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Office of the City Attorney

2019 News Releases

Statement from City Attorney Mara W. Elliott Regarding Ruling in Hotel Tax Ballot Measure Challenge

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott issues a statement following a Superior Court judges ruling that the language in ballot materials submitted by the City for Measure C complies with all legal requirements.

S.M.A.R.T. Transitional Housing Project Moves Forward

San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott announces that a transitional housing program that helps low-level drug offenders secure treatment in a safe and supportive environment will move forward with the consent of the California Coastal Commission.

Court Orders Receiver for Drug Flophouse

The City Attorneys Office obtained a court order for the appointment of a receiver to oversee the cleanup of a Clairemont Mesa property that has plagued neighbors with narcotics activity and trash for years. The receiver will abate the nuisance, oversee renovations, and offer counseling, therapy, or treatment services to the property owner.

San Diego City Attorney Opposes Proposed Opioid Settlement

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott announces that San Diego is joining other cities and counties across the nation in opposing a proposed settlement between opioid drug manufacturers and four other states prosecutors. A letter stating this opposition has been sent to three of the countrys largest drug manufacturers on behalf of nine cities and counties.

City Attorney Files Lawsuit to Protect Elderly and Dependent Adults

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott announced today that the City has filed suit against the property owners, manager, and operator of a squalid independent living facility in the College area.

San Diego City Attorneys Office Awarded Special Drug DUI Prosecution Grant

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott announced today that drivers arrested for being under the influence of
drugs in the City of San Diego can expect to face highly trained, specialized prosecutors, funded by a
$198,302 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). The grant to the City Attorneys
Office will continue to fund a team that works drug DUI cases from arrest through conviction and

City Attorney Moves to Dismiss Low-level Marijuana Convictions

City Attorney Mara W. Elliotts Office is reviewing more than 5,000 low-level marijuana cases. Charges will be systematically dismissed to clear conviction records for acts that are no longer criminal. Marijuana convictions under obsolete laws should not stand in the way of anyones future, Elliott said.

City Attorney Sues for Unpaid Wages, Overtime, Expenses for Misclassified Gig Economy Workers

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott files a lawsuit aimed at protecting tens of thousands of exploited workers in California, alleging the company misclassified employees as independent contractors to evade long-established worker protections.

Independent Living Facility Operator Charged with Elder Abuse, Theft, and Other Crimes

The operator of a squalid independent living facility is charged with willful cruelty to an elder and other crimes related to his housing of vulnerable seniors and dependent adults in a house overrun with trash, rodents and bed bugs. The case is part of the City Attorneys crackdown on substandard housing and independent living facilities that violate health and safety laws.

Man Sentenced to 240 Days in Custody for Plying Minors with Alcohol

The City Attorneys Office successfully prosecutes a man who was sentenced to 240 days in custody for furnishing alcohol to a minor during a job interview, after which she drove while intoxicated and crashed her vehicle. The crash killed her passenger, her 19-year-old best friend.

Safe Storage Ordinance Goes into Effect Thursday

San Diegos Safe Storage for Firearms Ordinance goes into effect Sept. 12, 2019, requiring guns to be safely secured inside the home. The City Attorney proposed the gun-safety law to help reduce accidental shootings of children and other firearm-related injuries and deaths.

Receiver to Fix Up Dangerous Abandoned Buildings

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott announces that two abandoned buildings that attract drug use and prostitution will be rehabilitated. The property has been vacant for 23 years. Abandoned buildings attract illegal activities that degrade the quality of our neighborhoods, Elliott said.

San Diego Wins $15 Million in Lead Paint Case

The City Attorneys Office prevails in a $15 million lawsuit against paint manufacturers who knowingly put toxic lead in their products long after its destructive health consequences were known. The funds will be used to remove lead paint from older San Diego homes. Though banned decades ago, residual lead paint poisons tens of thousands of children across California each year.

City Attorney Elliotts Law to Protect Children, Families Passes

The San Diego City Council approved the Safe Storage of Firearms Ordinance, City Attorney Mara W. Elliotts common-sense gun-safety law to reduce accidental shootings of children and other firearm-related injuries and deaths. The Safe Storage law requires that firearms in a residence be stored in a locked container or disabled by a trigger lock.

Chronic Nuisance Venue to Pay $90,000 Fine

A concert venue known for disturbances, teen drinking, and public intoxication agrees to remedy violations, after being faced with prosecution from City Attorneys Office. The venue agrees to pay $90,000 in civil penalties and reimburse the City $50,000 in police costs.

City Attorney Elliott Files Complaint Against Chronic Nuisance Venue

The Office files a complaint against a North Park concert venue that has been a source of neighborhood complaints for noise, violence, teenage drinking, public intoxication, public vomiting, and the accumulation of trash, debris, and human waste. Police responded to 174 calls for service there, diverting more than 500 hours of law enforcement time.

City Attorney Spearheads Post-July 4th Beach Clean-Up

The City Attorney's Office offers an innovative option for beachgoers who receive certain non-traffic tickets, to avoid convictions and fines by completing six hours of community service in beach-area neighborhoods over the holiday.

Governor Newsom Expands City Attorney Elliotts Statewide Training to Prevent Gun Violence

The state budget includes a five-fold increase in funding for the City Attorneys Office to continue its innovative training for law enforcement agencies, utilizing Mara W. Elliotts successful Gun Violence Restraining Order program. Since May 2018, the Office has conducted trainings for more than 220 law enforcement and government agencies.

UCSD Serial Flasher Sentenced

A serial flasher operating in the UCSD area is sentenced for indecent exposure in a case successfully prosecuted by the City Attorneys Office. He will be required to register as a sex offender and to get counseling. The 34-year-old admitted the latest indecent exposures, and to conviction of similar lewd acts in Delaware.

City Attorney Proposes Law to Protect Children, Families

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott today proposed a common-sense gun-safety law to reduce accidental shootings of children, and other firearm-related injuries and deaths. Her proposed ordinance was endorsed by a cross-section of local, state, and national organizations.

Criminal Diversion Program Reduces Recidivism

An independent evaluation of the City Attorneys Office Community Justice Initiative confirms that it reduces crime by allowing low-level misdemeanor offenders to have their cases dismissed in exchange for community service. Service has included planting trees, recycling, wiping out graffiti, and cleaning public lands.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving Honors City Attorneys DUI Prosecutor

Deputy City Attorney Jerrica Phillips is honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving as its Outstanding Prosecutor of the Year. Phillips successfully prosecuted criminal cases involving misdemeanor battery, failure to register as an arsonist, vandalism, possession of a controlled substance, and driving under the influence.

Man Pleads Guilty to Giving Alcohol to Minors before Fatal Crash

The defendant pleads guilty, in a City Attorney-prosecuted case, for advertising a job at a marijuana dispensary, then plying the applicant with alcohol. The teenager subsequently drove while intoxicated and crashed her vehicle, killing her 19-year-old passenger.

Criminal Diversion Offers Treatment Instead of Jail Time

As part of their ongoing effort to get low-level drug offenders off the streets and into treatment, City Attorneys Office prosecutors and police create an alternative to arrest for individuals with substance addictions.

City Attorney Recovers $34,500 in Hidden Surcharge Case

A Mission Bay restaurant charging customers a hidden 3% surcharge agrees to pay a fine to settle a lawsuit filed by City Attorney Mara W. Elliott. It was one of more than 11 restaurants pursued by the Offices investigation of concealed surcharges on menus.

Statement by City Attorney Mara W. Elliott on SB 615

I believe our elected leaders have an obligation to tackle tough issues and advance thoughtful solutions to the serious challenges facing our city and its taxpayers, City Attorney Mara Elliot says in her new statement. Im committed to working with stakeholders to make it easier for ordinary people to access public records while reducing expensive and unnecessary lawsuits.

Commentary: SB 615 Will Speed Access to Public Records While Protecting Taxpayers from Unnecessary Lawsuits

As your City Attorney, Im always looking for ways to make government more efficient and transparent. For that reason, Im working with state Sen. Ben Hueso on legislation to streamline record disclosure under the California Public Records Act, the state law that safeguards government accountability and public information.

City Attorney Sues Opioid Manufacturers

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott announces a lawsuit against manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids who created, and are profiting from, the opioid health crisis in San Diego and the nation. The lawsuit seeks to compel the companies to fund drug treatment and education programs in San Diego, return unlawful profits, and recover the costs associated with the Citys response to the opioid crisis.

Plan to Prevent Underage Marijuana Use Advances

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott and police officials propose making it illegal to provide an environment where the underage use of marijuana, controlled substances, and alcohol use can take place.

La Jolla Ivory Traffickers Convicted

A La Jolla art gallery will pay the largest fine ever imposed in an illegal ivory trafficking case in California. I hope this conviction sends a clear message to anyone considering engaging in the ivory black market, as a buyer or a seller, City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said. If you try to make a buck from the brutal slaughter of endangered species, you will be prosecuted and held accountable for your crimes.

City Attorney Obtains 100th Gun Violence Restraining Order

A year after launching Californias most successful Gun Violence Restraining Order program, City Attorney Mara W. Elliott announces that the Office removed more than 265 firearms from unstable, irresponsible, and dangerous gun owners.

City Attorney Provides Services to Sex Trafficking Victims

The San Diego Family Justice Center expands its mission to provide services to sex trafficking victims, as well as survivors of domestic violence.