November 2019
Volume 4, Issue 11
Dear Friends:
Since taking office, I have implemented significant reforms intended to protect our community through the fair and ethical pursuit of justice and the safeguarding of crime victims’ rights.

As a major part of those efforts, I have focused on our duty as prosecutors to make sure that all potential witnesses in criminal cases tell the truth.
Preliminary Hearing Unit
Energetic and tenacious prosecutors lay the groundwork and test the veracity of witnesses and evidence in the Preliminary Hearing Unit, which conducts thousands of mini trials each year.

The 11 deputy district attorneys, seven staff members and roughly a dozen law clerks assigned to the unit participate in approximately 300 preliminary hearings a month at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Preliminary hearings are a critical stage in the criminal justice process.

The hearings come after other deputy district attorneys have reviewed cases submitted by law enforcement agencies and determined that the evidence supports the filing of criminal charges.

At these hearings, deputy district attorneys present evidence to a judge, who must decide if sufficient evidence exists for the case to proceed to trial. If not, the case is dismissed.

It is the first opportunity for a deputy district attorney to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of witnesses and evidence in court .

“We’re looking at the evidence in a fair and impartial way to make a decision as to whether the charges are accurate or not,” said Deputy-in-Charge Mario Haidar. They may dismiss or add a criminal count based on the evidence.

If a defendant is ordered to stand trial, the preliminary hearing serves as an important record for the next deputy district attorney who will try the case before a different judge and possibly a jury. This record is key if witnesses change their testimony at trial or are unable to testify.

Deputy district attorneys in the unit also prosecute about 30 felony probation violation cases a month. They handle as many as 400 cases a month in Early Disposition Court, which gives defendants charged with nonviolent offenses the opportunity to plead guilty early in the judicial process and possibly have their convictions dismissed later if they successfully complete probation.
Fraud Alert
  Significant Cases
Don’t let hidden costs and restrictions turn a dream vacation into a disappointment.

Click  here  to read the Fraud Alert and view the video.
  • A Glendale woman faces up to seven years in county jail for vandalizing properties with racist comments. Learn where the crimes occurred.

  • A former controller pleaded no contest to embezzling more than $2 million from the beauty products company where she worked. Find out how much time the Northridge woman will spend in prison. 

  • The founder of a South Los Angeles charter school and her son misused $200,000 in public funds. Read how they funneled taxpayer dollars into a personal account. 
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
LADA Information Security Officer Nhan Le, pictured left, along with Fabiola Olivares of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department share information about email phishing scams at the Hall of Justice as part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
Productivity and Quality Awards
Chief Deputy District Attorney Joseph Esposito, pictured left, Accounting Officer Gihan “Gigi” Armaneous, Public Information Officer Ricardo Santiago and Head Deputy District Attorney Gilbert Wright were recognized on Oct. 16 for their efforts in assisting victims of the Woolsey Fire and collaborating in the county’s Office of Diversion and Reentry’s Housing Program.
A Day in the Life: Human Trafficking
Victim Services Representative
Destinee Waters comes to work every morning prepared to bring hope and comfort to people who have lived a nightmare.

Waters is one of three victim services representatives assigned to the District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Program.

The crime victims served by this program include many runaways and homeless youth who have been forced into sex trafficking since their teenage years. Some have been tattooed by their traffickers like branded property.

Waters and her colleagues help human trafficking victims obtain housing, counseling, drug treatment, tattoo removal, job training and money from the California Victim Compensation Board.

Above all, they work to make sure the victims are safe. Often this means working with service providers and others in the criminal justice system to arrange for victims to leave Southern California.

Many victims have been controlled by traffickers for so long – and for years have been viewed as criminals themselves – that they have difficulty trusting anyone, let alone someone from the criminal justice system.

Waters works to build trust with victims, whose assistance may be needed to prosecute traffickers and leaders of sex trafficking rings.

She also meets with human trafficking task forces and networks with service providers so she has resources for victims at the ready.

Waters travels throughout south Los Angeles County to be with human trafficking victims when they are in court or being interviewed by deputy district attorneys. It is important for her to recognize when they are overwhelmed and help them relax.

“I want them to thrive,” she said. “Victims of human trafficking have been controlled so much in their lives. It is important for me to be ready when they need help – to meet them where they are. I tell them, ‘I’m there to work with you.’”
Did You Know...?
A wealth of important fraud prevention and victim resource information may be found in the 13 newly updated pamphlets produced by the District Attorney’s Office. The pamphlets include Post-Disaster Fraud Awareness , Crime Victims – Know Your Rights and Navigating the Criminal Justice System . Click here to view, download and order those pamphlets and others.
Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office | (213) 974-3512 |

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