How the Criminal Division Serves Santa Monica
February 21, 2020 4:13 PM
by Nicole Gougis
After my first full year with the City of Santa Monica, I wanted to share more about the Criminal Division and our work on behalf of the Santa Monica community. Our division fights on behalf of the City of Santa Monica to prosecute misdemeanor crimes that occur in the city. These crimes include vehicle crimes, theft, drug possession, family violence, and battery.
We are a team of experienced prosecutors working to ensure that justice is served to all parties involved -- victims, defendants, and the community as a whole.
Criminal justice is rapidly changing, and we are committed to remaining at the forefront of change. We have programs that address the underlying causes of behavior, and emphasize education and connection to services that can improve people’s lives. We have a Homeless Community Court where justice-involved individuals can address their housing and medical needs with the assistance of service providers and oversight by the court. We work with our city and county partners to find avenues to reduce recidivism -- the likelihood that someone will repeat a crime.
We are also skilled at traditional prosecution when it is the most appropriate path. Our lawyers conduct daily criminal hearings and prosecute crimes at trial.
We want you to know that we are working for you. Here are four things you might not know about the Criminal Division:
- We are piloting a jail in-reach program that connects people suffering with addiction to treatment through a partnership with Clare Matrix. The Santa Monica Daily Press recently highlighted this work.
- Homeless Community Court began in February 2007. We’ve had 303 program participants. Sixty percent of participants have completed the program with 121 securing permanent housing.
- We recently partnered with LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey to clear approximately 3,000 misdemeanor charges for marijuana convictions dating back to the 1940s. The program is called “Clear My Record” and is part of Proposition 64.
- Our attorneys and staff are not only trained in dealing with the courtroom aspects of prosecution, but are excellent resources for those impacted by crime for referrals to support services. If you have questions about what’s available, get in touch.
I hope you learned something new about the Criminal Division of the City Attorney’s Office. A note that we cannot take crime reports. We only receive cases from law enforcement agencies. If you believe a crime has occurred, please contact the police.
Watch a series of videos highlighting all aspects of the Criminal Division’s work.