Los Angeles—Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and LAPD Chief Michel Moore today announced that they will seek to unclog the Court system of five plus year old, uncollectible, minor citations and instead focus resources on bringing to justice fugitive misdemeanants charged with serious offenses. Over 80% of the affected City’s cases have been referred to collection agencies.
"We’re taking action with our law enforcement partners today to focus on the most important public safety issues, help address root causes of poverty and homelessness, and conserve Court resources," said Feuer. "For example, the new Fugitive Misdemeanant Recovery Program—combined with the recall of 150,000 warrants for minor infractions—will enable LAPD to concentrate on taking truly dangerous criminals off the street."
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said the initiative offers those facing fines for non-violent, low level offenses a second chance.
"This reprieve will help individuals struggling with homelessness and other types of economic challenges," Lacey said. "Most importantly, we hope to make an impact that benefits the Court and allows us all to reallocate limited resources."
"These are individuals who have not had contact with law enforcement for more than half a decade and whose only offense was a low-level, non-violent crime and failure to appear in court,” said Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore. “This new smart policing approach will allow the LAPD to focus precious resources pursuing those committing violence in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles.”
In separate motions to the Los Angeles Superior Court, both the City Attorney and District Attorney, moved to suspend fines and fees for minor pedestrian, quality-of-life and moving violations. In addition to recalling and quashing nearly 150,000 warrants, the City Attorney is moving to dismiss approximately 800,000 pending infraction citations (with 65% of those over 10 years old, and the oldest dating back to 1981). In addition to recalling and quashing nearly 248,000 warrants, the District Attorney is moving to dismiss roughly 900,000 pending infraction citations (with 54% of those over 10 years old, and the oldest dating back to 1981). Doing so will improve public safety, help stem the tide of poverty and homelessness, and conserve scarce judicial resources.
Every year, thousands of misdemeanant defendants charged with serious offenses in the City of Los Angeles willfully fail to appear for their court dates, evading prosecution for their alleged dangerous criminal offenses. LAPD has agreed to assist in the immediate apprehension of misdemeanant defendants charged with serious and/or violent offenses identified by the City Attorney’s and LAPD’s Fugitive Misdemeanant Recovery Program as having open cases with outstanding bench warrants and/or arrest warrants. Since the implementation of this program in late August, seven Defendants have been taken into custody for crimes involving: domestic violence with traumatic condition; criminal threats; child abuse (Defendant allegedly broke a 2-year old victim’s arm in two places); carrying a concealed firearm; possession of large capacity magazines; brandishing firearms; carrying a loaded firearm in public; violations of a protective order; and, gang-related vandalism.