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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the difference between the City Attorney and the District Attorney? 
  2. Who are the City Attorney's clients?
  3. Can the City Attorney represent private citizens?
  4. How can I get a copy of the City Code or a City ordinance?
  5. Who do I call to report a potential Sacramento City Code violation?
  6. My neighbor's tree limbs and branches overhang my property. Can I trim them without my neighbor's permission? If my neighbor’s tree limbs and branches fall on my property, can I make my neighbor clean them up? 
  7. I drove my car through a pothole in the street and sustained damage to my car. I feel the City was negligent. Will the City pay for this? 
  8. Someone made a complaint about a code violation on my property and I want to find out who made that complaint. Do I have a right to that information under the Public Records Act?
  9. I need to do legal research on a private matter. Can I use the law books in the Office of the City Attorney for that research?
  10. How do I obtain a copy of documents the city has in its files?

What is the difference between the City Attorney and the District Attorney? 

The City Attorney is the attorney for the City of Sacramento, and is appointed by the City Council.

The attorneys in the Office provide legal services to the Mayor, City Council, City Treasurer, City Clerk as well as for City departments, boards, commissions and officers. The Office also prosecutes violations of the Sacramento City Code, but not any violations of State law.

The District Attorney is an elected official who investigates and prosecutes criminal activity (other than violations of the Sacramento City Code) throughout Sacramento County. The DA's Office number is (916) 874-6218. www.sacda.org/  

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Who are the City Attorney's clients?

Along with the City Manager, City Clerk and the City Treasurer, the City Attorney is directly selected by, and serves at the pleasure of, the City Council pursuant to City Charter. The City of Sacramento, represented by the City Council, is the City Attorney’s “client.”

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Can the City Attorney represent private citizens?

No. The City Attorney does not represent individuals in private legal matters. Attorneys in the office only represent City departments and employees in the course of their official business.

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How can I get a copy of the City Code or a City ordinance?

The Sacramento City Code is available online.  Hard copies of codes or a particular ordinance may be obtained from the City Clerk's office located at 915 I Street, Historic City Hall, 1st Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 808-7200.

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Who do I call to report a potential Sacramento City Code violation?

All violations of local laws must be made to an investigative agency such as the Sacramento Police Department or the Neighborhood Services Department. Do NOT report violations directly to the City Attorney.

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My neighbor's tree limbs and branches overhang my property. Can I trim them without my neighbor's permission? If my neighbor’s tree limbs and branches fall on my property, can I make my neighbor clean them up?

This is a private civil matter. To obtain specific legal advice on your situation, you need to consult a private attorney.

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I drove my car through a pothole in the street and sustained damage to my car. I feel the City was negligent. Will the City pay for this?

If you feel the City was negligent and you wish to pursue the matter, you must file a notice of claim against the City of Sacramento. Please contact the City Clerk at (916) 808-7200 to obtain the appropriate written information.

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Someone made a complaint about a code violation on my property and I want to find out who made that complaint. Do I have a right to that information under the Public Records Act?

No. The City takes the position that such information is exempt from the disclosure requirements of the Public Records Act. Therefore, the City will not release such information without a valid court order directing it to do so. Such information could be used to harass citizens who complain about code violations in their neighborhoods.

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I need to do legal research on a private matter. Can I use the law books in the Office of the City Attorney for that research?

No. The legal research materials in the Office of the City Attorney are for the use of the City Attorney and his staff only. However, legal research materials are available and open to the public at the Sacramento County Law Library, located at 609 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. http://saclaw.org/

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How do I obtain a copy of documents the city has in its files?

The Public Records Act is designed to give the public access to information in possession of public agencies. The Act also provides that public records shall be open for inspection during regular office hours of the agency. The public can inspect any record unless the record is exempted from disclosure under the Act.