The Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise reports that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin has "tossed out" a controversial ruling by the Employee Relations Commission (ERCOM) Hearing Officer Thomas Kerrigan which fawningly supported then ADDA President Steve Ipsen's assertions that ADDA officers had been the subject of retaliation.
In vacating the July 25, 2011 ruling, Judge Lavin found that ERCOM's Executive Director, Paul Causey, had engaged in improper ex parte communications with Ipsen and other ADDA officers. Furthermore, Judge Lavin found that Causey had not only selected Kerrigan as Hearing Officer, but had also relayed Ipsen's communications to Kerrigan, thereby influencing Kerrigan's ruling in favor of Ipsen and the ADDA.
Kerrigan and Causey, Judge Lavin noted, were former law partners and that there was "substantial evidence in the record that Causey and Kerrigan were biased against the District Attorney's Office." Judge Lavin also found that during the pendency of the ERCOM hearings, Ipsen had sought to develop a "personal relationship" with Causey, citing emails showing that Ipsen had invited Causey to a "complimentary lunch" on "National Remembrance Day" and that Ipsen took Causey to show him an "exotic Italian sports car" and allowed him to drive it.
Despite Judge Lavin's findings, the ADDA continues to display a portion of Kerrigan's invalid ruling on their website, captioned "ERCOM Decision re Retaliation by DA."
|ADDA Website hails Kerrigan's corrupt ruling as "Decision re Retaliation by DA"|
Perhaps the ADDA will now also provide a link to the full text of Judge Lavin's findings, captioned "Misconduct by [former] ADDA President Steve Ipsen invalidates ruling in favor of ADDA." In the event that the ADDA do not have a copy of Judge Lavin's Writ of Prohibition tossing out the bogus "decision," we provide it in full below.
Evidence of the bias and improper ex parte communications came to light when the District Attorney's Office learned of numerous email messages between Ipsen, other ADDA officers and ERCOM. Although ERCOM had steadfastly refused to disclose the improper emails, lawyers for the District Attorney's Office ultimately prevailed and obtained the 'smoking guns' showing Ipsen's improper conduct.
Readers familiar with Ipsen will recall that this is far from the only time that Ipsen has engaged in misconduct. In 2003, the LA Times reported that "A Los Angeles judge has found that Deputy Dist. Atty. Steve Ipsen intentionally argued inconsistent theories of the same murder in two death penalty trials in order to present the most damaging case against each defendant."
In overturning the death penalty conviction obtained by Ipsen, the Metropolitan New- Enterprise reported that the California Supreme Court found that Ipsen had "engaged in willful misconduct by arguing different theories of each defendant’s role in order to maximize the possibility of winning two death sentences."
If a Supreme Court finding of "willful misconduct" isn't a large enough red flag as to Ipsen's unfitness for holding the Office of District Attorney, let alone a leadership position in the union purporting to represent 1,000+ Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorneys, there is also the very troubling admission by Ipsen that a three-time convicted sex offender was one of his closest friends, and that Ipsen had testified as a character witness for the defense in the trial of the sex offender.
All the more surprising then, that notwithstanding all his 'baggage' and the fact that Ipsen has been fired from the DA's Office, he nevertheless continues to hold the position of "Director" on the board of the ADDA.
|Steve Ipsen continues to serve as a "Director" on the ADDA Board|
Many in the DA's Office cringe at the mention of Ipsen recalling his cynical manipulation of the ADDA to serve as the springboard for a political career. Ipsen's political aspirations took a Trutanich-like nose dive when he was apparently forced to withdraw his candidacy from the 2012 race to become Distict Attorney. That withdrawal is understood to have been influenced by attempts to obtain his personnel records.
Despite multiple findings of misconduct it is understood that the ADDA has plans to "honor" Ipsen at an event in the near future. Unsurprisingly, many Deputy District Attorneys seem to have other plans that evening. It is an open secret that Ipsen continues to be a divisive figure at the ADDA, and that many on the Board would like to see him removed. That, apparently, will only happen if a few good people run for positions on the ADDA Board and succeed in winning enough votes to oust him. If you don't like the idea of someone like Ipsen having a presence on the ADDA Board, then get involved. Either run for a Board position, or help to support someone who is going to run. It's called democracy, and it's time we had some at the ADDA.