February 2019
Volume 4, Issue 2
Dear Friends:
In January, I created the first Mental Health Division in a prosecutor’s office in the state and, possibly, the nation.

The new division underscores my commitment to innovative justice.
Mental Health Division
Bolstering her efforts to help people living with mental illness in the criminal justice system, District Attorney Jackie Lacey created the Mental Health Division.

The division – the first of its kind in California and, possibly, the nation – brings together deputy district attorneys whose cases involve defendants who have been declared incompetent to stand trial or are seeking alternative sentences due to their mental illness.

“Our goal is to protect the public and to assist people in getting the mental health and other services they need to be productive members of our community,” District Attorney Lacey said during a Jan. 23 news conference. “We also want to make sure that jails and prisons are reserved for the most serious and violent offenders.”

The division builds on District Attorney Lacey’s innovative leadership in seeking a more just and effective criminal justice system for people living with mental illness.

The division's 12 deputy district attorneys will provide guidance to the office’s roughly 1,000 prosecutors on how to resolve cases involving those who commit offenses and whose untreated mental illness, historically, has resulted in longer incarceration terms and mental deterioration.

The Mental Health Division will assist deputy district attorneys facing questions about potential diversion cases and court motions made under a new pretrial mental health diversion law.

An important internal policy component of this effort is District Attorney Lacey’s directive that allows deputy district attorneys to consider a defendant’s mental health when deciding if they should participate in a diversion program.

“With this policy, I am encouraging my lawyers to make courageous decisions and do the right thing,” District Attorney Lacey said. “We must make informed decisions to ensure public safety and help another human being in crisis.”

Since taking office in 2012, District Attorney Lacey has undertaken several initiatives to address the needs of people with mental illness, including providing free mental health awareness training to more than 1,400 first responders from smaller police agencies.
Fraud Alert
  Significant Cases
When an unknown caller asks for personal or financial information, just hang up.

When someone calls and says an urgent matter requires immediate payment, just hang up.

Read the Fraud Alert and watch the video here .
  • A former Pasadena city employee was sentenced to 14 years behind bars. Learn how he and a contractor embezzled roughly $3.5 million in city money over a decade.

  • A 24-year-old woman was sentenced to two years in prison for a violent road rage attack in a Beverly Hills supermarket parking lot. Read more about the altercation.

  • An elderly woman was hit and killed by a driver while crossing an East Los Angeles street. Find out how much time the driver faces in prison.
Meet the District Attorney's Special Counsel
Whenever the law changes, prosecutors and law enforcement officials turn to Devallis Rutledge to tell them what they need to know.

Rutledge, an attorney and former police officer, serves as special counsel to District Attorney Jackie Lacey. He reviews legislation, ballot measures and court decisions and explains their real-life impact to those in the trenches.

“Devallis is the answer man,” said Joseph Esposito, the office’s chief deputy district attorney. “His talent for quickly analyzing court rulings and new laws and explaining them clearly makes him an outstanding resource for our office and for law enforcement agencies.”

Rutledge has dedicated his professional life to training.

He was one of the first people in California to offer help to law enforcement officials as they implemented Proposition 47, which, among other changes, reclassified certain theft and drug possession offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. The measure was approved by voters on Nov. 4, 2014.

The very next day – when the law took effect – Rutledge issued a two-page update that quickly and thoroughly outlined the law’s impact. He also created a seven-minute video that explained to law enforcement personnel what they needed to know about the change in the law.

His popular training memos, called a "One-Minute Brief," are emailed to more than 3,000 people and agencies around the state. They explore ongoing legal issues and how new court rulings affect criminal cases.

With renewed emphasis on reforming California’s criminal justice system, Rutledge’s summaries are more sought after than ever. He covers issues on search warrants and access to cell-phone tower data.

Last month, he spelled out why entering an off-limits room in a business and stealing property – even during business hours – is burglary and not shoplifting.

He has published nearly 330 One-Minute Briefs since 2005. Rutledge also has authored 11 instructional books on topics such as criminal evidence, search and seizure law and interrogation law and tactics. He updates those books regularly.
In Case You Missed It
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby joined FOX 11 News In Depth with Hal Eisner to discuss the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Click here to watch the full interview on “MLK’s Lasting Legacy.”
Photo courtesy of Fox 11 Los Angeles via @HalEisner
Did You Know...?
The District Attorney’s Office provided services to 18,856 crime victims in 2018. Of those, 10,801 (57%) were Latino; 3,547 (19%) were African-American; 2,363 (13%) were white; and 620 (3%) were Asian/Pacific Islanders. The office provides victim services throughout Los Angeles County, except in the city of Los Angeles, which has its own program.
Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office | (213) 974-3512 | info@da.lacounty.gov

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