Politics

City Attorney: More staff needed to handle Proposition 47 cases

CIty Attorney Mike Feuer says his office needs almost $500,000 to hire staff that will handle Prop 47 cases.
CIty Attorney Mike Feuer says his office needs almost $500,000 to hire staff that will handle Prop 47 cases.
Brian Watt/KPCC

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The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office says it needs more attorneys and clerks to handle an influx of cases that will fall under Proposition 47, a statewide measure approved in November to reduce some felony crimes to misdemeanors. 

The Budget and Finance Committee agreed to spend $437,582 to hire eight deputy city attorneys and seven legal clerks to take on the more than 13,000 new cases the city is expected to receive. That funding would cover the office from January 2015 through the end of the fiscal year on June 30. Final funding approval is required from the L.A. City Council. 

In addition to the new cases, the office will have to deal with 2,000 pending cases and 10,000 outstanding warrants. That represents a 17 percent increase in the office's workload. 

"We're very sensitive to the budget issues of the city and we are trying very hard to assimilate as much work into current staff," said Leela Kapur, chief of staff to City Attorney Mike Feuer.

"Our current staff's caseloads will go up even with these new positions but we believe this is the bare minimum we need to try and get by and to process this work."

Proposition 47 reduced penalties for drug possession and petty financial crimes like check fraud and shoplifting. 

In Los Angeles, the District Attorney's Office handles the city's felony crimes while misdemeanors fall under the authority of the City Attorney's Office.