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Peregrine flight

Thursday, January 28, 2010

D.A. Doldrums

What is it about San Diego County and District Attorneys? It seems like it has been so long since we have had a normal one. Witness Bonnie Dumanis, who has declared war not just on medical marijuana patients, but apparently the County Judiciary and the Public Defender's Office as well.

Now the D.A. is trying to get respected Superior Court Judge Harry Elias to recuse himself from a case, saying that he has made '"highly critical and accusatory statements" about the Prosecutor's office. The judge has been a little bit miffed lately about the D.A.'s office illegal conduct in not sharing evidence with the defense, in one case not turning over exculpatory fingerprint evidence. In another case, they failed to share evidence of a bloody knife that could have helped the defense. The judge apparently chastised them for encouraging witnesses to give false testimony.  The prosecutor says that they don't need to "go back in history, or cite other cases in other contexts," preferring not to answer for their malfeasance.

This is on the heels of a contretemps with Judge John Einhorn, another popular jurist who was boycotted by Dumanis office in the last several months for reasons that were never publicly divulged. Her office had a peremptory blanket challenge against the justice. Einhorn is widely respected and was voted Judge of the Year but has sat idly by of late in a crowded docket because he wouldn't step in line with our District Attorney.

Judge Elias is a former prosecutor who is somehow being characterized by the D.A. as being hostile to the prosecution side. The D.A. is being accused of trying to bully the bench. Elias cautioned in a hearing yesterday that the Prosecutor's office's reputation is not good among either judicial officers or the defense bar.

Now the California Supreme Court has dismissed the charges against the five defendants in the pension case, another cause celebre for Dumanis in 2005. Another costly prosecution case goes down the drain. She has repeatedly refused to charge policemen in officer shootings like Officer Frank White.

Dumanis has reportedly increased the budget for her office by over 65%, hiring five public affairs officers to her predecessor's two and even installing an office historian. On our dime. She outspends the Defender's office by 47%. She built a snazzy gym at the Hall of Justice. The office deflects criticism regarding her largesse by claiming that the improvements were funded with forfeitures. A good reason for them to want to continue the war on pot. So she can decorate.

The one thing she has not done is to try cases like her predecessor, who implemented rigorous performance standards and had a much more productive tenure.  Makes you long for the days of Paul Pfingst. Bonnie Dumanis has been an unmitigated disaster. The citizens of San Diego County need to send her packing.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Robert - you really shouldn't disfigure that poor woman's picture like that! What? You didn't? Well, there you have it - what more explanation do you need?

Blue Heron said...

It came from the crypt...