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L.A. County supervisors violated open meeting law, D.A. finds

January 30, 2012 |  7:52 pm


Los Angeles County supervisors violated the law last fall by holding a closed-door meeting with Gov. Jerry Brown to discuss a plan to shift nonviolent state prisoners to county jail and supervision after release, according to the county district attorney's office. 

Attorneys for the Board of Supervisors had claimed the secret meeting was necessary because the state's so-called "realignment" plan constituted a potential threat to public services. But in a letter dated Jan. 24, Jennifer Lentz Snyder, assistant head deputy district attorney, said the meeting should have been held in open because the information discussed did not pose a specific enough public threat.

"The closed session was simply not permissible under the law," wrote Lentz Snyder.

The district attorney's office did not recommend any punishment, saying similar meetings in the future seemed unlikely.

The supervisors' top legal advisor, County Counsel Andrea Sheridan Ordin, said Monday in an email that "reasonable people and even reasonable lawyers can disagree."

Transferring inmates, some with serious mental health problems, without adequate funding was seen by the board as "a unique and potential threat" to inmates' access to public services and a "grave public safety issue," Ordin said.


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--Jason Song

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown discusses his plan to transfer prisoners at a Sacramento meeting  with law enforcement officials last year. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press