One of my commenters on my below post at 6:29 (although waaaaay off topic) brought up a list of "rumors" about the plans that Clarence Bradford had should he take over the District Attorney's Office. Normally, I wouldn't really care about what was said, but some of the rumors that he listed are ones that I've heard as well, and I write this in the hope that former-Chief Bradford will either confirm, deny, or explain them.
The anonymous poster lists the following rumors about what Bradford would change:
1. He will dismantle the Special Crimes Division (and maybe the Public Integrity Division) of the Office. Okay, first of all, I think the "maybe the Public Integrity" portion is a complete load of B.S. added by the commenter. No major law enforcement agency doesn't have a Public Integrity unit of some sort. I did hear about the possibility of dismantling Special Crimes, and I would like to hear from Bradford regarding the veracity of the statement.
The Special Crimes Division is the "crown-jewel" of the District Attorney's Office. It has the best prosecutors in the Office handling the toughest cases. Specialized lawyers who handle everything from white-collar crime, violent gang task forces, major narcotics suppliers, and Cold Cases. I would be surprised if Bradford decided to dismantle such an integral part of the Office, but I think it would be a grave mistake if he did.
2. Lloyd Kelley will be his first assistant. This concerned me early on, but I have since been informed that Bradford has told people that Lloyd Kelley will not be working within the District Attorney's Office under his administration.
3. Quannel X and his followers will have free access all over the District Attorney's Office "like they did at HPD"-Quite frankly, I think that this part is just alarmist panic-mongering. I believe that Quannel X and his followers should be able to get an audience with the elected D.A. (just like all citizens should), but being able to walk through the Office with unfettered access would be ridiculous.
In addition to those raised by the Anonymous poster, there are two additional things that I have heard, that I would like to hear Chief Bradford address:
4. His "Upper Administration" (i.e., Bureau and Division Chiefs) will be filled with people of no more than three years of legal experience, including some who never rose to the level of misdemeanor chief. Frankly, this is a concern to many people. I fully understand that a newly elected official can staff an office any way they damn well please, but one would hope that the people they bring in have the experience to do the job. These are folks that will ultimately be making major policy decisions regarding everything from the death penalty to the decision on how to handle crack pipe cases.
Please note, I'm not saying that the people in those positions need to be current prosecutors, but at least someone with experience. (As an aside, one of the more persistent rumors going around the CJC is that Jim Leitner would be Pat Lykos' 1st Assistant. Although I'm not a big fan of Jim's at the moment, I will concede that he does have the experience to know how to properly run that position).
5. Bradford will bring up for Disciplinary Rule any Prosecutor who draws a Batson challenge-first, a quick primer: a Batson challenge is if the defense attorney makes a challenge that a prosecutor struck someone based solely on their race. They are quite commonly made to protect a defense attorney's record in defending his client, but they are very rarely sustained. If every prosecutor who just gets a challenge is going to be brought before a disciplinary committee, one of two things will happen: 1) the Disciplinary Committee is going to be very busy; or 2) prosecutors will be gun-shy about exercising their judgment on making peremptory strikes. Neither is a good option.
I applaud Bradford's effort to crack down on racially motivated strikes by prosecutors, but I would suggest his standard should probably be if a Batson challenge is actually granted by a judge before bringing a prosecutor up on disciplinary violations.
And finally . . .
6. Bradford is accepting lists from Defense Attorneys regarding which current prosecutors should be fired. This is quite possibly the most ludicrous things I have heard. The idea of the defense bar dictating who should get to stay or leave is akin to Joe Gibbs calling up Tom Landry before a Cowboys/Redskins match and telling him who he should start or sit.
Again, I cannot stress enough that these phenomenally bad ideas are just rumors, but they are ones that are persistently floating around the CJC. I hope that Chief Bradford will address them in the near future.
(NOTE: Previously, I had attributed "many" of the above listed rumors to Jim Leitner as being the source. Jim contacted me and wanted to know the source who had told me that. I was unable to directly attribute it to any person who had directly heard it from Jim, so I have deleted that portion of the original post. For those of you who know how courthouse gossip works, you can probably understand how that happened. However, since I can't directly attribute it to someone, I feel that I owe Jim an apology.
I apologize for the trouble, Jim.)