New DA, Same Old Scandal Ridden DAs Office

It seems as if the Orange County District Attorney’s office has been mired in scandal for most of my career as a lawyer at this point. After a decades-long cover-up regarding the misuse of jailhouse informants led to the recusal of the office and the dismissal of the death penalty in the largest mass shooting in Orange County History, an unlikely candidate emerged promising to reform the office.

Todd Spitzer, who began his career working in the District Attorney’s office before leaving to pursue elected office as a legislator and County Supervisor then returning to the office as the heir apparent and then being fired by his predecessor, Tony Rackauckas, over alleged misconduct, ran against and defeated his former boss who had held the job for 2 decades. He did so promising to restore the integrity of the office.

Those familiar with Spitzer were less than convinced.

Over the last few weeks, the scandals have come fast and furious for the would-be reformer. Already, Spitzer had dealt with much criticism and several lawsuits related to Gary Logalbo, who served as Best Man in Spitzer’s wedding before being promoted to a high-ranking supervisorial assignment by Spitzer, allegedly sexually harassing multiple female subordinates. Then came the shocking news that Spitzer had fired long-time senior prosecutor Brahim Baytieh, currently a judicial candidate. At the time, Spitzer’s office proffered Baytieh’s own misconduct in a 2010 prosecution that was recently reversed. Relatively quickly, however, rumors began circulating that there was more to the firing than met the eye.

Last week, it was revealed that during a meeting to consider whether to seek the death penalty against a black man, Spitzer had made comments about black men dating white women to enhance their status in life. Calls for his resignation began before a video circulated of him repeatedly using the N-Word, appearing very comfortable doing so despite also displaying discomfort using the F-Word.

Most recently, former senior prosecutor Matt Murphy filed a document with the court alleging that Spitzer had lied to the court in an effort to protect himself and similarly reversed a previous decision to seek the death penalty in the case where his racially charged remarks were made.

And this is the short version. Google Todd Spitzer if you want to dig even deeper into the swamp he had created for himself. As of today, he faces 3 challengers in the June primary election, but candidates have until March 11th to file, and I anticipate we may see a few late entries given the slew of negative coverage he is receiving right now.

Orange County is the 6th largest county in the country. We deserve law enforcement and prosecutors who set a higher standard than we have received lately. We deserve better than Todd Spitzer.