Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, June 1, 2009


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Trutanich Names Livesay Chief Deputy City Attorney

Philibosian and Hertzberg Tapped to Head Transition Team


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Los Angeles City Attorney-elect Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich Friday named former chief deputy district attorney Curt Livesay as his chief deputy and former Assistant U.S. Attorney William W. Carter as his chief of staff.

Trutanich, who takes office July 1, also unveiled a transition team, led by former Los Angeles County District Attorney Robert Philibosian and former California State Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg. Jane Usher, who served as counsel to then-Mayor Tom Bradley and as president of the Planning Commission, will be the transition executive director, and additional transition team members will be announced this week, Trutanich said in a release.

Carter is currently a partner with Musick Peeler & Garrett LLP and member of the firm’s Public and Environmental Law practice group. His practice  focuses on the representation of public entities, including municipalities, water districts, and school districts, in environmental, OSHA, public health and safety, natural resource protection, land use, maritime, and climate change matters.

Prior to joining the firm in 2006, Carter spent over 20 years prosecuting state and federal environmental crimes. He began his career with the City Attorney’s Office, then moved on to the District Attorney’s Office, where he worked on task force prosecutions and served as a special assistant U.S. attorney.

In 1992 Carter was appointed by then-Gov. Pete Wilson to serve as assistant secretary and general counsel in the newly-created California Environmental Protection Agency.

From 1994 through 2006, Carter served as an assistant U.S. attorney, spending the last five years as the chief environmental crimes prosecutor for the Central District of California.

Deputy Chief

During his 12-year tenure with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Carter also served as the deputy chief of the Public Corruption and Government Fraud Section, as a member of the United States Department of Justice’s Environmental Policy Committee, co-chair of the Los Angeles Federal Environmental Task Force, and chair of the Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo Regional Environmental Task Force.

Since graduating from UCLA and Loyola Law School and being admitted to practice in 1984, Carter has handled a number of high-profile cases, including the prosecutions of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and the shipping giant Evergreen International for oil dumping.

Carter also helped prosecute the Grow Group Inc., whose illegal storage of wastes caused more than 30,000 residents to be evacuated from their homes, resulting in jail sentences for two executives and a large fine for the corporation. He helped prosecute the officers involved in the LAPD Rampart Division scandal.

Livesay, currently of counsel to Trutanich’s Long Beach firm of Trutanich Michel LLP, served as District Attorney Steve Cooley’s chief deputy from 2001 to 2006.

He began his career as a deputy district attorney after earning both his undergraduate and law degrees from UCLA Law School and gaining admission to the State Bar in 1965.

Ten years later, Livesay became head deputy of the Juvenile Division, and in 1979 became chief deputy to then-District Attorney John Van de Kamp.

Head Deputy

In that position, Livesay was charged with deciding in which cases the office would seek the death penalty and took the unusual move of inviting defense attorneys to argue against capital punishment before making his decision.

Defense attorneys would be notified of Livesay’s decision in a document which came to be known in the legal lexicon as a “Livesay Letter.”

From 1979 until 1991, Livesay returned decisions in over 1,300 cases, including those of serial killers Richard Ramirez, known as ‘The Night Stalker,” and William Bonin, the so-called “Freeway Killer.”

Livesay retired from the office in 1991 and entered private practice, but returned in 2001 at the request of Cooley.

Trutanich praised Carter and Livesay as the “Dream Team of prosecutorial leadership,” adding that he was “thrilled that they have agreed to return to public service to reform and reshape the Office of City Attorney.”

 He also predicted the next five weeks “will be immensely productive” for his transition team, with “Robert Philibosian’s steady hand and experience, Bob Hertzberg’s bold and imaginative ideas and Jane Usher’s passion to protect local neighborhoods and her knowledge of City Hall” at play.

The transition team will be co-chaired by Philibosian, currently of counsel to Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton and  the Government Relations Team Leader for Sheppard Mullin’s Global Climate Change Team, and Hertzberg, the vice chairman of the of Mayer Brown.

Philibosian began his legal career in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in 1968 after his graduation from Stanford University and Southwestern Law School, rising through the ranks to become head deputy of the Van Nuys branch office.

In 1979, Philibosian became the chief assistant attorney general in charge of the Criminal Law Division under then-Attorney General George Deukmejian, and later became California’s chief deputy attorney general.

When Van de Kamp was elected attorney general in 1982, the Board of Supervisors appointed Philibosian as district attorney, but he was defeated by Ira Reiner in 1984 and transitioned into private practice.

He joined the old-line Los Angeles firm of MacDonald, Halstead and Laybourne—which later merged into the international mega-firm of Baker & McKenzie—and after Baker & McKenzie closed the Los Angeles office in 1994, moved on to Sheppard Mullin.

Hertzberg, a three-term assemblyman from the San Fernando Valley, served as speaker of the California assembly from 2000 to 2002.

Hertzberg made a failed bid for mayor of Los Angeles in 2005, but backed the winner, Antonio Villaraigosa, in the runoff and served as chair of Villaraigosa’s transition team. He also served as an advisor and transition team member to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.  

Most recently, Hertzberg replaced Leon Panetta— who was tapped by President Obama to serve as director of the Central Intelligence Agency— as co-Chairman of California Forward,  a bi-partisan group focused on “repairing” the “dysfunction” of California’s government.

Usher served as president of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission from October 2005 through December 2008 as the appointee of Villaraigosa. She also participated on the founding board and steering committee of the Mayor’s Million Trees Foundation.

 A 1977 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Cornell University, Usher earned her law degree from the University of Chicago in 1980. After being admitted to practice in California that same year, Usher joined Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg & Tunney—now Manatt, Phelps & Phillips—as a land use litigator and administrative lawyer.

Usher subsequently took a leave of absence from the firm to hold the posts of  associate vice president and associate general counsel to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. She later became general counsel for the United States Football League, the America’s Cup, and the Association of Volleyball Professionals.

 In 1989, Usher moved to the office of then-Mayor Bradley, where she became the first person to hold the title of counsel to the mayor. Prior to Bradley leaving office in 1993, Usher served as legal advisor, policy advocate, speech writer, and liaison to the city attorney and the newly created Ethics Commission.

She sat for Bradley on the board of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and helped to guide his merger of the former Los Angeles County Transportation Commission and the Southern California Rapid Transit District.

 After leaving city government, Usher became assistant dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication in 1998. She retired in 2002.


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