Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog


Should a criminal case be filed in Felony or Misdemeanor court? Top L.A. Prosecutors disagree in advance of upcoming Election.

Posted on: July 15, 2007 at 10:38 a.m.

During a drunken rampage at a Los Angeles hotel in 2005, off-duty Yuba City Police Officer Jesus Barrios groped the breast of a female colleague and pointed his .40-caliber service weapon at guests in the lobby.

When Los Angeles police arrived, Barrios led them on a brief chase and had to be physically restrained. A test later revealed that his blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit.

The evidence was made even stronger when investigators found that images of Barrios menacing guests and staff had been captured on hotel video cameras.

Los Angeles City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo's prosecutors (Responsible for Misdemeanor Prosecutions) wanted Barrios to be charged with a felony, such as assault with a deadly weapon, which could have sent him to state prison.

As Calfiornia law prevents the City Attorney's Office from prosecuting more than misdemeanors, the case was referrred to Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, whose office decided it was not serious enough to warrant a felony charge. In a memo outlining his decision, Cooley's office noted that the police officer had been drunk, had not said anything threatening and that events had unfolded "so quickly." The case was passed back to Delgadillo, who filed a series of criminal misdemeanors and obtained a guilty plea that put Barrios in a rehabilitation center for up to 18 months.

Lawyers in Delgadillo's office point to the Barrios case

Tagged as: federal law and defense







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