Judge Tosses California’s Case Against Bell Officials

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A case against former Bell officials alleging waste of public funds has been thrown out in a ruling.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ralph Dau said Tuesday that the case brought by the state Attorney General’s office was legislative in nature and should not be decided in the courts.

City News Service reports that the eight defendants named in the suit included former City Manager Robert Rizzo, recalled Mayor Oscar Hernandez and former police Chief Randy Adams.

Rizzo is charged with more than 50 counts for orchestrating a scam that nearly bankrupted the working-class suburb. Los Angeles Prosecutors said that in all, former Bell officials have looted more than $6 million of city money for lavish salaries and perks.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • drozone69

    Bell is not the only city that does this.After this judge was payed off,more elected officials will follow suit.And why not.There is a law which protects them from this.They new this all along.City prosececuters are the lowest educated and least experienced trial laywers around.They have no motivation,as the tax-dollars support them regardless if working hard or not,and in this case it is not.

    • Saber 1

      Hopefully the city goes broke and all the ILLEGAL ALIEN trash from the third world toilet country of Mexico go back home.

  • Jim Gates

    the judge needs to do the right thing and resign

  • swhitS

    This Judge should be sitting next to Rizzo and co. The amount of criminality and fraud is pathetic.

  • Robert S.

    This is absolute “graft and corruption”, and is quite common with politics in our great nation. People in power have no shame, and the only cure is people demanding change. This judge should be barred from his post A.S.A.P! This is something California should be really mad about, as it is not tolerable! Get a rope boys, lets “hang um all high!”

  • Robert S.

    Rizzo and his gang should be glad that the judge is in their pockets! Really a damn shame!

  • Robert S.

    God bless the folks in Bell, as a big part of the system has failed um!

  • ginny

    I am dumbfounded! How can we expect anyone to respct and follow any laws when something as blatant as this can be thrown out. This is a disgrace. To the Prosecutors and the residents of Bell, I cannot believe that the CA Judicial system could have spit in your face and openly condoned the actions of these people (felons) as they have. Beware all residents of CA, we stand no chance of weeding out the corrupt and holding them answerable anymore.

  • Robert S.

    Jail is too good for all the council, and former city leaders of Bell! There is not any good left in the system of justice, to let um all go!

  • HooDatIS?


  • Russ

    corruption at our highest levels of government where criminal acts are bought off
    Does our constitution mean anything anymore. Is this rule of law or are they just making this stuff up for their own personal gain. So crime does pay and pays alot lol.lol. Are not the laws made to protect us or to protect criminals and thieves.
    BE CAREFUL WHO YOU VOTE FORE. maybe it should be illegal for lawyers and attorneys to run for office. lol.lol. Wow I just cant believe our government can keep getting away with undermining the working class. This is sad.

  • afs2

    I always wondered what these folks were being charged with. If they had made their salaries $100K and then embezzled several hundred more, I could see a case, but what they did was to make their salaries huge and then just collect them. They may have acted contrary to the public trust but was there a law violated in their doing that? Seems the country as a whole did this by passing a law to learn what was in that law. Sorry for the people of Bell, but they should have been more watchful. There is an expensive lesson here for all of us to learn. Don’t trust the government.

    • icecream

      Despite my reply to “Rick”, I actually do agree with you.

  • Rick

    I am an attorney and i have been before judge dau on many cases and i can tell you that he is strict and a straight shooter. he does not play games and it is extremely unfair for anyone to accuse him of graft or complicity in the Bell scandal. The bottom line is that the civil case was tossed out because Rizzo’s attorney successfully argued that there was no civil mechanism- no “cause of action”- for holding Rizzo and Co liable under civil laws- this has nothing to do with the criminal case. I actually read the first ruling that Judge Dau made when ruling on AG’s lawsuit and it was clear that the lawsuit was politically motivated because Brown was running for governor- the judge actually called him on it in the ruling. For those not trained in the law, the procedure used was a “demurrer.” it is considered a legal “so what.” It challenged the pleadings (the complaint) filed by the AG by arguing you have made all of these allegations- so what- there is no cognizable cause of action? Typically, the judicial policy is to allow the plaintiff plenty of opportunities to file an amended complaint. However, after 2 or 3 times, if it becomes rather obvious that the plaintiff cannot amend the complaint- which was obvious here, then the judge is obligated to “dismiss without leave to amend.” That is what happened here. So for those of you that think Judge Dau is out to lunch- he is not. He followed the law as he is required to do and I can tell you that he is actually a very good judge considering some of the lot we have in downtown Los Angeles. This had nothing to do with corruption. If the legislature had laws on the books that actually created a civil claim for what Rizzo did, we’d have a different situation but there is none. If there was, there is no doubt the AG could have successfully sated taht claim the first go around. Judge Dau saw Brown’s lawsuit for what it was – a BS political opportunity by gubernatorial candidate Brown and he did the right thing. I agree, what Rizzo and his gang of thugs did is for the crimial courts and they should be heavily punished for that.

    So, for those of you that have commented on this story who have no legal training, you should reserve comment if you don’t know what you are talking about.

    • Gary

      Rick, thanks for your clear words. I wonder how many people who have commented here read the judge’s ruling and actually understand the situation. What happened in Bell was clearly unethical, but without a legal cause of action, the judge had no choice but to do what he did. That’s how the law work. You don’t just get to make decisions based on “feeling” that something is unfair.

    • icecream

      To JD Rick:
      You may be in possession of a Bar card, but you are obviously ignorant regarding the freedom of comments that are made in a public forum.
      You insult those who have commented as not knowing what they are talking about. You further go on to tell them that they should reserve comment.
      They have the right to express their opinions about Judge Dau and the Bell officials.
      I also believe the corrupt maggots who were no less than leeches should not simply have the ability to skirt their respossibilities as PUBLIC SERVANTS. Nor should they be able to rape and plunder the city’s treasury.
      Try to tell the citizens of Bell that they have no reason or right to be angry that they were being charged fees and fines by Bell, only to realize later that the funds did not benefit THEIR city, it went straight into the pockets of a band of thieves.
      What about the Compton officials who, a few years ago were not only tried but prosecuted and sentenced for similar crimes ?
      Maybe you and Judge Dau should blame Governor Brown and work to overturn their convictions also.

    • Ron

      So Rick, what is the next step for the people of Bell and all taxpayers, to right this wrong? Who can step up and handle the legal action, against the corrupt members of the City of Bell? Who and how do they pay for the legal fees?

      Thanks for explanation, but what can be done NOW?

    • No last name

      Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah. Why don’t you tell us your last name Rick?
      Quit stroking yourself and tell us your last name so you can make your statement credible.

    • qbert

      Rick. You are slap. You live the life of a seagull at a city dump.

    • Russ

      Rick you are right I dont have legal training I am just a hard working American who makes a living by actually working and know what is morally right and wrong and just trying to get buy.As I see it you are part of the problem being a attorney who cares what is right or wrong as long as you win and get paid. So as I see it your grandstanding to protect a judge who just thew out a civil suit. what now the legislation rewards those who embezzle, falsify records, collect huge salary and on top of that give themselves raises. all on my tax dollar. And I am not suppose to say a dam word because Im not a lawyer. Thank god Brown did say something. You are a sick person in my opinion and part of a very corrupt run away system that needs to be completely overhauld

      Hope you win your next case oh you get paid win or lose eh.


    Yall know politics too well. Politicians know each other on/off work. They rub elbows & put elbow grease on each other all the time.

  • sadtruth

    This is no surprise. Our justice system in Los Angeles County is completely broken and corrupt. Where would I even start with the countless examples of blatant corruption and outright theft from taxpayers that goes unpunished everyday in City Halls throughout the county. Who will finally step up and make the right decision unswayed by kickbacks and political misdeeds? Most likely, nobody for a very long time. They say our votes are supposed to be the voice of the people. Well, when all you have are a bunch of greedy unethical thieves to choose from, voting for the “lesser of two evils” is all we have. Sad. Someday, I hope each and everyone of these local politicians goes to their grave at an old age knowing they lived a life of bad karma. Someday justice will be served in a different court of ethics where money does not dictate what is right and wrong..

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