The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office has, formally, set a hearing to determine whether or not Sean “Diddy” Combs will face charges of assault after he was arrested following an argument with a UCLA football coach in June.  UCLA police arrested “Diddy” after, it was alleged, he swung a kettle-bell weight at a coach and made criminal threats during a dispute.  The hearing is set for mid October.

A City Attorney Hearing is an informal proceeding that is conducted as an alternative to a misdemeanor criminal charge being filed in court by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.  An arrest usually gets to a City Attorney hearing after the District Attorney’s office declines to file a felony charge and the conduct or facts of the case are not serious enough to warrant a “straight out” filing of a misdemeanor charge by the City Attorney’s office.

The hearing is an informal proceeding that is conducted by a hearing officer, not a prosecutor or police officer.  The defendant may be represented by an attorney at the hearing where, in all honesty, it is more of a slap on the wrist than something that will result in criminal charges.  The main focus of the hearing is to determine if it is necessary to prosecute the criminal case (file charges) or to withhold that filing.  The hearing officer may simply say “don’t let this happen again” or can request the defendant to take anger management classes or something along those lines.

As part of the proactive, pre-filing work done by attorney Ross Erlich, a common practice is to contact law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office right away to see if there is any way to avoid having the case filed at all.  If there is little chance to get the case rejected, attorney Ross Erlich works to “push” the case towards a City Attorney hearing and not to court.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for a misdemeanor charge in Los Angeles, Orange County or anywhere in Southern California, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  Cases can move quickly from arrest to court date and, in most instances, getting a case to a City Attorney hearing takes place during that time.

Contact our office today for a free consultation.

In the wake of continued troubles for the Los Angeles County Jail system, the Board of Supervisors approved a plan that would move at least 1,000 mentally ill offenders out of current lockups and into a new facility focused on treating the mentally ill.  This plan begins as the criticism over how the county handles the mentally ill and substance abuse inmates who make up 20% of the total jail population.

This new approach, sought out by, among others, County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, would move mentally ill people out of jail and into treatment programs with the hope of reducing recidivism.  The hallmark of this plan would be the new 3,885 bed jail in downtown which would replace the old and troubled Men’s Central Jail.  The plan would be to move many of the mentally ill housed in the Twin Towers facility over to this new mental health facility and move those general population inmates in Men’s Central over to Twin Towers.  Twin Towers was originally set up to house the general population inmates and not specifically for the mentally ill.

The new jail will take between six to eight years to build and, as opposed to the traditional cells with metal bars lined up in narrow rows, the new living areas will have more open space and be easier for guards to monitor.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said her plan for the jail focused on putting more offenders into treatment rather than behind bars.

While this plan just recently won Board of Supervisor approval and is sure to face some obstacles, it signals a shift in local law enforcement priorities to provide treatment for the mentally ill and those with substance abuse problems as opposed to housing them in cells.  It is also yet to be seen how getting to this new facility will play out in the court system and whether or not there will be hurdles to clear in order to become “eligible” to serve time in the mental health/substance abuse facility.

If you or someone you know has been arrested, charged with or is being investigation for a crime, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  Attorney Ross Erlich has extensive experience representing clients with both mental health and substance abuse problems.  This representation usually involves assisting the client in inpatient or outpatient treatment facilities, mental health counseling, self-help resources and pre-filing work done to open the channels of communication between us and the prosecutor’f office before any crime is charged.

Contact our office for a free consultation today.

A veteran Los Angeles County Probation Department officer, assigned specifically to aid the rehab of juvenile offenders, was arrested on May 25 on suspicion of shoplifting and contributing to the delinquency of her own children.  She has also been placed on unpaid leave from the Probation Department.

Ruth Marzan, who has over 20 years working for the Probation Department, was arrested at a Kmart when security personnel allegedly witnessed her shoplift items and coach her two teenage children to shoplift as well.  Marzan allegedly stole two MP3 players, clothes and underwear.

The Los Angeles County Probation Department has been plagued with personnel problems for many years, despite the Department’s efforts to reduced this number.

Getting caught for shoplifting in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills or Santa Monica can be a serious crime.  The severity of the charges usually depend on the total value of the items taken, whether the items were recovered, whether the items were damaged at all and whether or not this was a first offense or if there are issues of probation.  Generally, if the value of item(s) taken was over $950, a felony grand theft charge would follow.  If the value of the items are lower then that, most of the time the charges are either petty theft or misdemeanor commercial burglary.

As mentioned in other blogs and on the website, there are many valuable resources available to resolve theft cases before they become a conviction on your record.  Depending on the facts of your case, a civil compromise or some other form of deferred sentence can keep a conviction off your record so long as you are able to make the victim whole and pay for any loss and out of pocket expenses.

If you have been arrested or cited for shoplifting or theft in Hollywood, North Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, Santa Monica, or any other city in Los Angeles County, contact an attorney before your court date to find out of something can be done before charges are even filed against you!  It might be the smartest call you make.


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