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As state and local budgets take shape in the worst fiscal environment in 50 years, prosecutors are hunting for ways to cut costs. In Oregon, court budgets are so tight that officials are setting free those arrested for car theft and shoplifting because there’s no money to hire lawyers for them or pay court staff to push their paperwork through the system. And in Alameda County, supervisors are thinking about doing away with certain misdemeanor prosecutions to slash spending. Because it’s only going to get worse, creative crime-fighters are on the prowl for money-saving steps. Here are some of the steps that have surfaced thus far, as outlined in confidential memos obtained by The Recorder: To: All Personnel From: Attorney General Bill Lockyer Subject: Priorities In these tough fiscal times, it is incumbent upon our office to carefully allocate our resources among our many constitutional mandates. And get me elected governor. So, to make better use of our limited budget, we will be implementing some changes in our appellate defense of routine criminal convictions. While some of you may feel this is our bread and butter, it simply no longer makes sense to devote hours of lawyer time recreating the wheel in each of these appeals. Instead, all deputy AGs will henceforth be filing “form” briefs in such cases. To develop the form brief, I’ve hired three (currently unlicensed) lawyers from Beverly Hills who specialize in the drafting of form pleadings. I don’t anticipate that reliance on the Trevor Law Group’s form briefs will have any appreciable effect on our sky-high affirmance rate. (Believe me, if I thought it would, we wouldn’t be doing this.) After 21 years of judicial appointments from Deukmejian, Wilson and Davis, there aren’t many judges out there willing to reverse criminal convictions, no matter what legal arguments are or are not advanced. Form briefing will free up resources to focus on matters of more pressing concern to voters — like stopping telemarketers from calling while you’re in the middle of dinner. More importantly, it will give our lawyers more time to hone our fence-straddling positions on issues of intense interest to wealthy and/or vocal constituencies, leaving me to focus on the leveraging of campaign contributions from Hollywood, the plaintiffs bar, and (more recently) the financial services sector. To: All personnel From: U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan Subject: Public corruption This office has long talked publicly of an emphasis on public corruption cases. The unspoken target, of course, has always been S.F. Mayor Willie Brown. With just months remaining in his term as mayor, however, it’s still unclear precisely where Brown will end up, and how much political influence he’ll continue to assert. And I don’t want to find out. So, henceforth, investigating and prosecuting the widespread graft in San Francisco government will no longer be a priority here. Of course, this won’t save us any money. (Talk, which is all we’ve ever done, is still cheap.) But it should conserve political capital. To: S.F. Deputy DAs From: DA Terence Hallinan Subject: Budget cuts As you all know, police misconduct cases are extraordinarily complex and expensive to prosecute. That would be especially true, I believe, in cases where there is actual evidence to support police misconduct charges. Sifting through and presenting evidence is among the most time-intensive aspects of our work. Yet, in some cases, the public expects, and deserves, no less. Therefore, it has long been — and will continue to be — my policy that our office move forward with prosecution only in those cases where there is no evidence. To further conserve our precious prosecutorial resources, I’ll continue to oversee those cases personally.

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