2014 promises to be an interesting year if you practice criminal law law in Riverside County. DDA Michael Hestrin has announced his intent to run against incumbant Paul Zellerbach in 2014. Zellerbach, a former Riverside County Deputy District Attorney and judge, has been in office less than four years after unseating Rod Pacheco
Hestrin is unhappy with Zellerbach's leadership and thinks Zellerbach is more concerned with his own ego than running a productive office and looking after the residents of Riverside County
Hestrin is young and talented. He is very personable, intelligent and a very accomplished trial lawyer in his own right. Hestrin has tried some of Riverside County's most most prolific capital cases, before being suddenly moved out of "homicide, " to an assignment where he would be out of the public eye. Presumably, Zellerbach viewed Hestrin as a threat in 2014.
Hestrin has headed the Riverside County District Attorney's Association and has the support of that association oin his 2014 bid. He also has the support of law enforcement
Ultimately, hestrin would be a young, fresh face at the helm of the DA's office at a time when the attorneys within the office have expressed frustration with the current regime, and a desire for independence in how they prosecute their individual cases.
A system where DDA's maintain independence in the prosecution of their cases has worked very well in neighboring San Bernardino County for many years. Conviction rates are just as high and cases move far more quickly though the judical process when DDA's can make decisions about their cases in the field, rather than having to take every counter-offer to a supervisor for approval. Riverside DDA's, despite being intelligent, talented lawyers, are apparently not to be trusted to use those skills for the betterment of Riverside County without ridiculous oversight.
I am one attorney who would like to see Mike Hestrin head the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.