Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Trutanich "Man of the Year"

December 30, 2009

Ron Kaye and the folks at voted Carmen 'Nuch' Trutanich is the Man of the Year!

Please take a moment to view the excellent video that have put together:

Read the full article explaining why selected Nuch for this honor by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Santa Nuch and Helpers Give Toys and Joy

On Friday, December 18, City Attorney Trutanich and his “Santa’s Helpers” spearheaded a toy and gift collection within the City Attorney’s office to benefit the children of Para Los Niños.

Unique dolls were donated by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and were handcrafted by female inmates at the Century Regional Detention Center. The other toys were purchased in the Toy District downtown, thanks to donations by the City Attorney and his staff.

Para Los Niños was established in 1980 in response to the plight of children living in Skid Row hotels. Today, in its 29th year of operation, Para Los Niños provides integrated educational and family support services to nearly 9,000 economically challenged children, youth and families throughout Southern California.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

LACA Roundtable Discussion on Child Abuse

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich hosted a Meet and Greet/Roundtable Discussion with more than 40 representatives from City and County Child Abuse Agencies.

The City Attorney, along with Tracy Webb, Managing Attorney for the Crime Prevention and Youth Protection Division and Director of Child Abuse Policy, Earl Thomas, Chief of the Criminal and Special Operations Branch and Maureen Siegel, Deputy Chief, Criminal and Special Litigation met with a wide variety of city and county child abuse experts to discuss prosecution and prevention issues important to the community and to examine how we can focus more resources on collaborative and partnership efforts to protect children. In attendance for the event were:

Deanne Tilton-Durfee, Edie Schulman and Cathy Walsh from the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect;

Eric Marts, Xiomara Flores-Holguin and Emilio Mendoza from DCFS;

Nancy Hayes and Erin Kelley - UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital;

Vince Neglia and Moses Castillo from LAPD's Abused Child Unit;

Marge Graf, General Counsel from the Los Angeles Archdiocese
and Suzanne Healy, Los Angeles Archdiocese Victim Assistance

Monika McCoy, PhD - Los Angeles Community Child Abuse Councils;

Assistant US Attorney Sally Meloch;

James Owens from the County Counsel's Office;

Bill Dworin, Retired LAPD Detective and coordinator of "It's Not a Secret;"

Sue Spears from LAUSD

Carol Baker, Ruel Nolledo and Mayra Gomez from First 5 LA, Laura Romero and Maria Velez from LA Universal Preschool;

Victoria Adams and Pam Booth from the LA County District Attorney's Office;

Rosemarie Belda, Lead Attorney of the LA County Children's Special Investigation Unit, Attorney Richard Schwab, Michael Pines, PhD, Marie Russell, MD - LAC+USC Hospital and Debi Biederman from the LA City Domestic Violence Council and Mara Abrams from the Remedee Foundation.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Carmen Trutanich, the Grand Marshall

Our Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich was this year's Community Grand Marshall in the 29th Annual Spirit of San Pedro Holiday Parade.

This year's theme was "Celebrating Holidays Around the World".

Carmen and Noreen Trutanich rode in a 1958 Cadillac belonging to Dr. Denis Paglianno.

Cindy Shin Represents LACA in Korea

City Attorney's Office Public Information Officer Cindy Shin recently visited Korea where she visited Sung-Kyun-Kwan University (Seoul) and Catholic University of Daegu (Daegu) to speak to students about the structure and functions of the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office.

Cindy's presentations were made to a class called, Understanding English Speaking Countries and which is taught at both universities (led by Professor Hyun-Gook Shin, Ph.D.).

Cindy presented an overview of the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office which included information regarding how it serves the City of Los Angeles, and the efforts of the City Attorney to improve the quality of life and public safety for its citizenry.

Students also learned about the Office's Public Information Office and its daily tasks and functions as well as efforts in the Asian American Community.

Professor Shin said the students were delighted with the presentation and gained a new perspective and insight into this government entity. He added that they were very happy to learn not only about the City Attorney's Office and working for the government but also the lifestyle in Los Angeles and studying abroad in the US.

Cindy also visited the Supreme Prosecutors' Office of Korea (SPO), which is, as the headquarters for a multitude of prosecutorial activities, responsible for directing, supervising and supporting all prosecutors' offices around the nation. During her visit, she toured the facility and met with the leading spokesperson, supervising prosecutors and city beat news reporters.

Dress-A-Bear/Dog for the Holidays!

The Los Angeles City Attorney Police Litigation Unit is once again participating in the Dress-A-Bear/Dog holiday program for the Salvation Army. The bears/pups come "naked" and are lovingly named and dressed by our generous City Attorney employees (PLU). The bears/dogs are dressed to accommodate both boy and girls preferences. Our bears/dogs come in many varieties from precious ice princesses, cheerleader, Ursula and surfer for a girl to Jedi, fireman, pirate and Viking for a boy!

The program benefits families in need who are registered with the Salvation Army in Whittier, CA. The families receive food baskets for the holidays and parents are allowed to pick a bear/dog for their children.

This is the second year the Police Litigation Unit has participated in this worthwhile program.

- Sonia L. Garcia

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wilmington Play Ground Dedication

Wilmington Vest Park Play Ground - Dedication

October 26, Wilmington, corner of Watson and "O" Street.

The Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney participated alongside Councilwoman Janice Hahn and other public officials from the Department of Recreation and Parks, the Mayor’s Office, LAPD, LAFD, and others, in the dedication of the new Wilmington Vest Park play ground.

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office was represented by City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, Senior Assistant City Attorney, Deputy Chief, Mary Clare Molidor, Neighborhood Prosecutor, South Bureau Assistant Supervisor, Sonja Dawson, Neighborhood Prosecutor, Harbor Area, Justin Houterman, Deputy City Attorney, Gang Unit, Harbor Area, Panagiotis Panagiotou, and Gang Specialist, CNAP, Jule Bishop.

Carmen Trutanich introduced the team to the attendees and spoke on the importance of taking back our neighborhoods from gangs and highlighted the great accomplishment achieved with the completion of this particular play ground.

This neighborhood was the target of a July, 2007 “takedown” by 500 LAPD officers and ATF agents, resulting in the arrest of 40 gang members and drug dealers, and the filing of 10 lawsuits against property owners by our Office and U.S. Attorney for narcotic and gang offences.

Since that time, the City Attorney’s Neighborhood Prosecutor program has worked with the Cruces (name of the local neighborhood) community (formerly referred to as Ghost Town) to create a viable community group and improve the area. One of the neighborhood goals was to improve the local park (the Wilmington Vest Park) and this event is the celebration of the community successfully obtaining brand new play ground equipment.

Carmen Trutanich participated in the ribbon-cutting with Janice Hahn and then tested the playground himself with the help of a couple dozen children from the neighborhood, who were obviously the happiest of all who were there.

ICAN NEXUS XIV Training Conference

ICAN NEXUS XIV Training Conference

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 - Sheraton Universal Hotel

ICAN NEXUS recently held its 14th annual conference at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office has been an active participant all 14 years including presenting workshops for the past 5 years. The focus of the conference this year was Violence within the home and its effects on children. This is of the utmost importance to us as prosecutors as Child abuse, neglect, cyber crime and child exploitation continue to be an epidemic throughout Los Angeles with the potential for dangerous threats against children growing every day. For those children who survive, the personal and societal effects are staggering. It is our duty as prosecutors to intervene at the earliest possible stage with awareness and prevention programs and partnerships so that we can stem the tide of violence against our children.

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich joined District Attorney Steve Cooley, Sheriff Lee Baca, Supervisor Michael Antonovich and a host of other Public Officials at the commencement of this conference.

Executive Director of ICAN, Deanne Tilton Durfee, welcomed Carmen Trutanich as the “new kid on the block” within the group of public officials who make fighting and preventing child abuse within Los Angeles a priority.

Carmen Trutanich spoke on the devastating life-long effects that violence in the home has on children, and that the single most important thing to remember is to call the police at the onset of any violence on a child.

The Inter Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect was established in 1977 by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors as the official county agency to coordinate the development of services for the prevention, identification and treatment of child abuse and neglect. The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office has been actively involved in every aspect of the Council since its inception.

Tracy Webb, Managing Attorney of the Crime Prevention & Youth Protection Division in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, has contributed to all 14 Training Conferences and is responsible for building the bridge between ICAN and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.

The specific ICAN committees that the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office are involved with include their Operations and Policy committee and others that address a host of critical issues such as: review of child fatalities, including child and adolescent suicides; children and families exposed to family violence; Cyber Crime, development of systems designed to promote better communication and collaboration among agencies; prenatally substance affected infants; pregnant and parenting adolescents; abducted children; and grief and loss issues for children in foster care and siblings of children who are victims of fatal child abuse.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

City Attorney Explains Medical Marijuana Issue on NBC

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich was invited on NBC’s “Today in LA” show on Saturday morning to give his side of the hot-button Medical Marijuana issue. The show was live at 7:00 at the NBC studios in Burbank and reporter Ted Chen did the questioning.

In the couple minutes allotted, Mr. Trutanich made it very clear that from the Los Angeles City Attorney’s point of view, this is a public health and safety issue, and that the Los Angeles City Attorney will NOT prevent the legitimate and legal cultivation, distribution and use of Medical Marijuana within the city of Los Angeles.

Mr. Trutanich made the case that the users of Medical Marijuana don’t really know what is in the medicine that they are using, and that if this truly is medicine, it should be tested and examined with the same FDA scrutiny as for example Tylenol. They have a right to know what they are ingesting.

As City Attorney Trutanich explained, this position follows on the heels of three M.M. samples purchased covertly by the City Attorney’s office in CD 9 and 14, being screened for their contents by the FDA in Irvine. Two of the samples that came back had extraordinarily high levels of the insecticide Bifenthrin. One sample was found to have 1600 times the legal digestible limit of Bifenthrin, the other just over 85 times. The City Attorney used the analogy of spraying the ant-killing Raid on your salad and then eating it and that if this is indeed medicine, that these kind of ingredients pose a real health and safety risk to those patients taking the medical marijuana.

This automatically led to the on-air discussion of not really knowing the origin of the Marijuana being ingested, as Bifenthrin in those quantities would definitely NOT be used anywhere NEAR California. Prop 215 on which the cultivation, distribution and use of Medical Marijuana within the city of Los Angeles is based, clearly states that the Marijuana is to be cultivated in a collective.

Reporter Ted Chen was fair and to the point.

The issue marches on.

Posted by: Nigel Skeet
Photos by: Nigel Skeet

Monday, October 12, 2009

City Attorney's Office Hosts Domestic Violence Meet 'n Greet

October 7, 2009

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich hosted a Meet and Greet/Roundtable Discussion with more than 30 representatives from Domestic Violence Agencies throughout the area.

The City Attorney, along with Eve Sheedy, Director of Domestic Violence Policy, Earl Thomas, Chief of the Criminal and Special Operations Branch and Maureen Siegel, Deputy Chief, Criminal and Special Litigation met with Executive Directors;
Patti Giggans, from Peace Over Violence,
Sara Berdine, from Haven Hills,
Karen Rosenthal from Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles,
TuLynn Smylie, from WomenShelter of Long Beach,
Bernita Walker from Project Peacemakers and
Judith Gordon, from Women’s and Children’s Crisis Shelter.

Also present were;
Marci Fukuroda from Rainbow Services,
Gerrie Rosen from the African Community Resource Center,
LaDawn Best from the LA Gay and Lesbian Center,
Gail Pincus from the Domestic Abuse Center,
TC Kim from the Asian Pacific Women’s Center,
Adriana Molina from Children’s Institute,
Ana Storey from Los Angeles Legal Aid,
Sandra Schooley from Seraphim Manor,
Ellen Sanchez from the Violence Intervention Program,
Kim Goldberg-Roth from Valley Trauma Center,
Kathy Adams from the Child Abuse Trauma Center,
Hamid Khan from South Asian Network,
Michelle Wall from Angel Step Inn and
representatives from Village Family Services.

The City Attorney shared his experience as a Prosecutor of Domestic Violence crimes and his plans to address this serious problem as City Attorney, including introduction of a Bureau of Investigators to provide both trial and victim support and Mentorship programs to prevent and guide youth away from violence.

Participants asked questions covering areas from Restraining Order enforcement to School based programs. The City Attorney confirmed both his personal commitment and the commitment of the City Attorney’s Office to address Domestic Violence both in the courtroom and in the community. The City Attorney clearly recognizes the contribution that Domestic Violence Agencies make to public safety and thanks them for their continued hard work, particularly in these economically challenging times.

Above (left to right) Maureen Siegel, Carmen Trutanich, Eve Sheedy, and Earl Thomas

Posted by: Eve Sheedy
Photos by: David Berger

Friday, October 02, 2009

Trutanich Takes Community Advice

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The newly formed City Attorney Community Advisory Group held its inaugural meeting on Thursday night organized by Marcia Selz, one of the group's founders and ardent campaigner for transparency in local government.

The group is comprised of representatives from Los Angeles' Neighborhood Councils and Home Owners Associations who not only have a wealth of information and advice for the City Attorney, but who also will provide vital feedback to the City Attorney on how the Office is responding to their needs.

Carmen "Nuch" Trutanich arrived at the meeting keen to hear from the group and received a warm welcome before fielding questions on hot button issues including; Medical Marijuana, Graffiti, Billboard Blight, Ethics and Crime.

There were hard questions for the City Attorney, and hard answers for the Group, many of whom were frustrated by the often overly obscured machinations of lobbyists, developers and planners.

Trutanich's Senior Assistant Jane Usher was on hand to assist the City Attorney some of the questions, along with West LA Neighborhood Prosecutors Dena Carreyn and Gita O'Neill and Sheryl Smith, Director of Public Affiairs.

Promising rapid and responsive solutions to issues in the community, Trutanich urged the group to contact their Neighborhood Prosecutors at the earliest stage to make sure the community gets the service it deserves from the City Attorney's Office. Click here to find out more about the Neighborhood Prosecutor Program.

The first meeting of the City Attorney Community Advisory Group wrapped up its business at around 10:30pm with a promise to meet again in 3 months at the City Attorney's Office, and with a commitment from Trutanich that any 'hot button' issues don't have to wait "Call your Neighborhood Prosecutor, call Jane Usher, call David Berger, or call me." said Trutanich.

Posted By: David Berger
Photos By: David Berger

Thanks to Sheryl Smith, Director of Public Affairs and Chief Public Information Officer John Franklin for logistical support.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

City Attorney's Workers' Compensation Program Saves City $6.5M

October 1, 2009

The City of Los Angeles said a big "Thank You!" to the City Attorney's Office Personnel Department today;

Thank you for saving the City of Los Angeles $6.5M last year, with

Workers' Compensation Claims down by 36%, and

IOD (Injured On Duty) payments down by 32%.

That's the biggest saving of any City Department and it earned the City Attorney's Office Personnel Department an engraved crystal award for their hard work in running an effective program for the 1,000 plus City Attorney employees.

City Attorney Carmen "Nuch" Trutanich congratulated Personnel Director Rosemary Fisher-Anaya and her staff of Christina Sarabia, Kristina De La Vega, Wanda Hudson, Kelly Tran, Irene Quan, Alma Zavaleta and John DiGrazia for their hard work in saving the City more money than any other City Department in these difficult times.

When asked how the Personnel Department was able to achieve such dramatic savings, Director Rosemary Fisher-Anaya said that she believed it was due the their policy of having a more personal "Hands on" approach to handling claims. Giving claimants quick answers to their questions, finding solutions for them and most important of all, "keeping in touch and making it personal."

Posted by: David Berger
Photos by: David Berger

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Edgemont Grabber Convicted By Deputy City Attorney Dikran Sassounian

September 29, 2009

On September 21, 2009, defendant Moises Nunogomez (above) was convicted after a four day Jury Trial in case number 9CA04601.

22 year-old Nunogomez (DOB 11/30/1986) was found guilty of committing four counts of Sexual Battery in violation of Penal Code Section 243.4(e)(1).

The prosecution was handled by Deputy City Attorney Dikran Sassounian of the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office Special Trials Unit and was tried in Department 55 of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center before Judge Terry Bork and a jury of eight women and four men.

Evidence presented during trial showed that, for a six month period between September 2008 and February 2009, the man who was only known as the "Edgemont Grabber," approached women from behind and grabbed their buttocks and genital area.

The crimes all occurred in the area of Edgemont and Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Four women who testified at the trial had reported the attacks to the police. The "Edgemont Grabber" was finally identified and arrested on February 13, 2009 by Detectives
Johneen Jones and Hovenessian and Officers Tojong and Lear of the Northeast Division of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The break in the case leading to the Defendant’s arrest came when officers Tojong and Lear responded to the last attack on February 13, 2009. The victim reported the crime from her child’s pre-school. While the officers were showing her a photograph of the suspect, the school handyman recognized him and told officers where he lived. The officers responded to the Defendant’s apartment, where he was taken into custody without incident.

The trial itself was not without problems; three of the victims were unable to identify the defendant, his attacks being sudden, from behind, and momentary. Additionally, although defendant had made admissions to the police regarding his identity, those admissions were not recorded and the defense claimed the admissions could not be trusted.

The defendant also called Antonio Manzo, his live-in boyfriend, as a witness to testify that Nunogomez was gay. The defense used that fact to argue that the defendant's grabbing of the victims' buttocks and genital area could not have been motivated by a "sexual motivation or purpose" (an element of the crime).

Thanks to DCA Sassounian's careful preparation and skillful presentation of evidence, video tape evidence proved the defendant to be the attacker on one occasion, and the defendant's Modus Operandi was sufficiently unique to convince the jury that he was the attacker on the other occasions, with the Jury returning "Guilty" verdicts on all four counts of Sexual Battery.

The still images from the surveillance camera (below) are chilling. They capture Nonogomez's last attack in broad daylight against an innocent and defenseless victim.. His actions, the expression on his face, and his aggressive behavior towards the victim leave no doubt in anyone's mind as to the intentions of the defendant.

After the verdict, DCA Sassounian thanked the Jury for their deliberations and especially thanked LAPD Detectives Jones and Hovhanessian for conducting a thorough and extensive investigation leading to the identification and arrest of the defendant. Sassounian noted that although only four women reported their attacks to the police, the number of victims is likely to be much higher.

Nunogomez remained in custody after the verdict, and he will be back in Department 55 on October 5, 2009 for sentencing. He faces a maximum sentence of Four Years in County Jail and Compulsory Lifetime Registration as a Sex Offender under Penal Code Section 290, popularly known as 'Megan's Law.'

Posted by: David Berger

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Deputy City Attorney Jerry Baik Fights To Change The Law

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jerry Baik (pictured above), Supervising Assistant City Attorney of the Identity Theft and Fraud Unit, prosecutes cases where counterfeit (fake) goods are seized. When the case is over and the defendant is convicted, the counterfeit goods are destroyed - that's the law according to Penal Code Section 350, and Jerry wants to change it.

Counterfeit goods come in all shapes and sizes, from the infamous fake Rolex watches through fake Louis Vuitton purses, fake Ralph Lauren Polo shirts, fake Nike trainers, and fake Mattel brand toys. You name it, they fake it; it's multi million dollar a year criminal enterprise.

While Jerry Baik and his Unit was busy prosecuting counterfeiters, he received a call from Ruth Schwartz who runs the Mark Taper Foundation Shelter Resource Bank.

The Shelter Resource Bank is a non-profit agency that distributes donated goods to the thousands of homeless people living in shelters in Los Angeles; people so poor they cannot afford a pair of shoes or T-Shirt.

The Shelter Resource Bank's warehouse is an impressive facility, but there's never enough of the basic needs for Los Angeles' most needy; clothes and shoes and maybe a present for a little holiday cheer. So Ruth had an idea; instead of destroying seized counterfeit merchandise, like clothes and trainers, why not donate them to the Shelter Resource Bank where they can be given to those who need them the most?

Ruth contacted Jerry Baik and asked him if it would be possible to use counterfeit goods in that way. Jerry had bad news for Ruth; the law commands destruction of counterfeit merchandise. "Can't anything be done?" asked Ruth, "it's such a waste." Jerry's answer was "Yes. Change the law!"

Ruth and Jerry worked together on the project; Ruth had to find someone in Sacramento who could propose a change in the law, and Jerry had to write the amendment. Ruth found a sympathetic ear in the form of State Senator Gilbert "Gil" Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) who succeeded in getting Jerry's amendment to Penal Code Section 350 passed in both Houses. The Bill awaits the signature of Governor Schwarzenegger, and anxious to move the process along, Ruth and Sen. Cedillo's staff arranged a Press Release on the roof of Skid Row's Union Rescue Mission for Sen. Cedillo and City Attorney Carmen Trutanich.

And so it was that on Wednesday morning, Los Angeles City Attorney's Office Public Information Officer, Frank Mateljan paced Skid Row apprehensively outside the Mission, waiting for the Senator and the City Attorney to arrive.

It wasn't long before they arrived and were soon engaged in deep discussions as to how to make the most of the proposed change in the law.

Above (left to right), Ruth Schwartz, from the Shelter Resource Bank), Deputy City Attorney Jerry Baik, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, and Senator Gil Cedillo.

In the uncharacteristically blistering heat of a September morning, Sen. Cedillo spoke of how this change in the law could change the lives of so many needy people.

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich spoke passionately about his childhood. As one of five children of a cannery worker, he knew how precious a gift could be, and if there were counterfeit and donated toys and clothes that could safely be given to our most needy families, he urged Governor Schwarzenegger to sign the Bill to make that happen.

After the speeches were over, the City Attorney met with another one of his deputies; Songhai Miguda-Armstead, Assistant Supervising City Attorney of the Safe Neighborhood Division's Skid Row Project, and LAPD Officer McCain.

Before leaving for his next engagement, the City Attorney paused to greet a young boy, one of the many homeless children at the Union Rescue Mission. Nuch couldn't resist a 'High Five'....

Pity this one didn't make the front page of the LA Times.

The City Attorney didn't have to go far for his next engagement. Frank Mateljan had arranged with the Mission's Carrie Gatlin to use her office for a radio interview with Larry Mantel on his show, AirTalk on KPCC 89.3FM.

Frank got Larry on the line, and we left Nuch to debate Larry over recent events at the City Attorney's Office.

You can hear the City Attorney's interview by clicking here.

Posted by: David Berger
Photos by: David Berger