Gov. Jerry Brown has weighed in on the race for L.A. city attorney, recording a robocall attacking incumbent Carmen Trutanich for “misleading voters” on the issue of prison realignment.
Trutanich supported Brown's realignment plan when he ran for district attorney last year. But now that he's running for re-election as city attorney, Trutanich has turned against realignment and is attacking opponent Mike Feuer for supporting it.
The plan addresses prison overcrowding by transferring responsibility for certain inmates from state to local authorities.
In a mailer, Trutanich calls the plan “the get-out-of-jail early law.” The mailer describes Tobias Summers, the alleged Northridge kidnapper, as “one of Feuer's get-out-of-jail free graduates.”
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has disputed that, saying Summers was not released early.
Brown endorsed Trutanich in his failed DA campaign but now is supporting Feuer over Trutanich in the city attorney race. In the robocall, Brown faults Trutanich for “misleading voters by suddenly attacking a public-safety plan he once supported.”
John Schwada, Trutanich's spokesman, defended the mailer and said that Brown had been misled.
“Jerry Brown is wrong,” Schwada said. “He's got his facts wrong. The facts of the matter are quite evident. He's been hoodwinked by Mike Feuer into believing the mailer is inaccurate.”
Summers is accused of kidnapping and raping a 10-year-old girl in Northridge on March 27. He was released from state prison last July. Schwada notes that under the realignment plan, Summers was placed on probation, instead of parole, because his last offense was petty theft — a non-serious crime. When he violated his probation in January, he was sent to county jail for a 10-day “flash incarceration.” Had Summers been on parole in January, Schwada argues, he would have been sent to state prison for at least a year.
At a debate, Trutanich cited the Summers case and, pointing to Feuer, told the audience, “Tie it right to his neck.”
CDCR spokesman Luis Patino said there is no way to know whether Summers would have received a longer term of incarceration had he been on parole instead of probation.
“He could have gotten a similar short term of incarceration on parole. He could have been put in a drug program,” Patino said. “Nothing says that, each and every time, they would have sent him back to state prison. That's just not true.”
In response, Schwada said, “CDCR is lying to you.”
On Tuesday, DA Jackie Lacey — who defeated Trutanich last year — endorsed Feuer and attacked Trutanich for “misrepresenting facts” on realignment. Lacey called Trutanich's claims “intellectually dishonest.”
For much more about the bitter race between Trutanich and Feuer, check out last week's cover story.