Police Skepticism Hitting L.A. In The Legal Fee Pocketbook

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times 1/10/17 report

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times report 1/10/17

The Los Angeles city attorney is blaming distrust of police as a significant reason the city will have to borrow $70 million or dip into reserve funds. Those are the options laid out in a new city report. 

The Los Angeles Times reports that “… the city paid out $110 million in legal cases last fiscal year, according to budget staff. In January 2016, the city agreed to pay out $24 million to settle lawsuits from two men who alleged that dishonest LAPD detectives led their wrongful murder convictions and caused them to spend decades behind bars… city lawyers concerned about the police misconduct allegations recommended the settlements, saying in confidential memos to the City Council that taking the cases to trial could be even costlier.”

In an interview with the Times on Monday, Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer “… cited several reasons for the increased payouts. He said juries are more skeptical about law enforcement when it comes to police liability, and cited a “significant” amount of deferred maintenance of city infrastructure.”
With payouts projected to total at least $135 million this fiscal year, budget officials said Monday that the city needs to immediately borrow up to $70 million to avoid dipping into its emergency reserve fund.

Read the story here: L.A. needs to borrow millions to cover legal payouts, city report says

Why Ferguson Opposed The ‘Ferguson Reforms’

With civil unrest in Ferguson, MO, once again making headlines, it’s probably worth noting that much of all this had to do with municipal court reform. In particular, it had to do with traffic tickets given to poor African-Americans and pretty much funding the city with that system. The Justice Department report called for sweeping changes, the state called for sweeping changes and newspapers reported on the famous “Ferguson Reforms.”
But once the national spotlight moved on, Ferguson and towns like it did not embrace the reforms, which by and large did not actually become law. One reason is that new laws would have placed limits on how much of a local city’s budget came from traffic enforcement, which some leaders think could lead to some towns going away. Conservatives, it turns out, have been on a “consolidation” kick of late… you can see POLITICO break down the issues here: