Former prosecutor announces bid to challenge first-term Orange County D.A.

A former prosecutor and U.S. Marine Corps veteran mentioned Tuesday that he’ll problem Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer to turn into Orange County’s prime prosecutor subsequent 12 months in a race that’s poised to check the local weather for justice reform in a county that has traditionally favored tough-on-crime insurance policies.

Peter Hardin, 42, introduced his candidacy at a media briefing outdoors the Lamoreaux Justice Middle and Juvenile Corridor in Orange on Tuesday afternoon, surrounded by dozens of supporters holding blue and orange indicators bearing the lawyer’s title.

Together with his son by his facet, Hardin outlined his catalog of concepts, together with ending money bail, halting the follow of prosecuting youngsters as adults and abolishing the usage of the dying penalty. These insurance policies, he says, will assist convey the county’s justice system into the twenty first Century.

“I’m operating to reinforce public security, heal and restore our victims and survivors of crime, and restore integrity and professionalism to the Orange County district lawyer’s workplace,” Hardin mentioned. “I do know that being a guardian of justice means doing the appropriate factor on a regular basis nonetheless troublesome it could be. Throughout America we face a nationwide reckoning with an outdated and ineffective felony justice system. We’ve got turned to prisons and punishment and turned our again on rehabilitation, help and redemption.”

Hardin mentioned the system incessantly results in mass incarceration and siphons taxpayer cash away from public faculties, after-school packages, psychological well being providers, and drug and alcohol counseling that may assist scale back crime.

Hardin served as a choose advocate within the U.S. Marine Corps for greater than 5 years after graduating from the George Washington College Legislation Faculty. He served in Helmand Province in Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012 as a member of the first Reconnaissance Battalion. After leaving the service, he was a deputy within the Orange County district lawyer’s workplace for a 12 months and a prosecutor within the U.S. lawyer’s workplace for 2 years. He entered personal follow in 2017.

Hardin’s problem comes throughout a tumultuous time for Spitzer’s workplace, which has been dogged by a sequence of scandals in current months, together with allegations of sexual harassment and criticism over the handling of a high-profile Newport Beach sexual assault case.

Throughout the contentious race for district lawyer in 2018 in opposition to Tony Rackauckas, Spitzer — then a county supervisor — billed himself as a reform candidate. On the time, he was fiercely essential of prosecutors’ use of jailhouse informants to acquire confessions and win convictions, and ran on a platform promising to steer an trustworthy and accountable workplace.

Hardin has discovered help from a few of Spitzer’s former allies turned vocal critics. Amongst them is Paul Wilson, whose spouse was one in every of eight folks killed by Scott Dekraai at a Seal Seaside hair salon in 2011 within the deadliest mass capturing in county historical past. Although Wilson supported Spitzer in 2018, he instructed the group Tuesday that he has since been disillusioned by Spitzer’s failure to scrub up the district lawyer’s workplace.

“After years of excruciating ache I believed the county had a savior in Todd Spitzer. He ran a marketing campaign to take away the district lawyer with Spitzer talking day by day concerning the horrible misconduct of our case and the necessity for accountability and alter of tradition,” Wilson mentioned. “It was all a con sport.”

Spitzer, who stood behind tv information cameras as Hardin made his announcement Tuesday, mentioned he attended the briefing to study his challenger’s insurance policies, which he in comparison with the progressive platform of not too long ago elected Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón.

“Mr. Harden made it unequivocally clear that he needs to be the subsequent George Gascón for Orange County and I’m telling you, unequivocally, it’s not going to occur,” Spitzer mentioned. “This county is not going to tolerate it. They won’t stand for it.”

Hardin refuted these assertions throughout his speech, saying that his insurance policies can be tailor-made to fulfill the wants of Orange County.

“Todd Spitzer has constructed his profession on powerful on crime rhetoric and utilizing worry and intimidation as a tactic,” Hardin mentioned. “I do know that he needs to run in opposition to George Gascón, however my title is Peter Hardin and we’re in Orange County not in L.A.”

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