LA sheriff's legal settlements rise in 2013

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Los Angeles County's overall spending on lawsuits dropped last year but costs for the Sheriff's Department rose, driven primarily by settlements and trial judgments in excessive-force cases.

The Los Angeles Times reports that LA County spent $43 million on lawsuits involving the Sheriff's Department during the 2013 fiscal year, accounting for nearly half the county's total litigation costs.

RELATED: County approves $722,000 settlement in jail inmate lawsuit

A report by the county's attorneys to the Board of Supervisors says overall county spending on lawsuits was down from $115 million in 2012 to $89 million.

The Sheriff's Department has been hit by allegations of widespread abuse of jail inmates and misconduct. Federal authorities have announced criminal charges against 18 deputies and supervisors.

Last week, Sheriff Lee Baca said he would retire at the end of the month. 

RELATED: Update: Sheriff Baca to retire; LAPD deputy chief considering run

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