Skip to main content

Office of the City Attorney

2018 News Releases

U.S. Appeals Court Upholds City Sign Regulations

In a victory in San Diegos fight against visual pollution, the City Attorney defeats an effort to use downtown building walls for advertising. A federal appeals court upholds the City Attorneys Office prosecution of an outdoor sign painting company that posted signs, including ads for alcoholic beverages and a graphic horror show.

San Diego Family Justice Center Childrens Holiday Gift Drive

The Family Justice Center is a safe place for victims of domestic violence and their children to reclaim their lives, seek justice, and begin healing. Please donate a new, unwrapped gift to one of our young FJC clients! Children range in age from 3-16.

Criminal Charges Filed in Ivory Trafficking Case

The City Attorney announces criminal charges against a La Jolla art gallery after seizing $1.3 million in illegal ivory from both elephant tusks and hippo teeth. Its the largest seizure of ivory products since California banned ivory sales in 2016.

Pacific Beach Peeping Tom Sentenced to Jail

A 48-year-old man is sentenced to 364 days in jail for peeping into windows of unsuspecting women in Pacific Beach. Although the State of California classifies crimes like these as misdemeanors, we take them very seriously, said City Attorney Mara W. Elliott.

10 Protesters Convicted of Illegal Trespassing

Participants in a large and otherwise peaceful protest in downtown San Diego plead guilty to trespassing after chaining themselves to hotel stairwells and rappelling down the side of a building. The City Attorneys Office announces their conviction and agreement to perform community service for a homeless advocacy program.

Environmental Victory in Lead Paint Case

San Diego will benefit from $409 million fund to protect children, after three companies are found liable for knowingly selling hazardous paint products to Californians. The companies must pay to remove toxic lead paint from San Diego homes. This battle has only strengthened our resolve to seek justice for our community and hold accountable anyone who flagrantly disregards the health and safety of our children, City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said.

San Diego City Attorneys Office Awarded Special Drug DUI Prosecution Grant

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott announces that drivers arrested for being under the influence of drugs can expect to face a team of highly trained and specialized prosecutors. The team is funded by a $255,850 grant that helps the team work drug DUI cases from arrest through conviction and sentencing. The program seeks to prevent impaired driving and reduce alcohol and drug-impaired traffic deaths.

Court Orders Receiver in Clairemont Hoarding Case

The City Attorneys Office successfully steps in to clean up a Clairemont property that neighbors have complained about for years, and to help the residents of the home found in dangerous and deplorable condition.

Painters Guilty of Dumping Lead Paint into Storm Drain

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott successfully prosecutes a painting company that contaminated the citys storm water system with toxic lead paint. The defendants plead guilty and are fined more than $12,000.

City Attorney Unveils Domestic Violence Awareness PSA

To mark the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, City Attorney Mara W. Elliott releases a public service announcement encouraging victims of domestic violence to reclaim their lives, seek justice, and begin healing at the San Diego Family Justice Center. As a result of this publicity, we hope to see more clients walk through our doors to get the assistance they desperately need, said Yvette Lopez-Cooper, FJC Executive Director.

Carmel Valley Flasher Sentenced

The City Attorneys office successfully prosecutes a 28-year-old man who exposed himself to a Carmel Valley jogger pushing her toddler in a stroller. The flasher was ordered to register as a sex offender and get counseling.

City Attorney Cracks Down on Illegal Elder Care Facilities

Elder/dependent victims get relocation benefits and medical care after the City Attorneys Office files criminal charges against two illegal care facilities, where elderly and dependent residents were living in deplorable conditions, infested with vermin, no phone, unsafe fixtures, and human waste in communal areas.

Whole Foods to Pay $1.6 Million for Hazardous Waste Breach

San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott announces that, as the result of a lawsuit, two local grocery chain affiliates will be required to label and store hazardous materials to protect employees and customers from exposure. The companies are fined more than $1.4 million in civil penalties and legal costs.

Man Who Shot City Worker Had Weapons Stockpile

In executing a Gun Violence Restraining Order overseen by the City Attorneys Office, police seize a cache of 190 firearms that include an assault rifle, explosives, and some 75,000 rounds of ammunition from the home of a man who shot a City worker.

Deputy City Attorneys Receive National Recognition

Chief Deputy City Attorney Rayna A. Stephan is invited to join the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates. Professional honors are also bestowed on Chief Deputy City Attorney M. Travis Phelps, recently awarded a prestigious national award, the Jefferson B. Fordham Award in Advocacy by the American Bar Association.

City Attorney Reminder this Labor Day, and Every Day: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

The City Attorney joins the California Office of Traffic Safety in educating drivers that DUI doesnt just mean booze. If you take prescription drugs, particularly those with a driving or operating machinery warning label, you may be impaired enough to get a DUI. In 2017, the Office prosecuted more than 3,000 alcohol, drug, and drug/alcohol combo DUI cases.

City Attorney Wins Undergrounding Case

The City Attorneys Office wins its effort to continue requiring SDG&E to underground public utilities, after a judge short circuits a lawsuit to unravel part of the City's Utilities Underground Program. The win safeguards more than $200 million that SDG&E already collected from ratepayers to fund the program.

Plaza de Panama Project Moves Ahead

Long-delayed plans for Balboa Park improvements finally advance after six years of meritless court challenges. The Plaza de Panama project at the heart of the park is allowed to proceed.

Court Orders Receiver for Bay Ho Hoarder House

The City Attorneys Office obtains a court order to clean up a trash-strewn hoarder house in Bay Ho and oversee renovations and counseling for the owners. The elderly couple was living in a camper for five years after the residence and yard overflowed with debris.

League of California Cities Backs Initiative Challenges

The League of California Cities joins City efforts to seek appellate review of the Soccer City and SDSU West citizens initiatives appearing on the November 2018 ballot.

City Prevails in SDPD Discrimination Case

A jury rejects discrimination allegations by a probationary police trainee. Testimony and evidence in the case defended by the City Attorneys Office showed that the trainee was dismissed for poor performance and resisting counseling.

City Attorney Convicts Poway Tip Jar Thief

A 20-year-old Ramona man who stole tip jars from six eateries, and gained instant notoriety on social media, is sentenced to 10 days of jail time. Members of the public came forward and identified the thief from the social media posts of restaurant staff, leading to his arrest and prosecution.

City Attorney Statement on Appellate Review of Mission Valley Initiatives

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott issues a statement on the City Councils decision to seek appellate review of two initiatives concerning City property in Mission Valley: The Soccer City and SDSU West initiatives.

Carmel Valley Flasher Pleads Guilty

The man dubbed the Carmel Valley Flasher pleads guilty to indecent exposure and will be required to register as a sex offender and get counseling, after the City Attorneys Office prosecuted him after he exposed himself to a jogger who was pushing her toddler in a stroller.

City Attorney Prosecutes Lobster Poacher

A serial lobster poacher is headed to jail after pleading guilty to charges that he violated a court order by unlawfully removing lobsters from the South La Jolla State Marine Reserve. He had been cited four times previously by authorities for poaching lobsters there.

City Council District 4 Coffee & Conversation

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott and Council President Myrtle Cole invite the public to learn about their work at the City and any questions you may have, 6 p.m. July 18 at Skyline Hills Branch Library.

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott Spearheads Post-July 4th Beach Clean-Up

Beachgoers who receive certain non-traffic tickets can avoid convictions and fines through a City Attorneys Office program called Instant Justice. Participants can complete six hours of community service in the beach area on July 5 instead.

State Appropriates $50,000 to City Attorneys Office for Gun Violence Restraining Order Training

The San Diego City Attorneys Office will train law enforcement agencies throughout the state on its successful use of the Offices innovative Gun Violence Restraining Orders program, as part of the newly signed state budget that appropriates more funding to expand training. Since December, the Office has obtained orders against gun owners who are a threat to themselves or others.

City Attorney Wins $388,000 Judgment Against Marijuana Dispensarys Landlords

A judge orders a landlord who leased a San Ysidro storefront to an illegal marijuana dispensary to pay $388,000 in civil penalties to the City. The total of civil judgments won by the City Attorneys Office from illegal marijuana shops now tops $7.8 million. Landlords of illegal dispensaries are no less culpable than their tenants, and we prosecute them with equal vigor, City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said.

Walmart Video Voyeur Sentenced to 150 Days in Jail

The City Attorneys Office successfully prosecutes a voyeur who had hidden a cell phone in a Walmart store bathroom to spy on women and girls. A judge sentences the 52-year-old defendant to 150 days in jail and orders him to register for life as a sex offender.

Barrio Logan Landlord Pleads Guilty

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott continues to fight for tenants living in dangerous and substandard housing conditions, winning a conviction of the property manager of a Barrio Logan duplex who forced tenants to live for years with vermin infestations, plumbing leaks, mold, and without heat. The Office also ensures that the victims, two families with young children, are provided with relocation costs to enable them to move into new homes.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving Honors City Attorneys DUI Prosecutor 2018

Award-winning prosecutor Giovanna LongobardoDeputy City Attorney Giovanna Longobardo is named Outstanding Prosecutor of the Year by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for her conviction record, which includes many technically challenging cases.

City Attorneys Office Trains Law Enforcement Agencies on Gun Violence Restraining Orders

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott leads a regional workshop on Gun Violence Restraining Orders attended by more than 24 government and law enforcement agencies and mental health professionals. The Office trains professionals on how to successfully obtain court orders that remove firearms from individuals who pose a serious risk to themselves or others.

City Attorney Obtains $230,462 in Restitution for Victims of Drunk Driver

The City Attorneys Office obtains a restitution award of more than $230,000 for a San Diego woman and her mother who were injured by a drunk driver. The driver, whose blood-alcohol content was twice the legal limit, admitted he had been drinking vodka that morning after taking prescription medication and then heading to the beach.

City Attorney Sues Experian for Unreported Security Lapse

After a credit agency kept consumers in the dark about its sale of personal information to an individual on the Dark Web, City Attorney Mara W. Elliott announces she is suing the company. Elliotts office filed the consumer-protection lawsuit on behalf of the People of the State of California under the states Business and Professions Code. The defendants collectively aggregate and sell confidential information about consumers, including Social Security numbers, email passwords, and mothers maiden names.

Court Orders Clean Up of Pacific Beach Hoarder House

City Attorneys Office brings relief to neighborhood by obtaining a court order to begin the cleanup and rehabilitation of a residence in the Pacific Beach/Mount Soledad area that has plagued the neighborhood with foul odors, trash, and rodents. Concerned neighbors notified authorities on several occasions that infants or young children were living there in unsafe conditions.

City Attorneys Office, San Diego Police Working to Protect the Public from Gun Violence

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott announced today that her office has now obtained Gun Violence Restraining Orders against 10 gun owners who pose a serious danger to themselves and others. The gun owners some dealing with severe mental health problems were each ordered by a judge to surrender or sell all firearms in their possession and to not acquire or possess firearms or ammunition for 12 months, the maximum allowable by law.

San Carlos Man Ordered to Surrender His Gun

A San Carlos man whom police arrested for firing shots into trees and into a neighborhoods yard while under the influence has been ordered to surrender his firearms and ammunition for one year. The man firing his gun in the area was found with a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit, and was also on prescription medications.

Judge Orders Receiver for College Area Hoarder

The City Attorneys Office brings relief to neighbors and help for a College Area hoarder, after years of neighborhoood complaints of foul odors, rodents, overflowing trash piles and as many as 22 dead rats found by one neighbor.

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott to Host District 5 Coffee and Conversation Community Meeting

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott is inviting residents of Council District 5 to join her for coffee and conversation about her Offices accomplishments and operations at the Rancho Bernardo Community Library.

Border Shuttle Driver Found Guilty of Wildcatting

The City Attorneys Office protects consumers against illegal and unsafe taxi service at the international border, winning a court ruling to shut down the illegal enterprise.