Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Jackie Lacey should be LA's next District Attorney

The choice of who will lead the nation's biggest prosecutorial agency comes before voters next week amid a Presidential election that has, to a large extent, overshadowed local politics. Voters will nevertheless decide between two candidates to take over from Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, who retires after serving a record three terms as LA's DA.

The candidates are Chief Deputy District Attorney Jackie Lacey, number two in the office, and Assistant Head Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson. Both are accomplished prosecutors, making the choice harder for voters - neither is identifiable as a politician, which is a good thing when it comes to deciding who to trust with the leadership of over a thousand prosecutors and a police force of over 230.

Taking over from Cooley will be no easy task. Cooley won his three terms as DA because of his non-partisan, non-political leadership. His dedication to advancing the mission of the office, the pursuit of justice, is as unquestioned as it is unparalleled. One of Cooley's major policy changes when he took office was to re-write the policy for the prosecution of Third Strikes cases so that twenty-five years to life sentences would only be pursued in the most deserving of cases. He also created two dedicated divisions within the office specializing in rooting out corruption and fraud; the Public Integrity Division, which targets misconduct by elected and appointed officials such as the Bell Eight, and the Justice System Integrity Division which prosecutes police officers, attorneys and judges.

Cooley's commitment to seeking justice for Los Angeles residents didn't stop at his Third Strikes policy  and the creation of P.I.D and J.S.I.D., it's been an on-going commitment. Recognizing the need to train law enforcement and prosecutors in the preservation and presentation of evidence that is used for DNA analysis, Cooley established the Forensic Sciences Section, a nationally recognized initiative that ensures that evidence is carefully preserved to eliminate the kind of 'cross-contamination' claims that were partially responsible for the collapse of the OJ Simpson murder trial. It also trains prosecutors on how to present this evidence in a way that jurors will be able to understand and appreciate. It is a major commitment to the safe and reliable prosecution of cases as crime detection and prosecution moves closer to the kind of cases jurors see on tv shows like 'C.S.I.'

Cooley also made history in obtaining justice for the victims of violent crime who have suffered at the hands of criminals who fled the border to Mexico where they could not be extradited. Cooley established the 'Escaping Justice' project which, through well-researched, sound and effective diplomatic entreaties, caused the Mexican government to change their policy of giving sanctuary cop-killers and rapists.

Cooley's is truly a remarkable legacy, and one that will be hard to follow. Such is his popularity with voters that many believe that if he was not retiring after 37 years of public service, he would win a record fourth term. He is an extremely hard act to follow. So when voters go to the polls on November 6, 2012, they would do well to listen to who Steve Cooley believes is the best qualified to continue to effectively and fairly lead the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Steve Cooley has no doubt that his Chief Deputy, Jackie Lacey, is the most experienced and best qualified candidate to lead the District Attorney's office. He points to her 25 year career as both a experienced prosecutor and an effective executive in his administration. 'She is the best qualified, there is not a close second. I trust her implicitly to be the next great District Attorney of this County.' Cooley said.

Few would disagree.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Trutanich blames LAPD for his failure

If further proof were needed that Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen 'Nuch' Trutanich is wholly lacking in integrity and leadership, his shameful attempt to blame the Los Angeles Police Department for the collapse of his case against the Occupy LA protesters provides that proof.

Trutanich threw LAPD under the bus as soon as word leaked out that 'many cases' had been dismissed by courts faced with prosecutors unprepared for trial. Despite having 30 days to prepare, it seems that Trutanich had missed errors in the police reports. Rather than acting like a leader and accepting responsibility for his failure, he blamed "paperwork errors made by police officers during the Nov. 30 raid" for the embarrassing collapse of his cases. Trutanich offered no explanation as to why these so-called "paperwork errors" were not spotted before the cases were called for trial.

Los Angeles District Attorney candiate Alan Jackson condemned Trutanich for mishandling the prosecution, citing mistakes made by a City Attorney too keen, perhaps, to grab a moment of fame in the headlines than do the hard work of ethically and effectively running a prosecutorial agency.

The Alan Jackson campaign today released this statement:

John S. Thomas
Alan Jackson for District Attorney 2012


Deputy DA Alan Jackson weighs in on proper prosecution

Los Angeles, January 9th – City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has wasted both city and judicial resources by rushing to file cases against Occupy LA protesters without fully considering the facts of each case. Then, rather than take responsibility for his inability to properly prosecute and oversee those cases, Trutanich blamed our LAPD for his missteps.

As veteran prosecutors know, advising law enforcement of proper procedures and evidence gathering is a central part of the job. If, as quoted by Trutanich’s spokesman, "paperwork errors [were] made by police officers during the November 30 raid," it was Trutanich’s job to identify and correct those mistakes before filing charges. Had Trutanich acknowledged or effectively performed these duties, the City could have avoided these expensive, embarrassing, and very public dismissals.

John S. Thomas (strategist for leading DA candidate DDA Alan Jackson) stated, “Trutanich calls himself a prosecutor, yet he just flunked Prosecution 101. Trutanich failed to work with or stand by our police. Instead, he threw them under the bus when it was politically convenient.”

“The District Attorney prosecutes felonies where lives are at stake each and every day. The DA’s office cannot be led by a grandstanding politician whose basic understanding of prosecutions is obviously inadequate.”

Deputy DA Jackson, a veteran prosecutor, has this take on the role of a public prosecutor:
  • To ensure public safety and the fair administration of justice, it is the duty of all prosecutors, including the City Attorney, to consult with and, where requested, advise law enforcement.
  • Effective prosecutors use discretion daily and file charges only when 1) available evidence convinces them a public offense has been committed, 2) there is legally sufficient evidence of the accused’s identity, and 3) the elements of the offense charged can be proven by competent evidence in a court of law.
Had these basic precepts been followed, the bungling of many of the Occupy LA cases and the subsequent blame-game could have been avoided.

According to Jackson, "The 'Ready, Fire, Aim' approach is never in the best interest of justice."

The public should demand that their next DA should stand with law enforcement, not use our police as a scapegoat for political cover.

Alan Jackson has been a prosecutor in the LA County District Attorney’s office for over 16 years where he has tried nearly 60 felony cases, more than half of which have been murder trials.  Jackson spent five years prosecuting hardcore gang cases in Compton, after which he moved to the Major Crimes Division where he has led the prosecution in some of California’s highest profile cases. Prior to becoming a Deputy DA, Jackson served in the United States Air Force as a jet engine mechanic. Currently, Jackson serves as the Assistant Head Deputy of the Major Crimes Division, where he oversees the office’s most complex and high-profile cases.

# # #

We commend Alan Jackson for showing his support for law enforcement and his ethical and honorable approach to the serious business of prosecuting cases in courts of law, unlike City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, who appears to prefer trying cases in the press and then blaming others when his ill-prepared cases fall apart on the stand.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Governor Pete Wilson weighs in on LA's choice for District Attorney

Former California Governor Pete Wilson is expected to announce his endorsement of District Attorney candidate Alan Jackson to continue the sound and steady work of District Attorney Steve Cooley, who has stated that he will retire at the end of this historic third term at LA's top cop.

Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson is the only Republican running in the June 5, 2012 primary election. He is currently the Assistant Head Deputy of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Major Crime Division, a role that gives Jackson management experience as well as the responsibility for personally prosecuting high profile cases such as the Phil Spector murder trial, and most recently, the successful death penalty conviction of murder -for-hire gold dealer James Fayed.

Governor Wilson recently served as campaign chair for Jackson's boss, District Attorney Steve Cooley and his endorsement will support the work of another of Cooley's former supporters, finance chair, Chuck Bakaly, who serves on Jackson's finance team.

The news of Governor Wilson's endorsement was leaked on the Los Angeles Dragnet blog and was confirmed by Jackson's campaign manager, John Thomas, in a Twitter comment "the governor has served our state honorably and we would be honored to earn his support." An official announcement from the Jackson campaign is expected shortly.

Governor Wilson's endorsement adds to Jackson's growing list of endorsements from law enforcement leaders and politicians who have shown their support for Alan Jackson. As LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich recently said “I wholeheartedly endorse Alan Jackson’s candidacy for District Attorney of Los Angeles County. Jackson is a true crime fighter who is well-qualified to fill Steve Cooley’s shoes. He is battle-tested in the courtroom and a prosecutor with integrity who vigorously fights to seek justice for victims and their families. With his leadership, intelligence and unparalleled courtroom experience, he is the most qualified candidate for the office.”

Candidates for the Los Angeles District Attorney election will have to file their official declarations of candidacy in February 2012. Currently, five other candidates have so far expressed their intention to run. A sixth, current Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, who resigned from the Republican Party prior to entering politics, has not confirmed whether he will violate his sworn pledge to serve and enter the race, but he is expected to announce his betrayal early in the New Year.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Carmen Trutanich Challenged To Honor Pledge

Carmen Trutanich has been challenged by Alan Jackson's campaign to honor his agreement to pay $100,000 of personal funds to the Best Afterschool Program for Kids and place a full-page ad in every major daily paper with a picture of himself and text stating ‘I AM A LIAR’.

Trutanich will have to pay for full page adverts similar to the above
in every major newspaper according to his sworn agreement.
Trutanich had guaranteed, promised and pledged to voters that, if elected as City Attorney, he would not use his elected position as a springbard to higher office until he had served a full first term, and sought a second. Trutanich specifically stated he would not run for District Attorney until he was termed out of the City Attorney's office.

Two weeks ago, Trutanich violated his pledge to serve when it was discovered that Trutanich had misrepresented himself as having no connection to the "Draft Trutanich for DA" movement, designed to "persuade" Trutanich to run for District Attorney. The Los Angeles Dragnet presented credible evidence that Trutanich had personally orchestrated the movement to give himself an excuse for reneging on his campaign pledge.

Today the Alan Jackson campaign issued this statement, challenging Trutanich to honor his promises:


The Alan Jackson Campaign calls upon Carmen Trutanich to finally tell voters whether he will honor the penalty for breaking his pledge. 

Los Angeles, May 3nd – It has been over two weeks since Carmen Trutanich has broken his promise and a widely circulated pledge he signed to the voters by announcing his intentions to run for District Attorney. Trutanich has remained silent on whether he will honor the penalty for breaking his pledge. The Jackson campaign is calling upon Mr. Trutanich to address this important issue and let the voters know whether or not they can count on him to honor his sworn promise.

The pledge stipulates that if Trutanich breaks his promise to serve two terms as City Attorney and not seek higher office, he must pay $100,000 of personal funds to the Best Afterschool Program for Kids and place a full-page ad in every major daily paper with a picture of himself and text stating ‘I AM A LIAR’.

The Jackson campaign has launched a timer counting the hours that Carmen Trutanich has left the question of honoring his word unanswered. Visit www.thetrufacts.com to watch the time tick by. The campaign has also listed contact information for the advertising departments of several major newspapers to facilitate Mr. Trutanich’s taking out the “I AM A LIAR” ads.

 “Will Carmen Trutanich honor the penalty for breaking his pledge or not? We deserve our next DA to be a man of his word, not another career politician who will say or sign anything to get elected,” stated political consultant John S. Thomas.

“Voters deserve to have elected officials with integrity. Until Mr. Trutanich responds to voters that he will keep his promise, his integrity remains in question,” Thomas added.

Over two weeks ago the Jackson campaign launched a web video highlighting Carmen Trutanich’s “Pledge to Serve” and multiple public statements in which Trutanich swore during his campaign for City Attorney he would not seek higher office, specifically District Attorney. Please see www.thetrufacts.com to view the video.

Click below to view Carmen Trutanich’s original “Pledge to Serve.”

Alan Jackson has been a prosecutor in the LA County District Attorney’s office for over 16 years where he has tried nearly 60 felony cases, more than half of which have been murder trials.  He spent five years prosecuting hardcore gang cases in Compton, after which he moved to the Major Crimes Division where he has led the prosecution in some of California’s highest profile cases. Prior to becoming a Deputy DA, Jackson served in the United States Air Force as a Jet mechanic. Currently, Jackson serves as the Assistant Head Deputy of the Major Crimes Division where he oversees the office’s most complex and high-profile cases. 

# # #

Trutanich's apparent willingness to show no regard for the value of his word must surely raise concerns for voters when selecting a candidate for Los Angeles District Attorney. In trying to fool voters with broken promises and fake websites, Trutanich is fast identifying himself as the worst kind of politician, and unworthy of consideration by conservatives. 

Trutanich and Jackson are the only Republicans running for District Attorney, and based on Trutanich's disregard for his own word, let alone the expectations of voters, his actions should be roundly condemned.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cooley Concedes With Grace and Gratitude

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley conceded the incredibly close
Attorney General with this statement on his campaign website.
Just over three weeks from the night of the mid-term elections that promised to deliver Californians one of the most honorable, experienced and talented Attorney Generals in the state's history, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley issued this statement ending what has been an anxious time for his supporters.

In the end the race for Attorney General was  one of the closest in our state's history, with the wafer thin margin wavering back and forth as the count of what must surely be the largest number of provisional ballots ever cast in an election, tantalized and tormented both camps repeatedly.

While others have questioned the integrity of the conduct of the election in Los Angeles County, perhaps with some merit, the inescapable conclusion was that a late, last minute rush of partisanship voting produced too many Democrat party-line votes for Steve Cooley to overcome.

Cooley nevertheless outperformed Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina in terms of votes cast. Whitman and Fiorina failed spectacularly to 'wow' voters, and worse, their negatives produced that last moment swell of Democrat votes that both swamped them, and narrowly defeated Cooley. Had the GOP selected less polarizing and more qualified candidates, perhaps Cooley would have had a chance. But it was not to be.

In choosing to concede the election before Thanksgiving, Cooley displayed the gravitas that we have come to expect from the experienced statesman who has been elected as LA's District Attorney three times, equaling a record last held by District Attorney Buron Fitts in 1936.

Cooley's campaign staff had worked tirelessly since election night to monitor the counting of provisional ballots, and Colley's concession gave them the closure they probably did not want, but doubtless appreciated, so that they could enjoy Thanksgiving with their families. No doubt Cooley's concession gave his opponent the same respite from one of the hardest fought campaigns in memory.

But that's why Steve Cooley is the best DA Los Angeles County has had in recent memory, and that's why he would have made a great Attorney General. His law enforcement background taught him that no man can succeed unless he builds a team he can rely on, and no one has done more to build the esprit de corps at the DA's Office than Steve Cooley. That is why the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office is the most effective and efficient prosecutorial agency in the nation.

In closing his concession statement, Cooley said "I will complete my third term and finish my career as a professional prosecutor in the office where it began over 37 years ago." Taken at face value, it looks like Steve Cooley will not seek a record fourth term as Los Angeles County's District Attorney.  However, this blogger hopes that Steve Cooley's remarkable and exemplary service for the People of the State of California is not going to end in 2012.

In the troubled times that lie ahead as the State of California grapples with a budgetary crisis that has already eclipsed the magnitude of those that have crippled many European countries, public safety is often one of the first victims. The leadership the voters selected for California on November 2, 2010 will doubtless use financial expediency as an excuse to open the prison gates to so-called "non violent" felons.

We've already seen the clear and present danger that such foolhardy "progressive" policies present - just look at the horrific murder of young Lily Burk; kidnapped, carjacked and murdered by a "non-violent" felon who "needed a program more than prison." As the Brown administration prepares to cut lose violent predators on the streets of our cities, we need you to continue to run the only agency that can send them back where they belong, where they can only victimize themselves.

In short, Mr. Cooley, have a hearty and happy Thanksgiving and realize that we need your service now more than ever.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Steve Cooley Projected To Win Attorney General Race By Narrow Margin

[UPDATE: Sunday, November 7, 2010 8:10pm - Steve' Cooley is now ahead by 36,800
votes,  a net gain of 12,524 votes.
In this latest batch, 60.5% of 42,539 votes were for Cooley.
A large number of uncounted votes still remain to be counted.]

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley will be California's next Attorney General
On Tuesday, November 2, 2010, Americans went to the mid-term elections determined to put the brakes on the Obama administration's autocracy. A wave of voter dissatisfaction swept across the nation, wresting control of the House of Representatives from the Democrats and ousting Democrat elected officials on a wholesale basis.

But the wave that swept Democrats from power from east to west, seemed to lose momentum as it reached California, where the 31st state to join the Union bucked the national trend and elected Democrats to almost all leadership positions in Sacramento.

Almost, but not all. Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, widely reckoned to win beat Kamala Harris, the progressive liberal Democrat challenger for Attorney General held a narrow lead on Tuesday night, and at around 11:00pm, Steve Cooley declared victory with the majority of precincts reporting that the Attorney General's Office was his.

But while both camps retired for the night for some much needed rest in what had been a bitterly fought campaign, and while Californian's breathed a sigh of relief that the Office of Attorney General would be filled by a supremely qualified candidate, late night vote counting resulted in giving Kamala Harris a slender lead on Wednesday morning. It was a lead that emboldened her campaign manager, Averil 'Ace' Smith, to declare Harris the victor, claiming that the 2M still to be counted late votes would break in Harris's favor.

But contrary to Smith's claims, the uncounted votes seemed to be breaking in Steve Cooley's favor. So much so that Cooley has reclaimed the lead on Thursday, and as of just past midnight on Sunday, November 7, 2010, Cooley has a lead of 24,276 as late 'vote-by-mail' and 'provisional' ballots are counted.

The true nature of the uncounted votes has now been analyzed by What Would Reagan Do?

If all the uncounted votes follow the same voting trend in each of the 58 counties in which they were cast, Cooley will emerge the victor, albeit by a narrow margin of as little as 9,159 votes.

Our assumption, for example, is that in Orange County where 233,196 remain to be counted, 90% of late vote-by-mail ballots will be found to be valid, as well as 65% of provisional ballots, and 50% of damaged ballots. All resulting 198,676 valid ballots will then follow the county's trend of 61.0% for Cooley and 30.6% for Harris, giving Cooley a net gain of 60,398 votes.

That gain is, of course, offset by counties where Harris was favored, such as in San Francisco where there are 67,754 uncounted votes and the voting trend was 70.5% to Harris, 20.9% to Cooley. This results in a net loss to Cooley of 28,000 votes.

As the numbers are crunched in the 51 counties that are reporting uncounted votes, the clear pattern is that Cooley wins. Thus far, Cooley's margin of victory exceeds our projection, perhaps because Ace Smith was wrong to opine that late votes were in Harris's favor. If anything, the reverse seems to be the case, explaining Cooley's 24,276 lead.

With California appearing to be the only Blue state in America, conservatives can at least be assured that one man will hold the line against disastrous progressive liberal policies that could see Governor Jerry Brown open floodgate of crime by increasing early release programs for "non-violent" felons, a move favored by Kamala Harris, who appears to see criminals as victims, not predators.
The results of the Mid-Term elections do not have to be certified until December 3, 2010, so the uncertainty over Steve Cooley's election is likely to continue for some time, and there is a string likelihood that a recount will authorized regardless of the declared victor where the margin of victory is so slim. However, we are confident that California has elected Steve Cooley to be their Attorney General, and that Steve will make an outstanding AG, just as he has made a superb DA.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Deputy City Attorney Tom Griego Blasted for Dirty Deception in Bid for Judicial Office


Thomas Griego outed by Met News for using "falsehood" to describe himself
as a "Criminal Prosecutor" Why didn't they just call him a "Liar?"
With all the money being spent on the mid-term elections, and the bitter bickering between Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman hogging the headlines, it is easy to forget that Californians will be voting for a host of other positions on November 2, 2010.

Few positions are, perhaps, are more important than the elections for Superior Court Judges. It is sad to say that very few voters actually cast their votes for Judges knowing anything about who they are voting for, other than the name and the ballot designation. That appears to be what Deputy City Attorney Thomas Griego is counting on in his bid to become a Judge.

Voters deciding how to cast their vote for Los Angeles Superior Court Office Number 117, will be faced with a choice between two Democrats; Deputy District Attorney Alan Schneider, who describes himself as a "Gang Homicide Prosecutor" and Thomas Griego, who calls himself a "Criminal Prosecutor."

But, according to the Los Angeles legal newspaper, the Metropolitan News-Enterprise, Griego's choice of ballot designation is a "falsehood." That's a polite way of calling Griego a "Liar," and given that the Met News reported that Griego had not prosecuted a single criminal case when he gave himself the title of "Criminal Prosecutor," the latter appellation seems to fit like a glove.

According to his website, Schneider, has prosecuted over 100 criminal trials, 40 of which were homicides, which must explain why the Los Angeles County Bar Association rated him "Well Qualified," (Griego was rated "Not Qualified").

In contrast, Griego's website does not list a single case or criminal trial to which Griego can lay claim to participating in. According to the Los Angeles City Hall Insider, Griego was an unremarkable civil litigator for the City Attorney's Office who suddenly requested a transfer to the criminal division for the sole reason that he would be able call himself a "Criminal Prosecutor" even though the closest he has come to criminal proceedings appears to be reading a 'manual' - one wonders what Griego read - "Criminal Prosecutions for Dummies?"

Perhaps Griego thinks we're dummies, after all, 223,411 voters were fooled by Griego's deceptive ballot designation in the Primary Election. That was enough to pitch Griego the "Pretender Prosecutor" against Schneider the "Real Prosecutor" in the run-off election on November 2, 2010.  

Griego's poor choice in seeking Judicial office by deception must surely case grave doubts on his moral judgment, ethics and suitability for holding such an important position.

The electoral process for selecting judges is a flawed one, and Griego certainly is not the first to try to exploit voters' trust with his blind ambition to be what he is not qualified to be. Sometimes, these deceptive ways even fool voters into actually electing them to the bench. It is only later that voters find out that they were sold a "falsehood," and that the LACBA rating of "Not Qualified" was justified.

Griego has no business even thinking of himself as suitable to the position of being a judge. We are entitled to demand a higher degree of integrity and honesty from those who sit in judgment of others, and Griego appears to be no different from disgraced Judge Kevin Ross, who was finally removed from the bench in 2005.

Conservatives voting for Los Angeles Superior Court Office number 117 on November 2, 2010 need to know who they are voting for; it's more than a ballot designation, it's character that counts, and Griego's "falsehood" says all that needs to be said.

Vote for Alan Schneider for Los Angeles Superior Court Office number 117.  His record is impressive and his list of endorsements reads like a "Who's Who" of law enforcement and public officials.