Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Met News Questions Ipsen & Meyers' Refusal to Disclose Discipline Records
DA Candidates Danette Meyers and Steve Ipsen are the only candidates of the field who have not consented to the release of their personnel and State Bar records of discipline, according to an op-ed article by Roger M. Grace in today's Metropolitan News Enterprise.
"Chief Deputy District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Deputy District Attorneys Bobby Grace, Alan Jackson, and Mario Trujillo have no record of public or private discipline from the State Bar," the Met News reported.
As for their personnel records, Lacey, Jackson and Trujillo had no issues in allowing examination of those records, and Bobby Grace (no relation to Roger M. Grace) offered an explanation for the sole matter in his personnel file that "involves third parties who would have to waive confidentiality I cannot and the District Attorney’s office will not release the letter," Grace told the Met News, adding that “I can tell you that the matter did not result in any suspension, demotion or transfer.”
So if four candidates have no issues in allowing those who they expect to vote for them to know all there is to know about them, the Met News article seemingly poses a very valid question in the minds of voters; "What is it that Meyers and Ipsen have to hide?"
Certainly, much is known about Ipsen's past misconduct issues, the most notable perhaps being that "Ipsen has faced a State Bar disciplinary inquiry," The Met News reported. "The California Supreme Court on March 3, 2005, in a 6-1 opinion in In re Sakarias, took Ipsen to task in connection with his prosecution of two murder defendants, alleged coconspirators, who were tried separately. In each case, Ipsen portrayed to jurors that the immediate defendant was the one who struck the fatal blow."
Justice Kathryn Werdegar wrote for the majority in granting a writ of habeas corpus to one of the two, Peter Sakarias, saying:
“We agree with Sakarias that the prosecutor violated his due process rights by intentionally and without good faith justification arguing inconsistent and irreconcilable factual theories in the two trials, attributing to each petitioner in turn culpable acts that could have been committed by only one person.”
What action the State Bar took with regard to Ipsen's prosecutorial misconduct should be made known to the public, according the Met News. Ipesen's apparent reticence to allow voters to discover what action, if any, was taken against him surely leaves voters uninformed, and invites speculation that whatever it was, cannot have been a positive for Ipsen.
The same applies to to Ipsen's unwillingness to allow access to his personnel records. While it is known that Ipsen testified as a defense witness for a twice convicted sex-offender, and that it emerged that Ipsen regarded the sex-offender as one of his "closest friends," it is unlikely that the testimony alone would have resulted in any discipline at the DA's Office. However, it is known that the sex-offender was using Ipsen's vehicle at the time of his arrest for his third sex offense, and that Ipsen's DA badge was found in that vehicle at the time of arrest. DDAs are expected to take care of their badges, so perhaps Ipsen's personnel record contains some form of warning with regard to that incident.
Although Ipsen's relationship with the now three times convicted sex-offender will be news to some, it is no great secret generally. So why is Ipsen so reluctant to reveal the contents of his personnel file? Some have speculated that there could be documented matters that might cause Ipsen problems not only with his campaign, but also with his much touted 'federal lawsuit' against the administration. Ipsen had claimed to have been discriminated against because of his union efforts, however, the revelation of the contents of his personnel file could cast Ipsen's union busting claims in an entirely different light.
While Ipsen certainly appears to have a lot to hide, little is known as to the reasons for Meyers to align herself with Ipsen in the "decline to disclose" camp. It is, perhaps, an unfortunate coincidence for Meyers to find herself mentioned in the same article, for the same reasons, as one about Ipsen, and her position will likely invite similar speculation.
On a more positive note, Meyers did announce that she has secured the endorsement of retired Deputy District Attorney John Lynch, who once ran against former DA Gil Garcetti. “Fifteen years ago, I ran against Gil Garcetti in the election for Los Angeles County District Attorney. We disagreed on every issue. Today, I completely agree with Gil that Danette Meyers is the best candidate to be the next District Attorney of Los Angeles County." Lynch said in a statement on Meyers' website.