Rocky Delgadillo - City Attorney

City Attorney

As City Attorney, he has subscribed to the "broken windows" theory of law enforcement. Among the programs Delgadillo has implemented is a neighborhood prosecutor program that put city attorneys in each of the city's police divisions. He has also sped up the implementation of civil gang injunctions, which largely limit association by gang members in certain defined areas. Civil rights groups have challenged the injunctions, but the state's courts have upheld them. They have come under renewed attention recently, particularly in South Los Angeles, where some community members have complained that it is difficult for gang members to escape a sometimes intrusive law enforcement structure.

In response to concerns expressed by some members of the City Council, as well as some L.A. residents, regarding the City's injunction policies, the City Attorney's Office in April 2007 issued a report on gang injunctions and an accompanying set of guidelines that articulated the proper application and use of injunctions, as well as providing a roadmap for reformed gang members to get themselves off an injunction. Although they faced some criticism from the ACLU, these guidelines were embraced by community members as well as members of the City Council and law enforcement officials, who viewed them as striking a careful balance between effective gang suppression and respecting the civil liberties of those accused.

One of the most well-publicized prosecutions by Delgadillo's office was that of entertainer Paul Reubens, more commonly known as Pee Wee Herman, for possession of child pornography. Delgadillo's office arranged a plea bargain requiring Reubens to pay a $100 fine and serve three years of probation. Delgadillo was criticized, for recommending to the Los Angeles City Council that the City pay $2.7 million to black firefighter Tennie Pierce, who alleged he was fed dog food as a firehouse prank and later retaliated against by his fellow firefighters when he complained to superiors. Delgadillo argued that the City would be forced to pay even more money to Mr. Pierce had the case gone to trial, in light of a troubling audit of race relations at the department by City Controller Laura Chick, and jury verdicts in past cases of a similar nature.

According to the Los Angeles Times, in September 2007, the City of Los Angeles agreed to pay Pierce $1.49 million to avoid going to trial, with the blessing of the Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, who had vetoed the earlier $2.7 million settlement offer proposed by Delgadillo, and the City Council. With legal costs to the City reaching an estimated $1.35 million, the taxpayers ended up having to pay out $2.84 million in the Pierce matter.

While he was City Attorney, Delgadillo repeatedly let his wife drive his city-issued GMC Yukon. During one such incident, she extensively damaged the car. At the time of the crash, Michelle Delgadillo had a suspended driver's license and an outstanding arrest warrant and was not permitted to operate a motor vehicle under the law. Delgadillo and his wife had the car repaired, and then expensed it to the city. Though Delgadillo later repaid the over $1,000 bill, the issue and later scandals caused substantial media interest in his office.

After the Yukon incident, the media continued to investigate Delgadillo. They next discovered a scandal wherein Delgadillo and his wife had city attorney employees baby sit and run personal errands. Delgadillo said in a statement to the press that he had relied on city employees to take care of some errands, but that he had offered personal payment for their time. He continued by saying that all of the employees took their personal time for these errands.

In 2007, Delgadillo's wife, Michelle, was the subject of an investigation from California's Franchise Tax Board. A consulting firm that she had been running had failed to file tax returns since its inception in 2005, and was later barred from operating in California.

Read more about this topic:  Rocky Delgadillo

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City Attorney

A city attorney can be an elected or appointed position in city and municipal government in the United States. The city attorney is the attorney representing the city or municipality.

In some small towns, the city attorney is usually a lawyer in private practice and handles only governmental matters. In other towns or cities the he or she also prosecutes minor crimes.

A city attorney generally handles all legal matters for the city, from traffic tickets to civil lawsuits to acting as a general counsel, giving legal advice for city departments.

Areas of focus may include:

  • Civil claims against city (such as claims against the city police department)
  • Criminal - prosecute misdemeanors and violations (felonies are usually prosecuted by a district attorney, State's Attorney or Commonwealth's Attorney)
  • Real estate - drug/alcohol nuisance, substandard housing or code enforcement


Dennis Herrera - As San Francisco City Attorney
... In December 2001, Herrera was elected San Francisco City Attorney, becoming the first Latino to hold the office ... Herrera has long expressed an "activist approach" to serving as City Attorney, expanding the traditional role of a municipal law office to one that includes aggressively litigating consumer and ... Healthy San Francisco Initiative became law in 2006, establishing universal health care in the City, Herrera successfully defended the law's constitutionality against legal challenge ...

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