Forum for Kings County District Attorney candidates illuminated stark differences

The gloves were off at the Kings County District Attorney candidate forum on May 2.

The forum, hosted by the 1776 Sons of Liberty group, was attended by approximately 300 people who turned out to hear the two candidates spar in the most watched race in Kings County.

Keith Fagundes, the incumbent Kings County District Attorney, is facing a challenger in Sarah Hacker. The race will be decided in a little more than a month at the June 7 primary; mail-in ballots will arrive around May 9.

Hacker worked at the Kings County DA’s office for nine years then left in 2015 to work at Dias Law Firm where she is now a partner.

Fagundes has been the Kings County DA since 2014 and has worked in law since 1999.

 

Hacker: DA’s office allegedly spread too thin

After rattling off her qualifications, Hacker threw the first punch saying that “the DA’s actions have called into question his integrity. I am compelled to stand up because I know I can do better.”

To buttress her claim, a campaign worker handed out copies of former investigator for the DA Robert Waggle’s suit against Kings County. In the suit, Waggle makes claims against Fagundes of sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and retaliation.

“You’ve heard rumors and lies that there is a moral problem in the DA’s office and that is false,” Fagundes responded. “We have heard a lot of accusations but no facts to support it.”

When answering the question about how to combat rising crime in Kings County, Hacker responded by claiming that Fagundes’ office is spread too thin.

“Right now, we have a DA’s office that has spread itself too thin. My goal is make the office more efficient,” she said.

Hacker said that the current DA has programs that overlap with the police and sheriff’s department.

“It’s trying to be a secondary police force, it is trying to be a political force, and not so successfully, trying to be a prosecution office,” she said.

In a retort, Fagundes said when he took over from the “Strickland/Hacker administration,” the District Attorney’s office was riddled with backlog that he had to clean up. Greg Strickland was Fagundes’ predecessor.

“We are the most efficient DA’s office in the state,” he said.

The term “Strickland/Hacker administration” is a misnomer, Hacker said, because she was not in an administrative position. Fagundes clearing a backlog is just part of his job, she added.

“The DA should be able to manage the caseload,” she said. “Investigators and employees should not be riding around in a luxury RV handing out flyers. They should be investigating crimes and assisting victims.”

Fagundes responded by saying that the county acquired the Mass Casualty Center RV, which Hacker was referring to, in order to prepare for a potential catastrophe such as an Interstate 5 collision or active shooter situation.

“It will happen and we need to be prepared,” he said.

“Why are we investing in luxury items for events that have never occurred in Kings County,” Hacker asked in response.

 

Fagundes: “If you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing”

A question concerning the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida highlighted the two candidates’ most significant philosophical differences in how to prosecute.

Fagundes said that Kings County already has a “Stand Your Ground” law because “I am the DA and everyone knows what I stand for.”

Hacker retorted, “In my opponent’s answer we find a fundamental flaw in the way he believes prosecution should be.”

“For my opponent to say Stand Your Ground exists because I say so is a violation of his office. He does not make the law,” she said. “The DA enforces the law.”

There are no Stand your Ground laws In California.

Differences again flared up when a question was asked about AB2223, a controversial pending bill concerning woman’s reproductive health. Opponents of the bill say that AB2223 legalizes killing a baby up to 28 days old. The bill’s author says it abolishes California’s requirement that coroners investigate stillbirths.

When asked about AB2223 Hacker said that her personal beliefs are irrelevant because “my job is to enforce the law as written.”

“A DA’s opinion matters. That’s what guides policy,” Fagundes retorted. “For someone to set aside their personal beliefs while being DA is absurd. If you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing.”

Fagundes said that AB2223 is a “law that will invite murder, that’s all there is to it.”

Hacker explained that the proposed change to the law came about because Fagundes “illegally prosecuted women for giving birth to stillborns knowing that his actions were against the law.”

Fagundes insisted the current law does allow prosecution, and that it “in fact it demands the Sheriff and Coroner do an autopsy on the fetus because the fetus has rights.”

Hacker says that the California Supreme Court dismissed both of Fagundes’ cases he filed against the mothers concerning their still born babies.

Rob Bonta, the California Attorney General, issued a statewide communication to demand that local DAs not prosecute women who have stillbirths even if they may be at fault, Hacker said; she added that Fagundes is the reason AB 2223 was written in the first place – and would likely pass, because he ignored Bonta’s directive.

Fagundes did not mince words in his response to Hacker.

“The fact that other DAs are too weak to stand up to liberal Rob Bonta is not my problem.” Fagundes added, “If you are going to be a weak milquetoast person and do whatever the law says, or Rob Bonta, then vote for my opponent.”

Fagundes feels that just because Sacramento passes a law does not mean “you should just roll over and turn our county into a liberal safe-haven.”

Hacker did not back down.

“If you want a renegade to continue to run this county then you will not have justice. His course of action is rogue. We take an Oath of Office. We have to promise to uphold the constitution.”

 

Good ‘ol Boys Club

A battle of who succumbs more to the “Good ‘ol Boys club” ensued when each candidate was asked about their leadership abilities.

“As your DA I will not work for the Good ‘ol Boys Club,” Hacker said to a round of applause.

“I don’t care if someone has a father with a lot of money. I don’t care if someone has lived in the county a long time. I will prosecute cases based on the merits of the case and not to fulfill any political favor. That’s why Sheriff Robinson lost confidence in the current DA and has endorsed me,” she continued.

Fagundes responded, stating that he is “not a typical politician.”

“Being part of a crew that will stand up to the Good ‘ol Boys Club is what I’m all about. I am not your typical politician. We don’t let outside influences dictate what we do,” he said.

He said that if that were true, his office would have succumbed “when the liberal media came knocking on my family’s door because we prosecuted women for killing their babies in the womb. Then we would have caved in but we kept fighting it.”

“I know Kings County values. I know what we stand for. I’m certainly not standing on a street corner with ABC30 protesting the murder of an infant,” he said.

 

Final Statement

Fagundes reiterated in his final statement that rumors about low office morale was false information.

“There may be a few employees who are not happy right now but I heard a saying, ‘you can make everyone happy, just not on the same day.’”

He concluded, “People are nasty and ugly when they don’t get what they want. We have seen that in criminals and disgruntled employees.”

17 thoughts on “Forum for Kings County District Attorney candidates illuminated stark differences

(Commenter ID is a unique per-article, per-person commenter identifier. If multiple names have the same Commenter ID, it is likely they are the same person. For more information, click here.)

  1. Watching it live it seemed like Sarah didn’t want to be there. I think it’s important to have some passion for the position you want to take over. Sarah had really no experience to state and hasn’t been involved in any city or county fundraisers or non profits. Most of her time speaking she used it to attack Fagundes instead of build herself up. I guess it’s hard when you haven’t done anything for the community. I found it interesting she talked about the good ole boys club. Does she mean the 1776 sons of liberty who support her? The forever Trumpers that are highly secretive and don’t hold open meetings. I found it funny Sarah also called Fagundes a career politician. I would like to know if Dave Robinson runs for a second term as Sheriff would she call him a career politician? Fagundes hasn’t ran for any other position. I don’t see the DA as being a career politician position. Not just anyone can run for that position just like the Sheriff position.

  2. Wow it is amazing how someone can so easily fluff off serious allegations of sexual inappropriateness as nothing more than disgruntled nasty ugly people and then turn around and blatantly brag on how he will disregard the law whenever it suits him. A District Attorney who believes that following the law is something that only a weak milquetoast person would do. A District Attorney who believes he is above the law. He is saying that his values are Kings County values. Is he right? He has shown Kings County voters in more ways than one who he is. Alarm bells are ringing loudly when it comes to questions about the current District Attorney’s judgments and ethics. When someone shows you who they really are, you best believe them.

  3. Fagundes comes up with the goofiest responses to defend his positions. I listened but was not convinced by his answers that he believed what he was saying. Hacker looked stressed to but she’s taking on this crooked guy. She knows she’s up against the good ole boy and he showed that too. He tried to puff up his chest to bully Hacker. He looked stressed and freaked just waiting for that sexual harassment question that never was asked. His neck was stiff but he kept spouting out crazy talking points. He talked so much but had no substance. You can see by his little tough guy image that he’s insecure and over compensating to hide facts. He misstated the law, inappropriate ethical positions, and blew off major concerns of the voters. Voters want to know why all these people have complaints against Fagundes. Why the Sheriff did not endorse Fagundes. Why over 60+ attorneys have left his office. Why judges have taken his office off cases. Why he misuses county property. He ignores these issues and says things like his office is most efficient in the entire state. And uses big boy words like milquetoast. Rambling off old cases, putting on his tough guy act to attempt to impress the easily fooled. But nothing to back it up. Then I read the complaint Hacker’s team handed out and could not believe the nasty vile conduct Fagundes engaged in. Wow!!!! No way all this is made up against Fagundes!!!!!!! You read this complaint then listen to him and he just appears as a classic greasy politician hiding the real issues. There’s really no other conclusion that makes sense. We talked after the debate and everyone agreed something was off with Fagundes. We wish hacker would have asked the hard questions too. She needs to attack this Fagundes with the hard facts.

    • The she is backed by 1776 Sons of Liberty! The group who doesn’t value democracy and thinks the presidential election was stolen! Keep siding with a group that are forever Trumpers and don’t value the constitution. The good ole boys are who? The Republican party of Kings County? The ones with multi-million dollar companies downtown. The business owners that are constantly donating to events downtown. The 1776 Sons of Liberty are just ex republicans that are mad Trump lost. I respect the libertarian party of Kings County more and that says a lot.

  4. Sarah Hacker is an unprincipled crank who is concealing who and what she really is in a desperate attempt to get elected. Here are some truths: 1) rank and file law enforcement organizations all overwhelmingly support Fagundes. 2) Hacker won’t reveal anything about her personal life 3) she violates the privacy of former county employees and or private persons by dragging their names into the political process 4) the majority of her donations are from out of county sources or criminal defense attorneys 5) she has -0- government management experience. 6) Fagundes is NOT being sued by anyone despite what Hacker and her band of harpies insinuate.

  5. 1) Keith Fagundes is a sexual predator who’s gotten the county sued multiple times. 2) The DA should be non partisan, personal feelings should be kept personal. 3) Keith terrorizes county employees and throws a fit when he doesn’t get his way or is challenged. 4) Hacker worked at the DA for 9 years before she left when Fagundes took over. She refused to work under under a predator. 5) Hacker has raised 6 times the amount of money Fagundes raised. Nobody likes to donate to losers.

    • Actually he hasn’t been sued directly. You are wrong. Morons speak in absolutes. The monetary donations amount doesn’t take into account the number of people that actually gave. Fagundes has more signs up because he has more supporters all over Kings County not just downtown and Dave’s vote lol

  6. The Fagundes signs around the county look like garbage. It’s a reflection of Fagundes’ nitwitted campaign. They are outdated, barely attached to posts, blowing off into the dirt, just gross. That’s essentially because that’s his characteristics. Hacker signs are neat, organized, professional, and look great. That’s because Ms Hacker has those characteristics. Fagundes’ signs make our county look bad just like he does with all the lawsuits and crazy conduct! Step down Fagundes for the sake of our county! Everyone vote for Ms Hacker and let’s move n from this nightmare of a DA.

    • They are old because he keeps winning and is highly qualified. They aren’t outdated. Sad Hackers supporters have nothing to build her up on because she is an unqualified civil attorney lol. They have to go negative. Imagine writing out a whole bashing paragraph about signs lol. I seen many of Sarah’s effected by strong winds recently

      • Chad, why do you ride so hard for Fagundes???

        Is it because after your arrest at the Kings County Offices you hope you can get in on some of that alleged favoritism???

        • Arrest means nothing. Innocent until proven guilty. It’s clear Sarah endorsers only know how to go negative. What qualities does Sarah bring. You actually bring up signs as an argument for a District Attorney race lol. Guess who is the coward who won’t use their real name? Yet, you want to try and make me out like a criminal. Tell me how many murder trials Hacker has tried? How is Hacker qualified being a civil attorney for so long? If you want to know why I back Fagundes because I vote on substance and experience. Fagundes has reached to the community and has answered my calls. He even gave me a tour of the facility and I got to meet the service dog Echo. The details they have addressed for child victims is amazing. After watching the debate it shown me Hacker has no passion and was pressured into running for a position she really doesn’t want. I consider myself a liberal and I’m still voting for Fagundes. The District Attorney position is a non partisan position. I care more about experience than political affiliation. It’s all about experience and Hacker doesn’t have it. Please tell me what qualities and experience Hacker has that you will vote for her.

          • Qualities hacker posses that Fagundes does not? Integrity. Professionalism. Morales. Respect of office. To name a few. Now for Fagundes… Texting sexual inappropriate issues to a male investigator, losing support of the Sheriff and many others, misusing county property, conflicts of interest on cases, etc. These are the “characteristics” you desire in a DA? It’s your vote to waste not ours. We are done being fooled by creepy Fagundes. Vote HACKER to bring back respect to the DAs office!!!!!!

  7. Steven Justice well that is your opinion but Fagundes is clearly professional. Okay let’s focus on integrity which focuses on honestly. I don’t see Hacker as honest. Lying by omission is a lie to me. She is lying about why she is running. She was pressured by Dave Robinson to run because Dave wants to push his liberal agenda on Kings County Voters. You clearly don’t know what morals are. Everyone has them but it’s the stance you take that matters. Hacker thinks mother’s who murder their children should get a free pass. Not the great morals in my opinion. The Kings County Sheriff Dave Robinson is a corrupt liberal who gets involved in way too many political discussions that don’t involve his position and has lied about Cannabis to stop tax paying dispensaries from entering Hanford because he is an uneducated idiot. You forgot to say ALLEGEDLY! I hope you get sued for liable after the lawsuit is over. Keep catering to Dave Robinson who lies and pressured Hacker to running just to spite Fagundes. Hacker isn’t professional. She is really negative and Dias Law Firm is anything but professional. Their attorneys cuss at potential clients inside their business. Will Hacker have the honesty to say who pressured her to running? Will Hacker state how many murder trails she tried and be honest about her lack of experience?

  8. Chad you already made up your mind and ignore the issues that have people concerned. Riddle me this…As Sheriff Robinson said Community members are supposed to take a chance in the midst of the huge pending sexual harassment lawsuit pending against the county and Fagundes as the basis? We have all read the allegations and conduct. Wow! Sounds pretty risky to vote for Fagundes and ignore the accusations right? What if they are all true? What if only half are true? Do you know Robinson and Daryl Smith? Why do they BOTH now back hacker? They know the community and what’s best and wouldn’t lead us down the wrong path. They want to assure morals, ethics, and integrity prevail. Ask around how many murder jury trials Fagundes has personally done. Do you know the number? Source? I haven’t heard Fagundes mention number of his murder jury trials. Hmmmmmmm

    • THERE IS NO LAWSUIT AGAINST FAGUNDES! YOU ARE WRONG AND SPREADING LIES! WAGGLE IS ONLY SUING THE DA OFFICE BECAUSE ANY LOGICAL PERSON KNOWS YOU GO AFTER THE BIGGEST POCKETS! WHY DID IT TAKE 3 YEARS FOR WAGGLE TO REPORT THE INCIDENT! WHY DIDN’T WAGGLE BLOCK FAGUNDES FROM TEXTING HIM WHICH IS A FEATURE ON CELLPHONES. BECAUSE WAGGLE IS LYING TRYING TO GET AN EASY PAY OUT! I KNOW DAVE! HE CONSTANTLY PUSHES HIS PERSONAL AGENDA WITHOUT CARING WHAT IS BEST FOR THE COMMUNITY. THATS WHY HE DID A HUGE PUSH TO STOP CANNABIS SHOPS IN HANFORD THAT ARE BRINGING IN THOUSANDS IN LOCAL TAXES. DAVE IS A LIBERAL TRYING TO PUSH A LIBERAL CANDIDATE BECAUSE HE DOESN’T LIKE HOW FAGUNDES IS A REPUBLICAN. IM A LIBERAL AND I KNOW THE POSITION IS NON PARTISAN. I VOTE BY EXPERIENCE. HACKER HAS VERY LITTLE. EXPERIENCE TRYING A MURDER TRIAL MATTERS. I WOULD LOVE FOR HACKER TO CALL DAVE A CAREER POLITICIAN WHEN A RUNS FOR A SECOND TERM. HACKER CAN’T EVEN BUILD HERSELF UP. SHE NEEDS NEGATIVE CLICHES AGAINST FAGUNDES. DOESN’T MATTER THE 1776 SONS OF LIBERTY SEEN HER TRUE COLORS AND WON’T BE VOTING FOR THAT LIBERAL CANDIDATE. BEING SHERIFF WON’T GIVE DAVE ANY PULL, THE FOREVER TRUMPERS WILL SIDE WITH THE RIGHT. HACKER LOST THE CONSERVATIVE VOTE AFTER THE DEBATE LOL

    • What if? They are allegations! You are going to vote on a what if civil lawsuit lol. Sad Hacker voter

  9. Do you think Hacker’s criminal clients are happy with her calling for people like them to be more harshly prosecuted?

Use your voice

Your email address will not be published.