Deputy District Attorneys Deborah Brazil and Frank Tavelman appointed to Los Angeles Superior Court
While eight, or possibly nine, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorneys have announced plans to run for open seats for the Superior Court in the June 2014 primary elections, two other DDAs won't have to worry about campaigns and elections to become judges.
Governor Brown announced Thursday that he has appointed Deputy District Attorneys Deborah Brazil and Frank Tavelman to the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Brazil is the only Republican amongst the eight appointments made by Brown. Both Brazil and Tavelman obtained their JD's from Southwestern Law School, and both have had long and distinguished careers at the DA's Office. They deserve our hearty congratulations.
Ipsen fired for "improper and egregious conduct"
Documents obtained by the Dragnet pursuant to a Public Records Act request made of the Employee Relations Commission (ERCOM) show that former ADDA President and failed DA candidate Steve Ipsen was fired by the District Attorney's Office on July 20, 2012 after a year-long investigation into his "improper and egregious conduct as a Deputy District Attorney."
One of the documents obtained by the Dragnet is a 16-page "Notice of Discharge" letter outlining Ipsen's misconduct. The letter is understood to have been hand delivered to Ipsen two months after he had been ordered to leave his office at the Antelope Valley Branch Office on May 15, 2012 and assigned to his home, without duties.
The Notice of Discharge letter would not normally be a matter of public record, however, on November 9, 2012, Ipsen decided to challenge his dismissal by filing a complaint with ERCOM, and the Notice of Discharge letter was filed in response to Ipsen's complaint, or 'charge' in ERCOM-speak.
In his complaint, Ipsen asserts that his termination violates the Employee Relations Ordinance prohibiting unfair employee relations practice, and contends that his dismissal was pretextual, based solely on his union activities, and that he did not "engage in conduct which was not either consistent with office policies and/or common practice county-wide." Additionally, Ipsen contends that his termination is "disproportionate to any actual mistakes or errors that were made," perhaps a curious contention given that Ipsen asserts he did nothing wrong.
In the interests of full disclosure and fairness, Ipsen's complaint (or charge) appears below:
While Ipsen extensively quotes an earlier finding of ERCOM in his current complaint, it should be noted that the prior ERCOM finding has been thrown out after it was discovered that Ipsen and other ADDA officers had engaged in improper ex parte communications with ERCOM.
Despite Ipsen's assertion that in essence, he either did nothing wrong, or that what he did do was common practice in the DA's Office, the 16-page Notice of Discharge presents a very different picture.
For the most part the Notice of Discharge speaks for itself, however, we do note that there cannot be any DDAs who have:
1) Used their position as a DDA to further their political campaign in the courtroom.
2) Misrepresented to a judge that a sentencing scheme known as 'Reform First' as the official policy of the DA's Office when in truth and in fact it was part of a campaign to become DA.
3) Boasted in a YouTube video that they act "in violation of the policy of the District Attorney of Los Angeles" on a daily basis.
4) Took photographs of a defendant at sentencing to be used to "show the governor, legislators, attorney general in an effort to get the law changed."
5) Entered into illegal sentences whereby a defendant is required to admit a prior 'strike' and be sentenced to a doubled prison term which is suspended on a grant of probation.
6) Dismissed prior serious or violent felonies ('strikes') without obtaining Head Deputy approval.
7) Submitted Disposition Reports indicating a felony conviction, but then agreed to a different disposition without obtaining approval.
The misconduct outline in the Notice of Discharge clearly demonstrates the impropriety of Ipsen being honored by the ADDA at their recent Awards Dinner. It is incredible and disgraceful that the organization purporting to represent all DDAs should condone Ipsen's conduct. Some might argue that the extent of Ipsen's misconduct was unknown to the ADDA, however, readers may be shocked to hear that the ADDA has filed a parallel complaint or charge with ERCOM, making essentially the same claims made by Ipsen.
Worse, it appears that the ADDA is bankrolling the legal fees in these two ERCOM charges; the same law firm, Rothner, Segall & Greenstone, appears as attorney for Ipsen and the ADDA in both charges.
Many reading the 16-page Notice of Discharge will likely find Ipsen and the ADDA's assertions that this type of conduct is county wide practice, untenable, incredible and shameful. They will be outraged at the thought that the ADDA union dues withheld from their pay are being used to finance this fiasco. It is time that the ADDA made its conduct in this case clear for all to understand.