Inside LADA

February 25, 2019: Meet the District Attorney's Special Counsel

Whenever the law changes, prosecutors and law enforcement officials turn to Devallis Rutledge to tell them what they need to know.

Rutledge, an attorney and former police officer, serves as special counsel to District Attorney Jackie Lacey. He reviews legislation, ballot measures and court decisions and explains their real-life impact to those in the trenches.

“Devallis is the answer man,” said Joseph Esposito, the office’s chief deputy district attorney. “His talent for quickly analyzing court rulings and new laws and explaining them clearly makes him an outstanding resource for our office and for law enforcement agencies.”

Rutledge has dedicated his professional life to training.

He was one of the first people in California to offer help to law enforcement officials as they implemented Proposition 47, which, among other changes, reclassified certain theft and drug possession offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. The measure was approved by voters on Nov. 4, 2014.

The very next day – when the law took effect – Rutledge issued a two-page update that quickly and thoroughly outlined the law’s impact. He also created a seven-minute video that explained to law enforcement personnel what they needed to know about the change in the law.

His popular training memos, called a "One-Minute Brief," are emailed to more than 3,000 people and agencies around the state. They explore ongoing legal issues and how new court rulings affect criminal cases.

With renewed emphasis on reforming California’s criminal justice system, Rutledge’s summaries are more sought after than ever. He covers issues on search warrants and access to cell-phone tower data.

Last month, he spelled out why entering an off-limits room in a business and stealing property – even during business hours – is burglary and not shoplifting.

He has published nearly 330 One-Minute Briefs since 2005. Rutledge also has authored 11 instructional books on topics such as criminal evidence, search and seizure law and interrogation law and tactics. He updates those books regularly.