Former deputy public defenders who transferred to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and sought protection from threats they say they have received as witnesses during hearings on appeals by other prosecutors have dropped their legal action against the county Civil Service Commission.
The petition was originally brought Oct. 25 in Los Angeles Superior Court by the District Attorney’s Office, asking that ongoing commission hearings on the appeals be stayed until the current legal action is decided. The petitioners also wanted future commission proceedings closed to the public and court papers sealed.
The problems have included an unpermitted recording of the proceedings and dissemination of the recording to others in the public, publication of motions and declarations meant to be confidential, the use of derogatory screen names by spectators and several social media posts inciting stalking and violence against the transferees, according to the petitioners’ court papers
However, on Oct. 11, Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff denied the petitioners’ request for emergency implementation of their requested actions with a temporary restraining order. But the judge also said the TRO request could be renewed later with new evidence.
On Tuesday, Nov. 29, lawyers for the petitioners filed court papers with Beckloff asking that the petition be dropped “without prejudice,” meaning it can be resumed under appropriate circumstances. The court papers did not state why the petition was being dropped.
According to the petition, since the transfer of the former public defenders to the District Attorney’s Office, many witnesses who testified on their behalf have been subjected to intense media scrutiny, have received threats of physical harm, experienced physical intimidation and been relentlessly harassed online.
In October 2021, the Association of Deputy District Attorneys brought its own petition seeking to stop District Attorney George Gascón from transferring deputy public defenders to the District Attorney’s Office.
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