OC Bar Association Slams OCDA for Harassment of Judge Thomas Goethals

Media pool photo by the Los Angeles Times
Judge Goethals

Man, if ever there was proof for the feds, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, and anyone who has the legal authority to investigate Tony Rackauckas that something's screwy with our district attorney, it's in a stinging rebuke just issued by the Orange County Bar Association.

That group ain't exactly the most radical lawyers out there, but they're upset with the OC DA's harassment of Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals, who threw Rackauckas' office out of the Scott Dekraii mass-murder case after Public Defender Scott Sanders discovered a buncha dirty prosecutors and deputies. So, in the following letter, they've announced they're siding with Judge Goethals and telling Tony Rack and his #2, Susan Kang Schroeder, to slag off.

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Mike Huckabee Spreads the, uh, Word at the Nixon Library SATURDAY

Photo by Gage Skidmore
Mike Huckabee speaks at the 2014 CPAC Convention.
Possible 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will be at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum Saturday morning to talk about and sign his New York Times bestseller God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy. It'd be a good idea to purchase a copy from the museum bookstore rather than picking one up on a remainder table on the way to Yorba Linda (manners, folks). But you might also want to bring along a copy of the Huckster's 2005 work of fiction, Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork.

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How Tony Rackauckas Took A Slam Dunk Death Penalty Case And Turned It Into His Worst Crisis

Kevin McVeigh
DA Rackauckas: If I only had a brain . . . I'd unravel every riddle for any individ'le, in trouble or in pain

Orange County's worst mass shooting, the so-called 2011 Seal Beach hair-salon massacre, began as a traumatizing event for all, but it has devolved into one of the most polarizing legal struggles to hit our legal system. The question isn't about Scott Dekraai's guilt. Dekraai admitted to police that he was the killer within minutes of the shooting. Controversy swirls, however, around the tactics of prosecutors and sheriff's deputies trying to impose a death-penalty punishment rather than a 200-plus-year prison sentence without the possibility for parole. With one embarrassing revelation after another, the battle has grown painful, especially for the baffled families of the victims. To help understand why Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Goethals, himself an accomplished former prosecutor, this month made a historic decision to recuse Tony Rackauckas and his district attorney's office (OCDA), we are providing a chronology of events:

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Ex-County Assessor Webster J. Guillory Has Felony Count Nixed, 2 More Now Misdemeanors

County of Orange
The felony case helped sweep Webster J. Guillory out of office.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Gassia Apkarian on Tuesday dismissed a felony count of filing false nomination papers against ex-county Assessor Webster J. Guillory and reduced two other felony counts to misdemeanors.

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Jeb Bush Making Dough Run to Newport Beach

Categories: Events, Politics

Photo by flickr user Eduardo Merille
Jeb Bush, a.k.a. "The Smart One," will be wound up in back and dropped on Newps.
You know Jeb Bush must be a serious contender for president when:

1) Mud is slung that he had a separate email account while governor of Florida (Rush was right, he is just like Hillary!).
b.) He's coming to Newport Beach next week to scoop up campaign cash.

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Final Audit Report Shows Larry Agran's Great Park Plan Was A Debacle From Outset

Agran's "Great" Park had everything but the flying monkeys buzzing Munchkinland
Twelve years ago, Larry Agran, Irvine's career politician and mayor who'd never built anything, issued bold statements about his ability to build a "world-class" government park at the mothballed Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, and people, especially journalists, believed him.

"Move over, Manhattan," wrote an excited Christian Science Monitor reporter in April 2003. "Stand aside San Francisco. In Orange County, the final hurdle has been cleared for a 'county great park' that will exceed the size of Central Park and Golden Gate Park put together."

The reporter--who didn't know the mayor and his political scheming actually would be the final hurdles--went on to echo the mayor's oral machinations, declaring that "the area is considered America's leading laboratory of 'post suburbia' . . . "

Agran also provided the money quote, "We are finally moving forward with a plan that will transform the future of Orange County."

In pure Agranista form, the paper unquestioningly repeated his biggest lie in the title to a chapter in the article: "No cost to citizens."

Add you own exclamation point!

Those of us who for 12 years closely watched Agran and his Democratic political machine operate dictatorial control over the project didn't fall for the empty hype. Their operatives received lucrative, no-bid contracts for a public park that didn't yet exist. They wasted nearly $50 million on a park design plan that was laughably unattainable--a huge, man-made canyon and waterfalls!--the moment it landed on paper. Paranoid of being caught in various scandals, they treated park records with NSA-type secrecy. Agran conducted park spending business through his wife's private email account. Despite claiming otherwise, they planned to use a special tax scheme to boost park coffers until Gov. Jerry Brown killed such tactics. They ran fake Republican candidates to dilute their opponents' election strength. After years and years of spending several hundred million dollars without building a single, major promised feature, the Agran alliance finally lost power in 2012.

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Supervisor Todd Spitzer Blasts District Attorney Tony Rackauckas For Corruption Scandal

R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly
District Attorney Tony Rackauckas defends his embattled office with reporters today while flanked by aides Susan Kang Schroeder and Scott Simmons
Following an Orange County judge's recent historic decision to recuse District Attorney Tony Rackauckas from the death penalty case against Scott Dekraai, guilty in the 2011 Seal Beach salon massacre, the solemn DA stood in front of reporters today on a mission.

In the ongoing law enforcement cheating scandal, Rackauckas wants residents to know that while there have been numerous screw-ups his prosecutors are "honest and hardworking," and that the real villain is a system that delays justice for the family and friends of Dekraai's eight murdered victims.

"I think the system has let them down," the DA said. "I'm trying to bring these [types of] cases to justice in a more expeditious way. It's getting worse, rather than getting better. The process has gotten more complicated over time."

During a morning court session with Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Goethals, the California Attorney General's office announced it would seek an appellate reversal of the judge's March 12 recusal order, claiming the move to ban the entire DA's office from the Dekraai case was unnecessarily excessive. Plus the AG's office doesn't want the extra work. Rackauckas supported the move and the judge pushed back the penalty phase of the case until July 24 while all of the parties wait for a three-member California Court of Appeal panel to rule. In reality, however, the appellate delays could take years to resolve.

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Jerry Brown Proposes Emergency Drought Bills After UCI Professor's Dire Water Warning

A week to the day after Jay Famiglietti declared that California has about a year's worth of water remaining in its reservoirs, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders introduced emergency drought legislation Thursday aimed at expediting $1 billion in water-related projects. Coincidence?

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Francisco Ayala, Distinguished UCI Biologist, to Speak on Separation of Church and Science

Clifford Shirley/Templeton Prize
John J. Templeton (left) and Britain's Prince Philip flank 2010 Templeton Prize winner Francisco Ayala at Buckingham Palace.
Francisco Ayala, the Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences at UC Irvine, shares "Darwin's Greatest Discovery: Design Without Designer" with the Orange County chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State on Saturday.

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John Taylor, Richard Nixon's Former Flack, Is Actually a Renaissance Man

Photo by John Gilhooley
Play us a song, Rev!
Pure white popcorn clouds crashed over a royal blue backdrop above St. John's Episcopal Church in Rancho Santa Margarita on a Saturday afternoon in February, a majestic scene that caused the Reverend Canon John H. Taylor--a man whose life is steeped in historical drama--to look heavenward.

"Isn't that amazing?" asked an awed Taylor, Richard Nixon's closest post-White House aide, the son of two liberal reporters, a novelist, social commentator, lover of discovery, gifted orator, and onetime director of the ex-president's private library and birthplace in Yorba Linda. "What type of cloud is that?"

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