March 2017
Volume 2, Issue 3
Dear Friends:

In Los Angeles County and throughout the United States, people are concerned about their immigration status. And I am concerned that people who are seeking legal advice may become the victim of scam artists.

To learn more, watch the video to your right and read my full message.
Spotlight: Charge Evaluation Division

The 17th floor of the downtown Foltz Criminal Justice Center is where the quest for order and the rule of law meet.

The floor houses the District Attorney’s Charge Evaluation Division. About 20 attorneys and a support staff team are responsible for reviewing criminal cases submitted by law enforcement agencies and determining what – if any – charges should be filed.

Deputy district attorneys who make such filing decisions are stationed in courts around the county, but none of them see the volume of cases that are presented – via fax or walked in by police officers and sheriff’s deputies – to the Charge Evaluation Division.

Prosecutors assigned to the division review allegations involving about 18,000 suspects a year, said Head Deputy District Attorney Maria Palomino.

Of those, more than half result in criminal charges being filed after initial review. In a significant percentage of the cases that do not pass that initial review, prosecutors ask law enforcement to conduct further investigation and resubmit the case.

In addition, if prosecutors in the Charge Evaluation Division determine that crimes alleged within the city of Los Angeles do not rise to the seriousness of a felony, those matters may be referred to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for consideration of misdemeanor prosecution.

Insufficient evidence is the most common reason that the division rejects filings.

For example, prosecutors recently declined to file criminal charges against a man accused of driving a stolen vehicle. He and his girlfriend said they borrowed the car from a friend and had no idea it was stolen. The prosecutor concluded there was insufficient evidence to prove the allegation in court beyond a reasonable doubt – the standard of proof for a criminal conviction.

The prosecutors who work the division are veterans of the office with keen ability to determine what cases meet the legal standards to support criminal charges. Several prosecutors spend time working in Los Angeles police stations reviewing evidence for arrest warrants and serving as a resource to officers.

In Case You Missed It. . .

Watch this Channel 36 news story for a behind-the-scenes look at the cutting-edge work of prosecutors and investigators assigned to the Cyber Crime Division.  

Fraud Alert
    Significant Cases
As changes in immigration policy take center stage, people seeking assistance should beware of fake attorneys and “notarios.”

  • A 20-year-old Rosemead man was sentenced to more than 39 years in prison for extorting girls for nude photos. Read more about this “revenge porn” prosecution.

  • A Lancaster man was sentenced for secretly recording women at restaurant bathrooms in the Antelope Valley. Learn how much time he was ordered to spend behind bars.  

  • A 70-year-old Long Beach woman was convicted of helping her ex-husband evade paying state taxes. Discover more about her crime and her sentence. 

Bureau of Victim Services’ 40th Anniversary Walk

Join us on Saturday, April 8, to commemorate 40 years of "Helping Victims Become Survivors."  The event will commence with a Recognition Walk from the Hall of Justice at 9 a.m. followed by the Jubilee at 10 a.m. in Grand Park.
Free parking will be available at the Music Center (Grand Avenue between Temple and First Streets.)

Register by emailing your name and agency to . For additional information contact the District Attorney's Bureau of Victim Services at (626) 927-2500. 

Meet Bert and Skippy
Two new employees have been roaming the corridors of the Hall of Justice. Staff members inevitably recognize the duo by their short legs and golden fur coats.

Their names? Bert and Skippy.

With their handlers Martha Carbajal and Ashley Meyers, the four form the core of the newly created Bureau of Victims Services K-9 Unit.

Unlike detection dogs trained to sniff out drugs, explosives or other dangerous elements, facility dogs are a whole other breed.

Skippy, a Yellow Labrador, and Bert, a Yellow Labrador and Golden Retriever, offer support for child abuse and sexual assault victims.

Scientific research shows caressing an animal produces short-term decreases in blood pressure and heart rate as well as diminishes feelings of loneliness.

For many victims, interacting with prosecutors and testifying in public courtrooms trigger adverse mental and physical responses.

Allowing a victim to pet a facility dog during interviews and court testimony can give the victim a sense of calmness. It also provides a seamless sense of security in an intimidating environment.

Bert and Skippy began their training at six weeks old and, after a year of schooling, passed a public access test. The dogs also learned dozens of cues that can be performed with minimal prompting.

Although their duties are unconventional in the law enforcement community, Bert and Skippy fight crime in a new way. The facility dogs offer non-judgmental support and a shoulder to cry on for some of the most fragile victims in Los Angeles County.

Did You Know...?
It is illegal for anyone other than a licensed attorney to give legal advice in California. Immigration consultants may help individuals with translating and submitting government forms but they may not offer legal advice or provide legal representation in court. They also are prohibited by state law from calling themselves “notarios.”
Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office | (213) 974-3512  |

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