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DA: Concord police jab O’Malley

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 at 6:54 pm in 2010 election, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics.

Peterson

Peterson

OMalley

O'Malley

The fractious Contra Costa County District Attorney’s race continued today with a fire-breathing press release from the Concord Police Officers Association.

The Concord police union says candidate Dan O’Malley “disrespected” them when he was quoted in this blog and the Contra Costa Times saying that many prosecutors and law enforcement officers don’t understand some of the intricacies of victims rights.

“Criminal defense attorney Dan O’Malley is the last person we need to take advice from,” the union wrote. “On his law firm’s website, Mr. O’Malley advertises as follows: “If you have been arrested or charged with domestic violence or spousal abuse . . . [t]he attorney’s at O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley . . . will vigorously defend you to make sure your rights are protected.”

Read the full release below.

O’Malley called the move more piling on orchestrated by his opponent, Mark Peterson, and Mary Jo Rossi, the campaign consultant that works for Peterson and the Concord police union. Peterson has consistently campaigned as a career prosecutor, while repeatedly reminding voters that O’Malley has been a private defense attorney who represented those accused of crimes for the past decade.

The Concord police union has endorsed Peterson over O’Malley, although it is the sole law enforcement union in the county to prefer Peterson.

“It’s ironic that unrelated to me or our conversation, a couple of weeks ago, the brass at Concord police asked the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office to conduct some training on the intricacies of domestic violence and human trafficking,” O’Malley said. “And the folks over at STAND Against Domestic Violence hold special training for law enforcement every year for this very reason. It doesn’t mean the police are doing a bad job. It means that the intricacies of being a victim and the support system that the victim needs is so complicated that we have to do training over and over.”

Press release

DA candidate O’Malley accused of ‘disrespecting’ area law enforcement

Police Officers Blast O’Malley Comment on Domestic Violence

The Concord Police Officers Association, the largest municipal police officer association in Contra Costa County, takes serious exception to Criminal Defense Attorney, and District Attorney Candidate, Dan O’Malley’s recent comments. In his shameless attempt to get himself elected, Dan made this outrageous claim to the Contra Costa Times: “[M]any law enforcement officers and seasoned prosecutors don’t understand the subtleties of the larger issue [of violence upon women] . . . [W]e should be teaching the batterers not to batter. We should not blame the victim.”

Criminal Defense Attorney Dan O’Malley is the last person we need to take advice from. On his law firm’s website, Mr. O’Malley advertises as follows: “If you have been arrested or charged with domestic violence or spousal abuse . . . [t]he attorney’s at O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley . . . will vigorously defend you to make sure your rights are protected.”

The Concord Police Officer’s Association takes serious exception to Mr. O’Malley’s comments. They’re disrespectful to all the dedicated law enforcement officers in this county, who work tirelessly, to ensure that all victims are treated fairly. Victims’ rights enjoy a top priority in every one of our criminal investigations. Through domestic violence programs, by working with STAND and with other victim outreach groups, and through ongoing communication with the victims we serve and protect, we do understand the “subtleties” of this issue.

The Concord Police Officer’s Association has endorsed Deputy District Attorney Mark Peterson for District Attorney. He’s proven his passion for protecting victims’ rights, through 25 years of dedicated service. Now, more than ever, our law enforcement officers need his type of dedication to public service. What we don’t need is more meaningless chatter, from Mr. O’Malley, in his brazen effort to get himself elected.

Please join us, on November 2nd, in voting for veteran prosecutor Mark Peterson, for our next District Attorney.

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  • Justhefacts

    Sad to see O’Malley using victims of domestic violence as a launching board for his attempts to get elected. Why don’t we ask a certain elder abuse victim about Dan’s feelings towards victims. After representing the suspect in the case, Dan tried to get money from the victim to pay fee’s and fines. Truly a champion of victim rights.

    And how about Jane Doe in the Gressett case. We all know, and it is a proven fact she went to O’Malley’s firm first. Did Dan call the police! NO. Did Dan take the victim to a hospital for an exam? NO. What did Dan do? He called his best friends at the DA’s office who sat on the information for four months and then used the investigation to target Peterson.

    So for a defense attorney to claim he cares about victim rights when he actually defends wife beaters is a pathetic attempt to use this issue to get votes.

  • Patricia

    Wow, the Concord Police Officers’ Union has a very fragile ego! Of course they don’t know about the intricacies of victims’ rights. Police officers are not advocates or lawyers! They are trained to make very rudimentary, public safety decisions that are usually prescribed by law. They are not experts in law, nor are they required to have any specialty training in any area of law for the job. A high school diploma and basic training is all that is required. So, for them to believe that they are specialists in any area of law is just preposterous. The real issue here is that they support Mr. Peterson simply because he directly affects the salaries of these chumps. Sadly, even police have a price.

  • Elwood

    Justthefacts, did you know that O’malley also organized the 9/11 bombings and was responsible for the crucifixion of Christ?

    He is also cruel to puppies.

    You are so objective and well informed I know you can tell us more about these things.

  • Ms Guzman

    I hated that people will lower themselves and use insult tactic when they can’t defends the true. You have just insulted all the police officers throughout United States including those that have risked their lives at the 9/11 attack. Shame on you…Dan O’malley supporter!!!

    Although police officers only requires a high school diploma but people like you and I with a college degree might be qualified. Everyone single police officers of United States has to be in think a six months Police Academy as the last Law Enforcement training. Our police officers of United States, had to pass a physical and also academic which, includes LAW…there is a reason why police officers are categorized under LAW ENFORCEMENT…!!!

  • Rick K.

    Hiring practices at the Contra Costa County DA’s office have to change. They seem to be based on cronyism and nepotism rather than merit. They probably are at the root of the DA office’s dysfunction. O’Malley went to JFK law school, which isn’t even accredited by the American Bar Association. Most JFK graduate job applicants find that their resumes are diverted immediately to the recycling bin. Yet somehow O’Malley was hired by the Contra Costa D.A. I’m sure that the fact that his father was a D.A. “aided” his job application. Instead of hiring the “best and brightest,” the Contra Costa D.A. hires “cousins and cronies.” That must change.

  • John W

    Having lived my adult life in ten states, I’ve never seen such a slugfest for a DA race. Maybe they could just do a duel. He who is left standing wins. I’m for Peterson, but not going to lose sleep over it.

  • Justhefacts

    Patricia has zero clue about what is talking about. Come on out and give it a shot if you think you can do better. Police officers now have to be about as legally educated as lawyers. They have to make decisions such as when or when not to get a search warrant, Miranda issues, shoot or not shoot, domestic violence laws and complexities and the list goes on and on. Most officers have college degrees and many with advanced degrees.

    Check your facts before your criticize officers lack of training. Now kiss Elwood goodnight and go to bed.

  • Elwood

    Ms Guzman, you have a college degree? That is truly frightening.

    Justthe facts, you are obviously a very strange dude! Dudette?

  • john cocktoastin

    The reason all law enforcement agencies, except Concord POA endorsed Dan O’Malley for District Attorney is that the DA’s office is broken. When prosecuters are becoming suspects, when attorneys can’t figure out what is appropriate work place conduct and when the ring leaders direct supervisor (Mark Peterson) knew or should have know what was going on in his office,you must look outside the organization for help. Is O’Malley the answer? I’m not sure, but I’m certain Mark Peterson is not. It is not an accident that only 9 current Deputy DA’s support Mark Peterson.

  • Breg

    #9

    Meh. The reason that so many DDAs support O’Malley is because he is the annointed successor by current DA Robert Kochley, and it is a poorly guarded secret that the top brass in the office have been going quietly to the DDAs and soliciting donations, letting it be known that careers are on the line. If O’Malley loses, his neighbor and #2 in the office Brian Baker will be demoted, as will Paul Sequiera, the #3 in the office. The leader of the DDA Association, Barry Grove, is also a huge O’Malley supporter and has highly politicized what was only meant to be a collective bargaining unit. O’Malley got their support by promising to take money from the contracts/new hires and applying it to the permanents. Make no mistake – the Contra Costa County elite and the party machine are behind O’Malley. If he loses they suffer a tremendous blow.

  • REW

    The Concord Police Officer Association opposed Mark Peterson in his first two runs for Concord City Council. I recall in the 1991 council race the Concord POA sent a mailer out reporting that Mark Peterson had filed to run for Concord City Council two weeks after he moved to Concord. This “hit piece” was put out by the Concord POA, it was funded by Concord Disposal, and the piece was put together by Mary Jo Rossi, who has long worked as a political consultant for the Garaventas. Now this same group, the Garaventa’s, the Concord POA, and Mary Jo Rossi are now telling voters we should vote for Mark Peterson for DA! I mean these people just keep changing hats, thinking voters aren’t noticing.

  • Rich

    As I recall the Concord POA strongly endorsed Byron Campbell for Concord City Council. Campbell, as many may recall, was the guy who allegedly ran around sexually harassing female city workers, leading to a 1 million dollar settlement agaisn’t the City. So the Concord POA has a history of not checking out candidates they are backing. If they checked out Mark Peterson they would find out his “support” in this campaign is only coming from Concord Disposal, and some developers who want to build 3,000 McMansions at the old Concord Naval Weapons station. In fact, law enforcement in this county is totally oppossed to career politician Mark Peterson’s campaign for DA, they are backing Dan O’Malley. Basically the Concord POA has aligned themselves with a single garbage company, and some developers agaisn’t thier brothers and sisters in law enforcement in this county (the 12 POA’s that are backing Dan O’Malley). It’s a disgrace in my view, but what can you expect from the Concord POA, they just don’t have the kind of leadership that bothers to check out the candidates they are backing, I guess. The Concord POA leadership needs to start doing thier homework.

  • Pingback: DA: O’Malley responds to Concord police statement | Political Blotter

  • Ms Guzman

    Whatever Elwood,

    http://www.eastbayexpress.com/ebx/a-troubled-rape-case-becomes-even-more-troubling/Content?oid=2032479

    Go ahead and insult the editor too, whatever…!!!

  • Ms Guzman

    Jail time…boys!!!

  • http://none Jack Harris

    Vote for Dan O’Malley! This letter is lengthy because it contains specific information that some would not write about in a public forum, but it is worth your time to read. My name is Jack Harris and I retired from law enforcement after 24 years, having been a Sergeant in Pittsburg PD, an Inspector in the Contra Costa County DA’s Office, and having gained work experience from a multitude of different law enforcement positions. I have now been a private investigator and criminal defense investigator for 18 years. I have also been a police association president during some of the most politically charged times possible for police officers, and know first hand that police associations, like many employee groups, don’t always speak for the majority.

    These are reasons and encouragement for everyone to take the time to vote, and to vote for Dan O’Malley. These are examples of why ethical and criminal corruption, and cronyism, are real in Contra Costa County. This is also my response to the CPOA letter this month by Sgt. Jeff Krieger and their endorsement of Mark Peterson.

    It is significant that the Concord Police Officers Association (CPOA) is the only police association in the county to have endorsed Peterson, and that Peterson is a Concord City Councilman. Politics often has a bearing on which Police Associations endorse which candidates, but Peterson’s inability to have more than one of the County’s estimated 19 Police Associations (CCCDSA included) endorse him, is unusual and probably very significant. It is emphasized that all of the other Police Associations endorsed O’Malley.

    The CPOA letter is unprofessional, lacks common sense, and does not logically seem representative of most of the officers in Concord PD, nor in any law enforcement agency. The letter ridiculously and blatantly relies on O’Malley being a criminal defense attorney as a reason not to vote for him.

    The letter says nothing of importance! It merely reiterates the belief among a few that prosecutors, their investigators, and the police are the good guys, and that defense attorneys and their investigators are the bad guys. In actuality, some of the best defense attorneys have made the best prosecutors and DA’s, and some of the best prosecutors have made the best defense attorneys. I also know with certainty that some of my retired law enforcement friends have become excellent criminal defense investigators, some of which have returned to law enforcement and done equally well.

    The term, “Attorney at Law”, has an inherent, easily understandable, and obvious meaning, the emphasis being on the words “at Law”. All lawyers, whether prosecutors, defense attorneys, or otherwise, are expected to be honest, competent, professional, and to always represent their clients, whether the State of CA or private parties, in a manner consistent with advocating the complete truth. This is extremely important in criminal law, because peoples freedoms are at stake. If a person is so prejudice or naive to believe that law enforcement is either always right, or always wrong, then they are dangerously wrong, and need to never be a juror. Some people never understand this until they or someone close to them gets charged with a crime, and this can happen to the best of us. Criminals are not comprised solely of street and gang thugs, they exist in every walk of life and profession, and at all levels.

    The fact the CPOA “takes serious exception” in reference to O’Malley’s comments about police and prosecutors understanding domestic violence victims and perpetrators, indicates that the CPOA believes that the police are the only authority on the subject, and that how dare a non law enforcement type have any opinion regarding this issue. However, because O’Malley’s actual stated opinions regarding domestic violence are based on his legal experience as a Superior Court Judge, Deputy District Attorney, and criminal defense attorney, which is far more experience then that of Peterson, and because his opinions regarding domestic violence are shared by most law enforcement administrators, who consistently mandate training in this area for their personnel, and from my own experience have done so since at least the early 1970s, it is obvious that the CPOA picked an ineffective topic for their letter.

    O’Malley’s actual statements: “When (Horowitz) called me, I said I would help out because many law enforcement officers and seasoned prosecutors don’t understand the subtleties of the larger issue,” O’Malley said. “As a society, we often blame the victims rather than focus on the crime. We say she shouldn’t have had a drink. We say she shouldn’t have been out at midnight. We say she should not have worn provocative clothing. But we should be teaching the batterers not to batter. We should not blame the victim.”

    Don’t tell me that the excuses stated above by O’Malley have not been told to victims of domestic violence by police officers, because I know this has occurred from both my experience as a police officer and as a private investigator. And also don’t tell me that teaching batterers not to batter is not a priority in law enforcement, the courts, and in the organizations that do exactly that, teach batterers not to batter.

    CPOA version of O’Malley’s statements: [M]any law enforcement officers and seasoned prosecutors don’t understand the subtleties of the larger issue [of violence upon women] “… [W]e should be teaching the batterers not to batter. We should not blame the victim.”

    The CPOA distorted the context by leaving out the rest of what O’Malley said, which was: “As a society, we often blame the victims rather than focus on the crime. We say she shouldn’t have had a drink. We say she shouldn’t have been out at midnight. We say she should not have worn provocative clothing.”

    You can read the full story regarding these statements at:

    http://www.ibabuzz.com/politics/2010/09/28/da-candidate-to-consult-on-mel-gibson-lawsuit/

    Based on cases I have worked as a private investigator, domestic violence victims, and victims of other crimes, are sometimes also told by the police that there is nothing the police can do to help them, with or without an explanation, or that the police have to witness an assault in order to arrest the suspect.

    The CPOA’s obvious attempt to slander O’Malley because he and his partners “vigorously” defend people charged with crimes, including domestic violence defendants, is nonsense. All attorneys, whether working for the prosecution, defense, civil or otherwise, should work as vigorously as possible for us, and are typically paid very well to do so.

    CPOA Letter: “If you have been arrested or charged with domestic violence or spousal abuse “… [t]he attorney’s at O’Connor, Runckel and O’Malley “… will vigorously defend you to make sure your rights are protected.”

    The CPOA letter reflects poorly on the CPOA , Concord PD, the City of Concord, and on City Councilman Mark Peterson, regarding the mind set and training of their police officers, and in the case of Peterson, the DA’s Office. People are still innocent until proven guilty, and it is the jury, not the CPOA or Peterson, that makes such a determination. Peterson knows better than this, and if not then he should not be an attorney, let alone the DA.

    The last pertinent sentence in the CPOA letter is: “Victims’ rights enjoy a top priority in every one of our criminal investigations”.

    No one can honestly say that every victim’s rights in a criminal investigation are given top priority. Even with the best of intentions, this is not consistently possible. Add to this that some police officers will “kiss off” cases in order to avoid the time required for a thorough investigation and report, and it is a certainty that the rights of all victims are not given priority. I was a street sergeant for several years, I knew several other supervisors and watch commanders, and most would probably agree that one of their most important functions regarding cases reported was making certain that investigations were properly conducted and reports were properly written, particularly when supervising certain officers who had displayed a pattern to the contrary. They would probably also agree that the term, “Kiss Off”, is a common term used when a police officer intentionally fails to take appropriate action.

    O’Malley has significant experience as a prosecutor, judge, and defense attorney, and such diversified experience relative to being the DA far surpasses that of Peterson. Peterson has obviously tried to win votes by portraying O’Malley as a weak candidate because O’Malley has defended people charged with crimes. The Peterson Camp though escalates and distorts the truth here by using the term, “Dan O’Malley Defends Criminals”, apparently not caring that those charged with a crime are innocent until proven guilty, and that these comments portray Peterson himself as a right wing extremist who would make a better dictator than DA.

    A small percentage of law enforcement and the public will always strike out at criminal defense attorneys and investigators, as if they were immoral and unethical liars and cheats who would do anything to win their cases. I have found the exact opposite to exist in Contra Costa County, not among the majority, but definitely among enough to make these remarks. I believe that the vast majority of law enforcement personnel are honest, professional, ethical and hard working. I also believe though that the there remains significantly less honest, professional, ethical and hard working law enforcement personnel, who have climbed the latter and are now in control of the actions of others.

    Example: Consider the history of the Pittsburg Police Department, and how the a police administration patterned itself after a Mafia Godfather and his lieutenants and soldiers, having held meetings where the Godfather and his servants exchanged kisses, and then laid out plans for achieving and retaining power by ruthlessly assassinating the characters of those who opposed them. Consider the allegations of search warrant tips offs in drug cases and other cases, some having been reasonably proven. Consider that persons suspected of organized and other sophisticated crime, were ignored, inclusive of organized crime groups like the Hells Angels. Consider that if you worked narcotics and in some way indicated an interest in such activities, that you might find yourself assigned to meaningless surveillance in downtown Pittsburg for the purpose of arresting people for drinking alcohol in public, or working in the downtown substation with orders not to leave. Consider that in order for an administration like this to survive, that it had to be comprised of easily manipulated people, and that the best way to do this was to hire misfits. Consider that some of us believed that such an evil police administration would eventually lead to more serious misfeasance and crimes, even murder, being committed by Pittsburg Police Officers. Now research the murder of Cynthia Kemp by former Pittsburg Police Officers Eric Bergen and George Elsie, who along with two civilians also committed a number of armed robberies.

    Of extreme importance, understand that the Contra Costa County DA’s Office had an opportunity to put an end to this Police Administration, by prosecuting the Chief of Police for lying to their Office during the DA’s investigation of the Police Department in 1982, which most certainly would have resulted in the Police Chief’s firing, and eventually the rest of his group. The DA did not prosecute, dirty politics reigned, and Cynthia Kemp wound up dead in an execution manner, her body mutilated with multiple gunshots, because all four of the responsibles agreed to take part.

    We need a DA who will take immediate and thorough action when informed of suspected illegal and or grossly unacceptable behavior by law enforcement, or among anyone else who might otherwise enjoy protection and immunity because of their political and or financial stature. Additionally, particularly in cases involving public servants, we need such cases publicized for two reasons: first, so the public will be informed and then be able to provide whatever information they have related to the investigation being conducted, and second, so that the public will be informed of the outcome of the case. The latter helps clear the investigated person(s) names (s) when no further action is to be taken, but it also alerts the public to further criminal and or civil actions to be taken. In cases where responsible person(s) are criminally convicted and or civilly held liable, public dissemination of this information is absolutely necessary because it serves as a deterrent for other public servants who are prone to violate the law. Politicians have taken significant steps in the last 25 plus years to conceal their dirty laundry from the public. This is wrong because the public has every right to be informed of the dirty laundry that emanates from government agencies. When I attended the police academy, which was 40 years ago, we were taught that law enforcement personnel stood on a pedestal. We were taught the reason for this was that if you fell of the pedestal, it was intended for you and your agency to suffer public humiliation, thus creating a strong example for other law enforcement personnel to solemnly and wholeheartedly abide by their Sworn Oath and the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics.

    I support O’Malley for DA because the cronyism and lack of professionalism in the DA’s Office is appalling and an insult to the public. Cronyism and corruption have been rampant in the DA’s Office, and throughout County and Local Departments, particularly in certain law enforcement agencies, for many years. If O’Malley is elected and ends this problem in the DA’s Office, other administrators in the County will be forced to do the same or risk the DA’s Office doing it for them.

    Although O’Malley’s broad experience base would be an asset to him serving as DA, his personality would be an equally important asset. He is open minded, and I don’t see this in Peterson. As a civilian, I’ve had the unfortunate experience of trying to get information regarding unsolved homicides investigated by the DA’s Office, and because this information indicated a probable investigative disregard of this information by a local police department, I was met with some of the most disrespectful, antagonistic and insulting behavior that I have ever encountered from a prosecutor. I won’t vote for Peterson when I believe that he probably would not have the courage to take on law enforcement when appropriate, or for that matter something deemed politically incorrect.

    Considering the obvious existence of “The Good Ole Boy Network”, O’Malley was a Deputy DA for 12 years, and Peterson has been a Deputy DA for 25 years, including promotion to Assistant DA, and significant supervisory responsibilities. What has Peterson been doing about “The Good Ole Boy Club” for the last 25 years? He hasn’t run for DA until now, and the problem is still there! O’Malley has significantly less exposure to the problem of cronyism in the DA’s Office then does Peterson, and therefore hasn’t yet had an opportunity to deal with it.

    Don’t assume that because O’Malley’s father, Bill O’Malley, was the DA during the previously described investigation of Pittsburg PD, that this should have a bearing on my support of O’Malley. Based on having later worked as a DA Inspector, I found that the DA Inspector responsible for the Pittsburg PD investigation was ethically corrupt, and therefore I can’t overlook the strong possibility that he distorted the truth on behalf of Pittsburg PD during his investigation. I know that he did so when I reported illegal conduct in the DA’s Office to him as a DA Inspector.

    The use of the term “cronyism” is sometimes a light hearted and cowardly way of saying corruption. Corruption has existed and been ignored in this County for many years, and the DA is responsible for putting a stop to it. My employment as an Inspector in the DA’s Office was ended by firing me in order to protect the cronyism and corruption that existed. I had reported to the Chief Inspector, who was also responsible for the DA’s investigation of Pittsburg PD, that a Senior Inspector had illegally seized a large amount of money while serving a search warrant, and then lied about the grounds for the seizure in his report. It made no difference that this incident, a crime, and serious civil rights violation, was witnessed by two Inspectors. It made no difference that I had worked at a good level of performance for 362 days of my year long probationary period, and may have been promoted to Senior Inspector in the next few days. It did make a difference that my actions jeopardized “The Good Ole Boy Network” and their interests, and I was therefore discharged within 24 hours of being interviewed by the Chief, with there being no legitimate investigation conducted.

    From the standpoint of expense to the taxpayers, it also made no a difference when the County paid $375,000 to settle my wrongful termination lawsuit, along with probably at least the same amount for their legal defense fees. Because I speak from experience regarding cronyism and corrupt politics in this County, I add that it also made no difference when the City of Pittsburg paid $675,000 to settle my wrongful termination against them, along with paying over a million dollars in legal fees. My point here is that cronyism and corrupt politics needlessly costs the taxpayers allot of money.

    I was diversified in law enforcement, and remain so as a private investigator, having been a criminal defense investigator in many cases, and also having investigated cases for the purpose of criminal prosecution in cases that were ignored by law enforcement. Don’t take the word “ignored” as a personal attack on law enforcement, because such ignorance, which is often based on dishonesty and or incompetence, exists in all legal professions, ie., among private investigators, law enforcement officers, defense attorneys, prosecuting attorneys, judges, in the White house, and even in God’s House. My point here is that there is no “Holier Than Thou” Profession.

    Peterson portrays a prosecutor who will be hard on crime, but Peterson is also a politician by his own professional choice. Prosecutors who throw everything on the wall and file charges for the sake of good publicity, are extremely costly to the taxpayers. An extremely important measure of a good DA is not in all the charges he files, but in the convictions obtained. The remarkable number of dismissals and not guilty verdicts in the County are evidence that the Prosecutors responsible for filing the charges in these cases had ulterior motivations for doing so. We should ethically not tolerate such conduct, and we definitely can’t continue to afford to have our taxes pay for such conduct.

    Dan O’Malley’s broad base of experience as a judge, prosecutor and private attorney makes him by far the most qualified candidate for DA.

    Thank you, Jack Harris