DA Tony Rackauckas: I'll Be Back

Beth Stirnaman
Rackauckas and Susan Schroeder
For more than six months, persistent rumors have circulated in Orange County legal circles that Tony Rackauckas, the district attorney since 1999, would not seek a fourth term this year. Numerous individuals including Rackauckas employees, defense attorneys and at least two Superior Court judges have voiced private concerns that Rackauckas plans to announce his retirement on March 5, the pending deadline to declare candidacy for the powerful office, and then advocate Susan Kang Schroeder, his public affairs counsel, as his replacement.

To put it mildly, this scenario causes indigestion in certain circles. At the moment, the DA has no opposition and Schroeder, who enjoys a loyal friendship base, sparks both fear and contempt in her enemies. During the Haidl gang rape trial, one defense lawyer called her "satanic," complaining about her steadfast defense of the victim, a minor, in the case. Just last year, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens called her actions to assist reporters explore allegations of deputy misconduct in a brutality case "unprofessional." Wayne Quint, head of the local deputies' union, demanded that Schroeder be fired for, in his view, singling out deputy conduct for public scrutiny. The conduct in question was the DA's contention that deputies had lied under oath to protect a fellow deputy.

"If Susan Schroeder becomes the district attorney of Orange County, our criminal justice system will be in peril," said one veteran law enforcement official who asked not to be named in this story. "I'm serious."

Schroeder, whose husband Mike is the former chairman of the California Republican Party and a close personal Rackauckas friend, dismissed the worries.

"I'm not running for DA, period," she said. "The rumors are absolutely, categorically not true. I'm working very hard to re-elect Tony. He's going to be DA until at least 2014. That's what I'm totally committed to. That's the truth."

Rackauckas tells me that the rumor might have been inspired by the wishful thinking of his political enemies.

"While I haven't been really focused on campaigning yet, I'm not retiring," the DA--a former homicide prosecutor and judge--told me. "I'm running again and I'm optimistic that I can accomplish some more good things, particularly related to collecting DNA, during the next four years."

--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

TRUTH.The whole truth and nothing but the truth is what we need to look closely at when considering re-electing Mr. Tony Rackauckas.He has a history of good and not so good (as do we all), but lately I suggest his competency for good judgment is in question.There is a time for all good men to step aside and let another attorney that has shown himself capable to take over.I have a fondness for sports but even I would consider it cruel to put an old horse that was once a grand champion on a race track.I'm not calling Mr. Rackauckas an old hag just that there are better choices to be had.I submit a possible reason Tony had no opponents in the past is because of the respect his colleagues have for the man (not a bad thing).In sports time demands retirement like that of Michael Jordan to whom many hated to see leave the basketball COURT.I'm sure that can also be true of the OCDA.Think about it...even our county supervisors have to leave their seats after a couple of terms.Tony's had a good long run.Now, about competency and sound judgment.Tony went after violating the constitutional rights of citizens that have been through the grinder of probation and parole from going into parks and beaches.This was a massive waist of both staff time and money.He could make a better impact by supporting educational measures than punitive ones.Either his knowledge of the law is lacking or the understanding of it's real purpose and function.Either way as a DA he should know better.Another example:Why would the DA take a murder case recently to which he flopped?Although he is an attorney and can do such but as DA isn't his position more that of a leader and administrator?It would be like having our sheriff standing on the corner giving out parking tickets.Can she do it?Yes, would she be as proficient as her staff that does it daily?Probably not.Again we need a DA that exercises good judgment.TRUTH

Now Trending

Anaheim Concert Tickets

From the Vault