Bobby Ewing, a former marine and Vietnam veteran, holds one of his recent parking tickets on April 19, 2022. Ewing lives in his car, and said police have stopped issuing vehicle habitation citations. Even so, he’s racked up over $5,000 in parking tickets. / Photo by Jakob McWhinney

This post originally appeared in the May 31 Morning Report. Get the free newsletter in your inbox today by clicking here.

City Attorney Mara Elliott’s office told the Union-Tribune it isn’t planning to change its procedures weeks after a Superior Court appellate panel concluded that her office violated the constitutional rights of a homeless man.  

As our Jesse Marx has previously reported, Elliott’s office has long come under fire for removing itself from the discovery process in infraction cases, effectively turning San Diego police officers into prosecutors who are responsible for turning over evidence that could clear a defendant’s name.

Coleen Cusack, who represents San Diegan Matthew Houser, argues the recent court ruling mandates that city prosecutors provide evidence on minor cases such as tickets for traffic violations or offenses commonly tied to homelessness.

An Elliott spokeswoman said last week that her office saw the decision as “binding only to that case” and said that policy changes wouldn’t be forthcoming unless the state Court of Appeal or Supreme Court makes a ruling.

The District Attorney’s Office, which prosecutes infractions elsewhere in the county, told the U-T it’s still assessing the impact of the ruling.

Related: Sheriff’s race candidate John Hemmerling, Elliott’s chief criminal prosecutor, abruptly retired from the City Attorney’s Office last week. The announcement came a day after the U-T reversed its endorsement of his candidacy. The newspaper changed its stance after hearing audio of an April meeting where Hemmerling criticized a recent county-approved ordinance that included transgender women in its definition of women. Catch up on Marx’s coverage of the sheriff’s race here

Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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