Uphold the law


I am a taxpayer and native of the City of Santa Monica. I am requesting the termination of Terry White, Chief Deputy of the Criminal Division of the City of Santa Monica’s City Attorney’s office. Mr. White has refused to uphold the law, creating a blatant dereliction of duty.

I have family and friends employed within law enforcement at the City of Santa Monica and have known for years that Terry White has refused to file criminal complaints against suspects due to his own ludicrous reasoning and his interpretation of the California Penal Code. I’ve heard several stories of Terry White’s idiotic decisions to not prosecute suspects and fulfill his duty to uphold the law on behalf of the People – I can no longer remain silent as his recent dereliction of duty has now affected my family.

One of White’s recent failures to file a criminal complaint affected one of my family members, my 82-year-old Mother. In White’s twisted and improper interpretation of the Penal Code, apparently, a suspect cannot be charged with a criminal offense if the suspect and the victim are actively involved in a civil dispute. Despite overwhelming evidence, which includes photographs of the suspect maliciously (an element of vandalism) destroying property not belonging to him (an element of vandalism), Terry White cowardly refused to file the criminal complaint against the suspect. In a phone conversation with Mr. White, he called the case a “slam dunk” – but stated he did not want to file due to an ongoing civil dispute. The matter may have begun as a civil dispute, however, the suspect escalated the matter into a criminal offense through his own deliberate and malicious actions. Unfortunately, my elderly Mother cannot rely on the Santa Monica City Attorney’s office to protect her – and neither can other victims of crimes.

Throughout Mr. White’s tenure with the City, he has refused to file criminal complaints against countless suspects that has jeopardized the safety and quality of life of Santa Monica’s residents and visitors. Mr. White has also cost Santa Monica’s taxpayers millions of dollars in wasted personnel hours that the men and women of the Santa Monica Police Department have put forth in investigations and arrests that Mr. White then fails to prosecute. Another enormous cost to taxpayers has come in the way of millions of dollars in settlement payments to undeserving suspects, whose arrest cases were, you guessed it, not filed by Mr. White. The suspects file suit against SMPD and the City for false arrest, and we the taxpayers become responsible for Mr. White’s gross dereliction of duty.

I understand with limited jail space and the passage of Proposition 47 and 57 that criminal prosecution and sentencing has become a challenge. However, other sentencing options do exist, such as community service. In my opinion, Mr. White simply refuses to file criminal complaints against suspects due to fear of possibly ending up in a criminal trial. The problem with not pursuing charges against suspects is that it creates an environment where criminals / suspects know they can commit crimes and not be punished by the City – Mr. White’s refusal to file criminal complaints actually encourages and empowers criminals at the expense of Santa Monica’s citizens.

The time has come to terminate Terry White. The residents and visitors of Santa Monica deserve better – they have a right to be protected under the law. A new prosecutor needs to be hired, an attorney who cares about protecting the rights of citizens / victims and upholding the law.

I encourage all readers who have filed a crime report with SMPD, with a known and named suspect, or has been a victim of a crime (within Santa Monica) in which a suspect was arrested to contact the City Attorney’s office (tel: 310-458-8336) and inquire regarding the disposition of their criminal complaint. Based on my experience with Mr. White and stories I have heard from within the City it is highly unlikely a criminal complaint was filed against the suspect.

Ricardo Rodriguez is a Santa Monica resident.

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