Former L.A. City Attorney Faces Discipline Charges for Prosecutor Misconduct

By William Vogeler, Esq. on February 26, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The California State Bar has filed disciplinary charges against a former Los Angeles City Attorney for allegedly hiding evidence in a death penalty case in 1985.

Carmen A. Trutanich, 65, was a county prosecutor at the time. The disciplinary action comes after a federal judge overturned the defendant's murder conviction last year.

Judge David O. Carter said Trutanich's actions in the case were "deeply troubling," including his failure to correct false testimony by a key witness. Patricia Lewis, who testified that she saw Barry Glenn Williams shoot the victim, gave a false name for the driver of the car she was in at the time of the murder. 

The judge concluded that the prosecutor knew or should have known it was a lie.

It Was a Lie

In a press release announcing the disciplinary action against Trutanich, the State Bar said it is notified when a criminal conviction is overturned due to attorney misconduct. The bar said he is accused of withholding the true name and address of a witness from the defense and failing to correct false testimony by two witnesses in the case.

"Trutanich, who served as elected-Los Angeles City Attorney from 2009-2013, will have a chance to respond to the charges, which must be proven in State Bar Court and approved by the California Supreme Court before any discipline is imposed," according to the release.

Not Going to Hell

David Cameron Carr, a professional responsibility attorney, said Trutanich denies the disciplinary charges and "looks forward to defending himself before the State Bar of California."

Trutanich defended himself after the federal judge threw out the case, saying that he did not know the testimony about the driver's identity was false. His notes showed the driver's true name, but Trutanich said he was not sure about it.

"I'm sure as hell not going to my grave and meeting my maker having hid information in a death penalty case," Trutanich told The Times last year. "Never happened. Never happened. No. Not me."

Williams remains in custody, serving time for a separate murder.

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