Guest commentary: Tulare County DA needs to learn when to recuse himself

It’s now revealed that on two separate occasions a campaign donor of Tulare County District Attorney (TCDA) was investigated for committing perjury by the State Licensing Bureau and Attorney General.

Lying on California state forms for a professional license is a felony.

In the first investigation in 2013, conducted by the California State Attorney General’s office for the Department of Consumer Affairs, it was found that Ward’s friend committed perjury. As a result he lost his professional license. The second investigation appears to be ongoing.

I’m not sure if my opponent for TCDA was actually referred either of these cases by the Attorney General or State Bureau. However, I find it troubling that the District Attorney accepted thousands of dollars from this individual and clearly gave a quid pro quo by agreeing to the granting of a Corum Nobis motion that allowed his donor to have a former battery charge dismissed.

In 2015, Ward did not file an opposition to the Defendant’s Corum Nobis motiion.

Ward had a clear conflict of interest and should have recused himself from handling the Corum Nobis motion.

Frankly, if one were giving Ward the benefit of the doubt and accepted his claim that he didn’t know about his friend’s committing perjury, one should then ask why the DA would fail to conduct an adequate background check on this person before granting his motion. A simple internet search without the investigative powers of the DA’s Office would have more than sufficed to give Ward all the information he needed to know.

Ward has shown he cannot be trusted to properly recuse himself from a criminal case when a friend or donor is involved.

I have personal knowledge of a man in his 40’s who committed a robbery at the age of 15. That man told me he regrets what he did everyday and it has cost him. He hasn’t been able to get an adequate paying job despite pursuing college although he is a good and productive member of society. He’s a leader in his church, leads several men’s groups and has demonstrated a true change in his life, although he’s not wealthy or influential in the community by country club standards.

After many years he was able to save up for an attorney and when he filed his motion to have his old case dismissed, Ward objected! Compare that to the treatment of Ward’s friend and donor.

Look at Dr. Benzeevi and Medflow. Ward accepted $21,000 from him and sat back on his hands for over a year and did nothing until he was forced into action by an uproar in the community and the realization that his political career was on the line.

As I’ve said from the beginning of this campaign, Ward is hopelessly compromised. Tulare County should have confidence that its District Attorney is pursuing justice that is blind and unstained from the influence of large campaign contributions. The days of preferential treatment to friends and large campaign donors are about to end.

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  1. Great editorial! Hope Visalia opens their eyes as the rest of the counties cities have! Too much Hood Old Boy garbage going on in that department!

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