Kings County Prosecutor Darby Declares Run for Tulare County District Attorney

Matt Darby declared his candidacy for the office of District Attorney of Tulare County Thursday in front of the Tulare County Courthouse.

Clayton Diltz, a chaplain at the Fresno Veterans Home, introduced Darby to the crowd summing him up by saying “in a word Matt is authentic.”

Darby said that his purpose is “to bring back integrity to the office of Tulare County District Attorney (TCDA.)”

Catherine Doe/Valley Voice

As a long-time prosecutor for the TCDA, Darby left to work in Kings County along allegedly with nine other lawyers because of a lack of leadership and integrity inside the TCDA office. Darby puts the blame squarely on the shoulders of the current DA, Tim Ward.

Darby said, Ward “pursued the office of district attorney for political gain instead of prosecuting the difficult cases.”

“He hasn’t taken on the more difficult cases because they don’t provide enough political payback,” said Darby.

According to Darby’s press release, “When we are able to clean up the mess at Tulare County District Attorney’s Office, we can once again hope to attract and keep skilled and successful prosecutors working for us. We have lost so many experienced advocates of justice, myself included, as we sought work compatible with our ethical duty. We have lost over 100 years of combined experience in our prosecutors since Tim Ward has been in office. I am committed to attracting experienced prosecutors to Tulare County, rather than pushing them away as Mr. Ward’s office has done.”

Darby said that he is running as a prosecutor, not a politician.

“I don’t care about the personal accolades. My value comes from being a Christian and believing in God as our savior.”

What Darby would prefer to see are the people who put all the work into the cases, such as victim’s advocates and prosecutors, get more credit than they do under Ward’s administration.

Darby also attributes a lack of integrity inside the DA’s office to Ward’s acceptance of big corporate campaign donations.

Because Ward took $21,000 from Medflow and Health Care Conglomerate Associates (HCCA,) companies owned by Dr. Benny Benzeevi, “he is hopelessly compromised in the investigation into HCCA.” Darby also attributes Benzeevi’s donations as the reason Ward started so late in the game his investigating HCCA.

“I will see that big donors are no longer able to influence investigations and prosecution decisions.”

Darby said he guarantees a very fair, thorough, and complete investigation into all cases no matter who they involve.

“Good prosecutors know that we must be allowed independent and aggressive prosecution of those who commit crimes.”

Narcotics and Gangs

The two biggest issues for Darby are narcotics and gangs.

“Right now the DA’s office is prosecuting drug crimes, but they are not aggressive enough.”

He said when he worked at the TCDA’s office, he was the last methamphetamine expert to prosecute cases. He was in that position for three years until the federal grant ran out.

“We were making huge inroads and I encouraged Ward to make it a permanent position,” Darby said. But the DA wanted to wait for another possible grant.

“Ward would not commit county money to this even though meth is the main problem facing Tulare County.” Darby pointed out that more people died last year from drug overdose than in the Vietnam War.

“Narcotics cases have dire consequences for the community,” he said. “We should be aggressively prosecuting cases that adversely affect our community and not wait for a federal hand-out.

Background

According to Darby’s press release:

“Matt Darby is a career prosecutor and trial attorney with a long record of public service. His grandparents moved to Tulare County to find work in the fields during the height of the Great Depression. Matt grew up in Porterville and has often commented publicly on the consequences of increased gang and narcotics activity in his hometown.

Darby attended Strathmore and Rockford elementary schools and graduated from Monache High School, where he participated in student government and water polo. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political studies with a summa cum laude distinction at The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, then earned a law degree at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. Darby served as student body president and was selected to speak at his 2005 graduation ceremony.”

He now lives in Visalia with his wife and four children.

Darby says he “had an all-American childhood.

“For me, I couldn’t have grown up in a better environment.” He said the communities were clean, crime was low, and it was safe to play outside.

After returning from law school he saw so much more crime and pan handling. “It was not what I remembered from when I was younger.”

Darby isn’t saying that Ward is the problem, but that Ward “lacks the vision of what Tulare County was and what Tulare County could be.”

Ward is not from the Valley and came to the area to work in the DA’s office.

“For him,” Darby said, “Tim Ward sees Tulare County through the bubble of the District Attorney’s office and through words on a police report. That doesn’t give you the full panorama of what Tulare County is all about. He arrived here with Tulare County already suffering from high crime, drug use and gangs.”

Darby said, “I always wanted to serve and be a public prosecutor. I have a passion to make a difference in my community.”

He said, the last time Ward prosecuted a trial was in 2010.

“That’s not my role,” Ward allegedly said.

“I completely disagree,” said Darby

One way Darby plans on accomplishing his goals is to stay in the courtroom and prosecute trials as the elected attorney.

“I want to make that difference by bringing Tulare County back to the days before the drugs and gangs took over.”

19 thoughts on “Kings County Prosecutor Darby Declares Run for Tulare County District Attorney

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  1. No wonder Mr Ward has started to move on the disaster created by Benzeevi. He knows he is not going to get re-elected if he kept ignoring the issue.

    • Matt Darby is a paid employee of Kings County and not an elected official. Besides, there are no term limits for District Attorney.

    • Let me just say this about Matt Darby he is certainly not running for the District Attorney position because of money! This is one of the most genuine men I have ever met with the highest level of integrity. I hope Tulare County sees what I know about him and makes the right decision

  2. Mr Darby, fellow christian and citizen, you have my vote! (Dear editor: If identifying myself as a “Christian” is offensive to you, just delete my post as you delete so many others and I will resubmit without the dreaded “C” word.

    • Rarely–very rarely–do we delete posts, and if you saw those we did delete you’d agree with us. It’s not offensive for you to identify yourself as Christian. I’m a Zoroastrian. Does that offend you?

      • Zoroastrian? Not at all offensive! An ancient religion that I wish I knew more about. One of the many noble contributions made to our world by the Persians, I believe.

  3. I have had the pleasure of knowing Matt Darby for the past four years. I can say, with a completely clear conscience and honest heart, that Matt is one of the best men I’ve ever met. His integrity is grounded in Christ.
    Who am I, that you should take my word? Maybe nobody. I’m not a politician. My family has been farming in Tulare County for over 160 years. I’m a family man. I am a Christian, striving to be more Christ-like.
    If you’ve ever met Matt, (and not as a defendant), you’ll know his integrity to be outstanding. Get to know the candidates, I’m sure you’ll find Matt more than qualified for Tulare County District Attorney. He is a truly honest man, at a time when we need one. God Bless.

  4. I worked in the TCDA office with Matt Darby and can’t say enough good things about him. He was always willing to help and was a great asset to a learning/developing attorney. I loved my time in the office and Matt was a big part of that.

  5. TCDA under Ward’s leadership or lack there of has lost a lot more than 100 years of experienced prosecutors… it’s more like double or triple that number. Ward has surrounded himself with a bunch of sycophants not prosecutors. When prosecutors violate their oath by refusing to comply with discovery, intentionally misleading the courts and hiding evidence, refusing to listen when exculpatory evidence is presented by the defense and won’t dismiss cases cases when they know they should… when winning means more than doing the right thing… that is when it is time for a NEW DA!!

  6. I do not believe I have a reputation as either a sycophant or “non-prosecutor”. ADA Kerri Lopez is another who has a great deal more experience as a prosecutor than any I know of who are no longer with the office and significantly more homicide experience than any of the “nine” that Mr. Darby mentioned when he talks of more than a “100 years of experience”. Chief Deputy Dan Underwood tried five murder cases in a single year – again more than any I am aware of among those who have left the office. The lies mentioned above are obviously politically motivated and do not have any basis in fact or there would be court decisions that back those claims. There are many reasons people leave an office. Some leave to go back to an area they really wanted to live and work in when they came to Tulare seeking experience with a good office. Others (those with a longer history in the office) on occasion, leave when they do not receive the assignments they desire or the promotions they believe they deserve. What I am see so far in this campaign is an attack on the integrity of the Tulare County District Attorney staff. This negative campaigning is not even focused on the elected but rather those people who go to court every day to seek justice and protect our county from those that would do it harm. Apparently those supporting Mr. Darby cannot provide any positive campaign material such as a list of accomplishments as a manager and leader. On the other hand, I can state that I have known and worked with Tim Ward since 1999 when we both started at the office. During that time he rose from a brand new prosecutor to a member of the homicide team where he prosecuted a significant number of murder cases prior to becoming a supervisor. After spending time actually supervising teams in the office and heading up our move into the 21st century from a computer systems standpoint he became one of two assistant district attorneys where he was involved in handling issues like budget and long term planning for the future of the office. It was only after all of this leadership experience that he became our District Attorney. There many more positive aspects in Mr. Ward’s background involving leadership and management, such as his military experience as an army officer, but this is not the time or the place. In addition there are many instances of leadership of character that will be coming out during the campaign. And for those who will want to state that I am just “protecting my boss” without being upfront about who I am, I will state that am proud to be an assistant district attorney at the office with a fair amount of trial experience, enough to be considered a real prosecutor.

    • Tulare County DA Tim Ward is the weakest individual I have ever met who has a position to do what is right. He does not do what is right. I know of murders that were committed and rapes that were committed and never prosecuted because they were not easy wins. This type of behavior just emboldens the criminals. It only effects me if I live on the side of crime. But since I live on the side of LAW, what the DA’s office does, is not directly effecting my life. I have gotten very upset in the past when I see what is happening in Tulare County. We need a good Christian man who believes in the LAW and will risk everything to uphold the Law and Justice for All. Tim Ward is a coward.

      • Mr Moran, you may not be aware, though you did seek out my LinkedIn page this morning, that you have called me a coward along with Mr. Ward. You have done this by questioning filing decisions of our office as I have been involved in the filing or rejection of nearly every murder case in this county since 2005, eleven years as the supervisor of the gang and homicide team, the last couple as the ADA over the four special prosecution units (units that prosecute gangs, homicides, child abuse, crimes against women, white collar, welfare fraud, commercial drug cases, auto theft and a few others).

        If you ask Mr Darby you will not hear him say anything other than good about my work ethic, legal knowledge, filing decisions and trial ability if he is still able to speak the truth. For those who may not be aware I have prosecuted more than 130 jury trials, 32 of those trials have been murder cases the most recent resulted in a death sentence for the torture/rape/ murder of a three year old little girl.

        Unless you have reviewed the reports of the unfiled cases you mentioned you have no way of knowing what evidence exists and what evidence may be admissible or inadmissible.

        When a prosecutor files a case he or she is unlikely to win with the available evidence ultimately resulting in a not guilty verdict that prosecutor has denied justice and emboldened a defendant – and that assumes there is enough evidence to be more than guessing as to a defendant’s guilt. If a prosecutor files a case when he or she is not convinced of a person’s guilt the prosecutor has committed a serious ethical violation.

        You had one question of me this morning, am I a God Fearing Christian. I now have a question for you, do you think that calling someone a coward without the facts is the action of a God Fearing Christian?

  7. Prosecuting drug crimes is difficult when California keeps decriminalizing them. I would like to know Mr Darby’s stand on Drug Court.

  8. Ward is corrupt as all get out for sure, but Darby presents as a pandering Christian theocrat who actually thinks Porterville life was bread, roses and candy for everyone when he was growing up.

    He also doesn’t seem to realize that with the growth in population in the county, most of us didn’t grow up here at all and don’t find it important that he did we all.

  9. It seems He answered the Tulare hospital mess question. Money is the mothers milk of politics so I can only guess that is why the DA has been so slow to move on this. This guy has my vote!

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