Trutanich L.A.'s Mubarak?" Lopez proceeds to answer in the affirmative, concluding "But in threatening to lock up dozens of protesters involved in various demonstrations, giving them up to a year of jail time, Trutanich looks like the bully his critics have long accused him of being."

Lopez's criticism of Trutanich must be particularly upsetting for Trutanich who is believed to have worked very hard to turn Lopez from a critic to a supporter. They've not only shared coffee and cigars together, but Trutanich recently invited Lopez to 'get high' and then participate in a test to 'evaluate' driver impairment while under the influence of marijuana.

Although not reported, it's not hard to imagine Trutanich giving Lopez exactly the same "mano-a-mano" treatment he probably gave Jim Newton as reported by TRU is False; the overly firm handshake followed by the bear-hug, then the teary-eyed "I'm just trying to do my job'" line, followed by a concluding "We'll be friends for life" close-the-deal line. 

Yet all the hard work Trutanich must have put in on Lopez appears to be for naught, and Lopez now joins a growing line of critics who tag Trutanich as a bully.

With the ink on Lopez's 'Talk Back' condemnation scarcely dry, long-time critic 'Mulholland Terrace' was quick to follow-up with his own thoughts regarding Trutanich's Mubarak mien. Muholland Terrace, an accomplished journalist in his own right, prefers the use of a pseudonym where he now blogs at the Street-Hassle blog. 'MT' was, perhaps, the first to label Trutanich a 'bully' and was certainly the first to refer to Trutanich as "Carmen the Clown" while blogging at the Mayor Sam blog, then the Griffith Park Wayist blog. It was there that 'MT' was warned or as some might say, 'threatened,' with an action in defamation from a Trutanich staffer. Perhaps a harbinger of Trutanich's attitude towards freedom of speech.

But if Trutanich thought (hoped?) the storm had died down on Friday, he was wrong. Tim Rutten penned Saturday and Sunday's LA Times op-ed piece entitled "Not fit to be tried" in which Rutten accuses Trutanich of being "overzealous in filing charges against nonviolent protesters." Rutten picks up on the Mubarak analogy saying "From the hysterical reaction of two local prosecutors, you'd think Southern California suddenly had become Paris in 1848 — or, maybe, contemporary Cairo." The other 'local prosecutor' being Orange County DA Tony Rackauckas.   

But if Trutanich hoped that he could share the shame with Rackauckas, Rutten went a stage further, picking up on the 'bully' theme saying that "Trutanich seems to have formed his notion of prosecutorial discretion during an earlier career as a schoolyard bully."

Rutten also validated a less well known, but equally unsavory attribute of Trutanich's; his micro-managing idiosyncrasies. Trutanich, he notes, "has reversed his office's policy of treating arrests during the course of nonviolent political protests as infractions that could be resolved in informal hearings resulting in fines." Career prosecutors at the City Attorney's Office are, it seems, incapable of handling political protestors without Trutanich's hands-on intervention lest the offenders do what? Protest again? Clearly Trutanich does not abide recidivist political protesters.

Rutten was savagely dismissive of Trutanich's claim that he was seeking substantial jail time as these were "professional protesters." Rutten notes that Trutanich's claim would be "laughable if Trutanich didn't have a by-now unfortunately demonstrable history of playing fast and loose with the truth to support the insupportable." Rutten, perhaps alluding to Trutanich's 'criminal aspects' investigation into the AEG Michael Jackson memorial which ended abruptly after a year, without comment from Trutanich, but contemporaneous with a rather surprising donation from AEG; a pair of Lady Gaga tickets to Trutanich's Officeholder Committee.

Trutanich has yet to officially confirm his candidacy for Los Angeles District Attorney in 2012, and seems to have enjoyed toying with the press over his true intentions. Perhaps the gentlemen of the press have tired of Trutanich's schoolyard antics, seen through his crass attempts to endear himself to them, and are beginning to see what a number of others have already seen; a bully.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

District Attorney Candidates In The News

The five candidates who have so far confirmed their candidacies to be elected as Los Angeles County District Attorney in 2012 all made news this week. We take a look at their efforts and leave the comments to you.
 
Assistant District Attorney Jackie Lacey Launches Website

Jackie Lacey's website www.JackieLacey.com went live this week.
The campaign website for Assistant District Attorney Jackie Lacey went 'live' this week, as Lacey continues to press the flesh and spread the word of her campaign. In answer to the rhetorical question "Who is Jacquelyn 'Jackie' Lacey?" we get this:

"Jackie Lacey is an Assistant District Attorney in the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, the nation's largest local prosecutorial agency. A trusted and respected leader, she is one of the highest ranking prosecutors in the office and has held a variety of executive positions over the past 10 years.

Committed to improving the lives of Los Angeles County residents, Jackie has overseen the development of programs to track and stop street gangs and prosecute graffiti and animal cruelty cases. Her responsibilities include weighing in on the office's most critical issues – such as high-profile prosecutions and death-penalty case reviews.

She is in charge of the largest section of the office, leading roughly 40 executives and managers who in turn supervise more than 500 prosecutors. A top adviser, she assists the District Attorney in the selection and evaluation of managers in the office.

Jackie is planning to run to be the next District Attorney of Los Angeles County. She believes that her 26-year career as a prosecutor and her record of leadership make her the most qualified candidate. Jackie is committed to advancing the office's efforts to develop groundbreaking crime-fighting initiatives.

Please join Jackie Lacey's journey by donating or volunteering for her campaign today!"


So go to www.JackieLacey.com to sign up.

Lacey also made the news in today's Pasadena Weekly who reported that Lacey joined  Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Michael A. Tynan and John Lonerga at Thursday's noon hour event at the Donald Wright Auditorium of the Pasadena Public Library entitled, “When Our Warriors Return Home: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Our Justice System.”

Underlining Lacey's commitment to seek alternative solutions to the "Lock 'em up and throw away the keys" solution to tackling crime, Lacey serves on the steering committee of a "Veteran's Court," established last year in Department 42 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Under this pilot program, veterans suffering from mental health problems stemming from US military service can receive treatment as an alternative to incarceration for nonviolent felonies.


Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson Pitches Cricket As An Exit Strategy For Gang Members

Like Lacey, Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson also made the news for his approval of alternative solutions to traditional problems. The BBC reported on Jackson's support for the Compton Cricket team. "The team's success has impressed the law enforcement authorities in Los Angeles. It has been praised by the Los Angeles police Department and has won the respect of a senior prosecutor, who has made a career out of taking gang members to court" said Peter Bowes, BBC News Los Angeles.

"There is a ton of unmitigated violence, gang warfare, with innocent victims being slain every day, but that's not necessarily what defines the city of Compton," Jackson told the BBC. He said cricket - as opposed to traditional American sports - was an "excellent starting point" in trying to revive the city.

As we've previously mentioned, Jackson has an enviable website, www.AlanJacksonForDA.com.

Deputy District Attorney Mario Trujillo's Candidacy Widely Reported

The LA Weekly, Metropolitan News Enterprise, and The Downey Patriot all reported on Mario Trujillo's announcement of his candidacy at the Mexican American Bar Association's 51st Annual Installation and Gala at LA Live's JW Marriott Hotel.

As previously reported, Trujillo's vision for the DA's Office also looks to alternative solutions to the revolving door model of  the criminal justice system, and we understand that his placeholder website, www.MarioTrujilloForDA.com is soon to go "live" with more information.

Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers Takes Tough Line On Lindsay Lohan

Just Google "Danette Meyers" to see how much publicity the third candidate for Los Angeles District Attorney has garnered this week over the decision to file criminal charges against Lindsay Lohan for the alleged theft of a necklace. Meyers is making the news worldwide with this case which will doubtless continue to attract media attention as it wends its way through the criminal justice system.

Interestingly, Meyers' campaign website, www.DanetteForDA.com, now re-directs to a FaceBook page, perhaps suggesting that Meyers will seek to harness the power of the internet to fuel her campaign.

City Attorney Trutanich Vows To Punish Political Protesters

Like Meyers, Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is also taking a traditional "tough on crime" approach to define his candidacy. Trutanich made the news this week in the Los Angeles Times with his promise to take an "aggressive stance" against political protesters, in contrast to the previous policy of treating exuberant, if annoying, expressions of political speech as infractions or even amenable to informal office hearings.

Some might find Trutanich's determination to use the full might of the criminal justice system to punish political protesters as utterly inconsistent with Trutanich's claim that the recent budget cuts has limited his ability to prosecute crimes. Nevertheless, Trutanich appears to be fully able to deploy all the necessary prosecutorial resources to pursue this case at his whim.

Perhaps when the realities of using (or as some say, abusing) the crushing might of the criminal justice system on political protesters dawns on Trutanich, he might consider his folly with the AEG/Michael Jackson memorial 'criminal aspects' investigation and seek a rapid exit strategy.

As yet, Trutanich does not have a District Attorney campaign website, and his City Attorney campaign website, www.Tru09.com has been deactivated and now seems to sell Japanese digital cameras. Perhaps the removal of the City Attorney's campaign website was calculated to limit access to Trutanich's signed, sworn pledge to serve a full first term as City Attorney, and not to use the City Attorney's Office as a political springboard to the District Attorney's Office, where his micro-managing, self-aggrandizing, Machiavellian idiosyncrasies are not welcomed by some.

With four out of ten potential candidates now fully engaged in their campaigns and Trutanich (who appears to have no concept of the word 'credibility') conducting what can best be described as a stealth campaign, we will keep a watching brief on their strategies.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Trujillo Confirms Candidacy for District Attorney 2012


Saying that the time had come for Los Angeles to have a Latino District Attorney, Deputy District Attorney Mario Trujillo announced his candidacy to a capacity crowd at the Mexican American Bar Association's 51st Annual Installation and Gala at LA Live's JW Marriott ballroom.

Trujillo's announcement was widely expected, and Trujillo chose the ideal place to make it; the applause from the 500+ audience was resounding. In a short, to the point speech Trujillo said of his undertaking not to run if Steve Cooley sought a record fourth term, that "based on private conversations," he believed that Cooley would likely retire. Trujillo explained that he did not want to wait for Cooley to formally announce his retirement, because someone else "who may not work with us, who may not give us the access..." might jump into the race - perhaps a thinly veiled reference to Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich who appears to have alienated a large part of the Latino legal community with his self-aggrandizing buffoonery at last week's SEDBA dinner.

In what was an uncharacteristically wise move, Trutanich did not make an appearance at the MABA dinner, however two other candidates were in attendance, and were well received; Assistant District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace were doing the rounds and pressing the flesh. Both allowed Trujillo to bask in the glory of his moment with his community, and were doubtless taking notes on when and how they will launch their campaigns.

Trujillo gave a glimpse of the likely timbre of his campaign when he said "... every day I see the impact of a prosecutor and what he or she can have on the life of a defendant. We must do the right thing, we're not going to get any more money in this budget, and warehousing young men and women is not what we're about." He also praised Cooley for what he done to temper California's Third Strikes law, suggesting that Trujillo's campaign will change the focus from what we do with career criminals, to the steps we need to take to prevent the creation of career criminals. It's a tall order, but Trujillo stressed that his's 14 years at the DA's Office, and 6 years as a public school teacher, makes him a qualified candidate to bring change to the criminal justice system.

The LA Weekly's Gene Maddaus published an account of Trujillo's announcement with Maddaus noting that Trujillo might not be the first Latino DA, "Gil Garcetti, who is of Mexican and Italian heritage, would seem to have a good claim to that title." Maddaus said.

Trujillo's announcement means that 4 of the 10 candidates that we identified have now stepped up to the plate; Jackie Lacey, Alan Jackson, Danette Meyers and Mario Trujillo. Trutanich's statements that he's waiting to see what Cooley does, are inconsistent with reports of his private statements as well as his securing the services of a campaign consultant.   

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Trutanich's Budget Threat Could Cost Him Criminal Prosecution Role

Budget economies could result in City Attorney Carmen Trutanich (left) having to
cede prosecutions to the District Attorney's Office to prevent the guilty from escaping justice.
(Photo Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich may not be happy with the latest round of budget cuts, but he is likely to be even more unhappy if a proposal to outsource the prosecution of misdemeanor crimes to the District Attorney's Office is taken seriously.

The Los Angeles Dragnet received a copy of an email apparently sent to the Mayor, Controller and Councilmembers proposing that they consider stripping the City Attorney's Office of it's power to prosecute minor (misdemeanor) crimes, and instead contract with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Trutanich's threat that he does not have sufficient staff to prosecute crimes because of the effects of the Mayor's budget cuts, appears to be the motive for the proposal.

The 2-page proposal to hand over minor crime prosecution to
the DA's Office includes considerable detail

The author of the proposal uses the pseudonym 'Perry Mason' apparently because he or she "fears retaliation should my true identity become known."  Certainly the proposal appears to be the work of someone familiar with the workings of criminal justice system. However, it is unclear whether the plan is intended to be taken seriously, or merely to cause Trutanich further embarrassment.

Whatever the intent, the proposal will likely appeal to those in City Hall who feel that Trutanich has abused his position and power. Certainly, Trutanich's recent attempt to gain more power through having his own Grand Jury was very swiftly quashed once the Council became aware of the plan.

The 2-page "Plan to solve City Attorney budget problem" states that Trutanich's threat not to prosecute misdemeanor cases is based on a tactic known as "Block's Bluff," a strategy employed by "the late Sheriff Sherman Block" who successfully fought off budget cuts by threatening to release prisoners.

Where Trutanich's threat fails, according to Mason's plan, is that the Sheriff had the only facility to house prisoners, but the City could use the DA's office to prosecute misdemeanor cases if Trutanich cannot or will not.

The plan states that of the 88 cities in Los Angeles County, many use their City Attorneys to concentrate on civil matters, and contract with the DA's Office for the prosecution of misdemeanor crimes. Mason states that "apparently the DA's Office does a very effective job doing it."

Apart from relieving Trutanich from the burden of prosecuting misdemeanor cases, Mason claims that there are some additional benefits; LAPD would save money by only having to deal with one agency instead of two. Additionally, the DA's Office could probably handle these cases on a contract basis for less than the estimated $23M the City pays in salaries to the City Attorney's office.

As to the actual cost to the taxpayer of Trutanich's criminal division, Mason suggests that City Controller Wendy Greuel conduct an audit, much in the same way that she recently did with Trutanich's Workers Compensation division.

Perhaps anticipating an argument by Trutanich that it is important that the City retains control over the prosecution of minor crime, Mason also states that Trutanich "does not consider these cases to be particularly important" because he allows them to be prosecuted by volunteer law school graduates.

As keen as the Council may be to further limit the City Attorney's powers, those powers are enshrined in the City Charter. And therein lies the rub. Implementing the Plan would almost certainly require a Charter amendment, and that can only occur by the electoral process. Of course, that process could be initiated by motion of the Council, and would certainly make for an interesting debate.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Trujillo To Announce DA Candidacy at MABA Dinner


Deputy District Attorney Mario Trujillo is expected formally announce his candidacy for Los Angeles District Attorney in the 2012 election at the Mexican American Bar Association's 51st Annual Installation and Gala event, according to an article in the Los Angeles Metropolitan News Enterprise. Trujillo is, of course, a former president of MABA.

We previously listed Mario Trujillo as likely to run after Jackie Lacey, Alan Jackson and Danette Meyers had announced their candidacies, and indeed Trujillo has followed through. It remains to be seen whether any of the other potential candidates we've mentioned will follow suit, but perhaps we'll hear something from Assembleymember Mike Feuer and Deputy District Attorney Steve Ipsen soon? They're next up on our list, but so far it's been uncharacteristically quiet, especially from Ipsen ...

Of course it's anything but quiet whenever City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is concerned. The LA Weekly published an article last week where Trutanich "broke the rules" at a San Pedro eatery and "talked politics." Perhaps this was a portend for his impromptu interruption at the South East District Bar Association awards dinner where, coincidentally, Trujillo picked up the Attorney of the Year award.

The MABA agenda for this Saturday night's event at the JW Marriott at LA Live does not list Trutanich as a speaker, however, it does list a "special guest emcee" so it remains to be seen whether there will be a repeat performance from Trutanich.

Tickets for MABA's 51st Annual Installation and Gala event are available from their website. It promises to be an interesting evening.