Rocky Delgadillo

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Rocky Delgadillo
6th City Attorney of Los Angeles
In office
July 1, 2001 – June 30, 2009
Preceded by James Hahn
Succeeded by Carmen Trutanich
Personal details
Born Rockard John Delgadillo
(1960-07-15) July 15, 1960 (age 56)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Michelle Delgadillo
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma mater Harvard University (B.A.)
Columbia Law School (J.D.)
Occupation Los Angeles Unified School District
O'Melveny & Myers
Director of Business Development, Rebuild LA
Deputy Mayor of Economic Development, Office of Mayor Richard Riordan
Website Official website

Rockard John "Rocky" Delgadillo (born July 15, 1960) is an American politician. He is the former City Attorney of Los Angeles, California.



Rocky Delgadillo is a native of the Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Highland Park. Delgadillo attended Harvard College, where he won the Robert F. Kennedy Award given each year to a member of the varsity football team who demonstrates a strong desire, determination, and willingness to work hard as a valuable member of the team earning the respect and admiration of his teammates and coaches.[citation needed] He went on to Columbia Law School, graduating in 1986.

After a short time in private practice at the prestigious Los Angeles law firm O'Melveny & Meyers, he joined Rebuild LA, a non-profit formed in the wake of the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. He later joined the administration of Mayor Richard Riordan, eventually becoming deputy mayor for economic development.[citation needed]

He ran against former Governor and Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown in the 2006 race for the Democratic nomination for state Attorney General of California. He lost by a wide margin, despite having spent over $3 million on television commercials in the last few weeks of the election.

City Attorney[edit]

As City Attorney, he has subscribed to the "broken windows" theory of law enforcement.[citation needed] Among the programs Delgadillo has implemented is a neighborhood prosecutor program that put city attorneys in each of the city's police divisions. He has also sped up the implementation of civil gang injunctions, which largely limit association by gang members in certain defined areas. Civil rights groups have challenged the injunctions,[citation needed] but the state's courts have upheld them.[citation needed] They have come under renewed attention recently, particularly in South Los Angeles, where some community members have complained that it is difficult for gang members to escape a sometimes intrusive law enforcement structure.

In response to concerns expressed by some members of the City Council, as well as some L.A. residents, regarding the City's injunction policies, the City Attorney's Office in April 2007 issued a report on gang injunctions and an accompanying set of guidelines that articulated the proper application and use of injunctions, as well as providing a roadmap for reformed gang members to get themselves off an injunction. Although they faced some criticism from the ACLU, these guidelines were embraced by community members as well as members of the City Council and law enforcement officials, who viewed them as striking a careful balance between effective gang suppression and respecting the civil liberties of those accused.

One of the most well-publicized prosecutions by Delgadillo's office was that of entertainer Paul Reubens, more commonly known as Pee Wee Herman, for possession of child pornography. Delgadillo's office arranged a plea bargain requiring Reubens to pay a $100 fine and serve three years of probation.[1] Delgadillo was criticized, for recommending to the Los Angeles City Council that the City pay $2.7 million to black firefighter Tennie Pierce, who alleged he was fed dog food as a firehouse prank and later retaliated against by his fellow firefighters when he complained to superiors. Delgadillo argued that the City would be forced to pay even more money to Mr. Pierce had the case gone to trial, in light of a troubling audit of race relations at the department by City Controller Laura Chick, and jury verdicts in past cases of a similar nature.

According to the Los Angeles Times, in September 2007, the City of Los Angeles agreed to pay Pierce $1.49 million to avoid going to trial, with the blessing of the Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, who had vetoed the earlier $2.7 million settlement offer proposed by Delgadillo, and the City Council. With legal costs to the City reaching an estimated $1.35 million, the taxpayers ended up having to pay out $2.84 million in the Pierce matter.

An agreement facilitating digital billboards in Los Angeles while he was seeking campaign funds from the industry created controversy as to possible bias in agreeing to the advertising expansion.[2]

While he was City Attorney, Delgadillo repeatedly let his wife drive his city-issued GMC Yukon.[3] During one such incident, she extensively damaged the car. At the time of the crash, Michelle Delgadillo had a suspended driver's license and an outstanding arrest warrant and was not permitted to operate a motor vehicle under the law.[4] Delgadillo and his wife had the car repaired, and then expensed it to the city.[3] Though Delgadillo later repaid the over $1,000 bill, the issue and later scandals caused substantial media interest in his office.[5]

After the Yukon incident, the media continued to investigate Delgadillo.[5] They next discovered a scandal wherein Delgadillo and his wife had city attorney employees baby sit and run personal errands.[4] Delgadillo said in a statement to the press that he had relied on city employees to take care of some errands, but that he had offered personal payment for their time.[4] He continued by saying that all of the employees took their personal time for these errands.[4]

In 2007, Delgadillo's wife, Michelle, was the subject of an investigation by the California Franchise Tax Board. A consulting firm that she had been running had failed to file tax returns since its inception in 2005, and was later barred from operating in California.[6]

Attorney General campaign[edit]

With incumbent California Attorney General Jerry Brown running for governor, Delgadillo announced that he again would seek the Democratic nomination for Attorney General.[7] During the campaign, his previous missteps began to take their toll. In the L.A. Times endorsement, the editorial board remarked that he had been a "deep disappointment" as city attorney.[8] Delgadillo lost the Democratic Party primary to Kamala Harris,[9] who won the seat in the general election.


External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
James Hahn
City Attorney of Los Angeles, California
July 1, 2001 – July 1, 2009
Succeeded by
Carmen Trutanich