OFFICIAL POST: Carmen Trutanich for Los Angeles District Attorney – LA Weekly Profile of Carmen Trutanich and Review of His Performance as L.A. City Attorney

[PICTURED: THIS article hit L.A. streets, this week, and sums up Trutanich’s term as L.A. City Attorney, quite nicely.]

Carmen Trutanich, L.A. City Attorney, Tramples the Rights of Pot Smokers, Street Artists and Protesters

EXCERPT from LA Weekly article by Gene Maddaus:

Carmen Trutanich came into office vowing to “throw politics out the front door.” But in almost three years as city attorney, he has repeatedly sought jail time for minor offenses that align with his political crusades.

“It would be truly scary with him in charge of the DA’s office,” says one of Trutanich’s subordinates, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution. “This is an office that only does misdemeanors. You want him controlling death-penalty cases?”

[Though now he is running for D.A.], he vowed not to run for Congress or district attorney, and goaded Weiss to do the same. If he violated the pledge, he promised to give $100,000 to an after-school program and take out a full-page newspaper ad announcing “I AM A LIAR.”

Judge Anthony Mohr struck down major portions of the city’s (medical marijuana) ordinance, including the parts that allowed for criminal penalties. In his December 2010 ruling, Mohr called Trutanich’s raids “most troubling” because it was not clear that anyone had actually broken the law.  

Trutanich’s effort to put dispensary owners behind bars ended in complete failure.

In the meantime, Trutanich’s confrontational approach has eaten up resources that could have been spent on other things. Last year, Trutanich told the Sherman Oaks Patch that 20 deputy city attorneys are working on marijuana cases.
Even some within the office openly question whether that’s a wise use of attorneys’ time.
“Staffing has gotten very thin,” says Phil Sugar, a veteran in the City Attorney’s Office. “Putting marijuana at the top priority is probably not energy well spent.”

Trutanich assigned as many as 18 lawyers — in both his criminal and civil divisions — to go after illegal billboards and supergraphics.

Trutanich has been trying to extract millions of dollars in civil penalties from Mark Denny and his co-defendants, including Barry Rush, owner of Worldwide Mediacom. Last year, Denny’s attorney made a settlement offer of about $40,000. Trutanich rejected it as far too low.

So instead, the defendants settled the case with Caltrans, which also has authority to pursue illegal billboards that crop up next to freeways. Under that agreement, the defendants paid $218,000 to the state.
Last month, a judge threw out the city’s lawsuit, ruling that its claims had already been settled thanks to the state fine.  [ZD=LOL!]

Trutanich has occasionally tried to downplay his tough-guy image. In an interview with theWeekly last year, he maintained, “I’m not a thug.”

But another part of him seems to revel in that reputation. In his office, Trutanich keeps a wooden plaque that reads, “The strong do as they will, the weak do as they must.” [ZD=Carmen is no Tony Robbins.]

The line, from Thucydides, is an unusual one for an officer of the court to have on display. It refers to an argument the Athenians made before crushing the weaker city-state of Melos. The Melians pleaded for mercy and justice, but the Athenians responded, essentially, that justice had nothing to do with it: We will crush you because we can.

Most readers see this as a stomach-churning display of realpolitik, one that ultimately led to the Athenians’ comeuppance. Trutanich takes it as an inspiration.

Read full 6-page LA Weekly article here

ALSO FROM TODAY:  Is L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and High-Priced Legal Firm “Meyers-Nave” Engaged in “Quid-Pro-Quo” Dance for OUTSIDE COUNSEL BUSINESS? [See list of Meyers-Nave Attorneys Who Contributed To Carmen Trutanich, Then HE Gives Them TOP-PRICED Outside Counsel Business]

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