|DA candidate Steve Ipsen probably now wishes his late response to a |
question posed by the Metropolitan News Enterprise never made it into print.
Ipsen's faux pas almost never made it to print as Ipsen had missed the deadline for submission of his responses to a series of questions posed by the Met News to all candidates. However, despite Ipsen's slip up over the lateness of his responses, the Met News nevertheless published his response to the question "Are you willing to make a pledge that, if elected, you would serve no more than two terms?"
Never one to miss an opportunity to take a jab at District Attorney Steve Cooley (against whom Ipsen suffered a humiliating defeat in his 2008 campaign, coming last of the three candidates), Ipsen's typically overly verbose response started with these words:
"In March of 2002, 61% percent of Los Angeles County voters passed an initiative which limited the District Attorney to three four year terms. That term limit was over turned by a lawsuit filed by the District Attorney of Los Angeles County ..." (Emphasis added).
Unfortunately for Ipsen, according to the lawyers who actually handled the case (Jones and Mayer), Measure B was challenged on constitutional grounds because, in addition to setting term limits for the Board of Supervisors (which was held to be constitutional), Measure B went further and unconstitutionally attempted to set term limits on the Sheriff, the District Attorney, and the County Assessor.
Ipsen's failure to mention the name of the voter initiative, let alone it's application to the Board of Supervisors, the Sheriff and the County Assessor, could be explained by some as simply an uncharacteristic economy of words. Others might say it was the result of a hasty, ill-researched "incomplete" and "inaccurate" attempt to mislead and gratuitously attack the man who defeated him in 2008.
Had Ipsen been able to give a complete and accurate statement of the litigation surrounding Measure B, he would have been forced to reveal that Measure B was not challenged by the District Attorney, but by the Sheriff in People ex rel, LeRoy D. Baca v. County of Los Angeles, Case No. BC299486.
After Sheriff Baca's successful challenge to Measure B, a separate quo warranto legal action overseen by the California Attorney General clarified the ruling in the Baca case and established that as the Offices of the Los Angeles District Attorney and Assessor were similarly situated to the Sheriff, they were also not subject to the term limits imposed by Measure B.
Missing deadlines, giving misleading, "incomplete" and "inaccurate" information, and perhaps allowing a personal animus to cloud judgment, are perhaps not the best way to kick off a campaign for District Attorney.
Ipsen, however, is no stranger to controversy. He once testified as a defense witness for a twice convicted sex-offender who he described as "one of my closest friends," who may have shared Ipsen's residence, although Ipsen said he could not remember. Ipsen did, however, remember that when the person he described as "one of my closest friends" was arrested for his third sex offense, he was using Ipsen's vehicle and had access to Ipsen's DA badge.
Ipsen also incurred the wrath of the California Supreme Court for committing prosecutorial misconduct in a murder case. Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar, writing for a 6-1 majority in In re Sakarias, (2005) 35 Cal.4th 140, said that Ipsen “violated [Sakarias’] due process rights by intentionally and without good faith justification arguing inconsistent and irreconcilable factual theories in the two trials, attributing to [Sakarias and co-defendant Tauno Waidla] in turn culpable acts that could have been committed by only one person.”
Perhaps we now know why Steve Cooley took the high ground during his interview on The Kevin James Show this past Sunday, and declined to comment on Ipsen's candidacy - it was only a one hour show.
But back to Ipsen's most recent credibility issue regarding Measure B. Ipsen was right about one thing; voters did indeed pass Measure B in 2002, but not by 61% as Ipsen stated, but by 63.57%.
The primary election for LA's next District Attorney is on June 5, 2011. Should Ipsen succeed in winning the election, we can be assured that he will serve no more than three terms, we have his word on it.