April 2017
Volume 2, Issue 4
Dear Friends:

This is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. It is a time when we recognize those people and groups who help support victims of crime. It also is a special time for this office. It has been 40 years since we established what is now the Bureau of Victim Services.

To learn more, watch the video to your right and read my full message.
Spotlight: DUI Training and
Prosecution Section

Impaired driving due to alcohol and drugs is a chronic problem that endangers public safety.

With voter approval of Proposition 64, which in November legalized recreational marijuana use in California, law enforcement officials began looking for new and novel ways to address the public safety issues.

In January, District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced the creation of the DUI Training and Prosecution Section (DTAPS) to provide training on effectively prosecuting these cases – with a special focus on driving under the influence of drugs – and to work with law enforcement to increase the number of drug recognition experts in the county.

“We in law enforcement must be prepared to aggressively investigate and prosecute vehicular deaths and injuries caused by impaired drivers,” District Attorney Lacey said. “It is still a crime for any person to get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs – whether legally obtained or not.”

DTAPS prosecutors work closely with law enforcement and the Scientific Services Bureau of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. They train trial deputy district attorneys so they have a deep understanding of the practices used in the investigation of impaired driving cases. They training includes instruction on in-field evaluations for driver impairment and the technical aspects of forensic toxicology.

Prosecutors in the new section also screen vehicular homicide cases in which the suspects were accused of driving under the influence. The prosecutors provide consultation and support to deputy district attorneys handling the cases and, in some instances, prosecute cases themselves.

The program is funded by a $858,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It aims to prevent impaired driving and reduce alcohol and drug-related fatalities and injuries.

Fraud Alert
    Significant Cases
As Tax Day nears, many seniors may get calls or emails from people identifying themselves as Internal Revenue Service or Franchise Tax Board agents – but, in reality, they are crooks looking to make a quick buck.

  • A former employee of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power pleaded no contest to 27 felony counts for misappropriating more than $4 million in public funds. Learn about what punishment he faces. 

  • Two clothing manufacturing executives and their accountant were sentenced for their roles in a $3.8 million workers’ compensation fraud scheme. Discover more about the case. 

  • A South Los Angeles man was charged with brandishing a replica gun at a police officer in an incident that led to an officer-involved shooting. Find out more about the charges.
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Japanese Attorney Visits Office,
Observes Prosecutors at Work

Japan’s Ministry of Justice was looking for guidance in how other prosecutorial agencies address witness immunity and leniency.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is where officials in Tokyo turned.

Attorney Naoya Maeda of the Ministry of Justice travelled from Tokyo to Los Angeles in January and has received an up-close, two-month-long look at the largest local prosecutorial office in the United States that few outsiders have experienced.

He said his time in Los Angeles was spurred by a call in Japan to update criminal justice procedures. There have been demands for reform based on criticism that the Japanese criminal justice system relies too heavily on confessions of the accused.

Maeda has explored the District Attorney’s procedures involving the proper handling of cooperating witnesses and informants. Throughout his time here, he has consulted with Professional Responsibility Advisor Cynthia Nakao. He also has met with District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

He has spent time observing and discussing issues with prosecutors in the Hardcore Gang, Major Crimes, Major Narcotics, Public Integrity and White Collar Crime divisions and the Norwalk and Long Beach branch offices. He also took in a Project LEAD class with Deputy District Attorney Scott Dominguez.

The volume of cases, the number of prosecutors and the pace of work were striking to Maeda.

During a meeting with Paul Nunez, assistant head deputy in the Hardcore Gang Division, “we were constantly being interrupted,” Maeda said. “People were coming to him with question after question.”

He said he was impressed not only with the legal knowledge of District Attorney personnel but also their character.

“I think people working here fully understand how important what they are doing is (and are) proud of it,” Maeda said.

 “This has been a great opportunity to build a relationship between the Ministry of Justice and the District Attorney’s Office,” he said. “I hope this good relationship will continue forever.”

Did You Know...?

Former District Attorney John Van de Kamp, who passed away on March 15, established what is now known as the Bureau of Victim Services. In 1977, Van de Kamp saw the need to improve services for crime victims and provide them legal protections. The office’s dedication to serving crime victims is one of Van de Kamp’s enduring legacies.
Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office | (213) 974-3512  | info@da.lacounty.gov

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