It’s time for a change. There is a critical need to restore professionalism, integrity and public safety to the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office. As the chief assistant district attorney in Amador County, Vern Pierson has impeccable credentials in recruiting, management, supervision and training for criminal division staff. He has prosecuted hundreds of cases ranging from misdemeanor violations to prosecutions of violent and sophisticated career criminals.
As a criminal justice advocate, Vern helped change the laws to make it easier to convict and permanently lock up sexual predators. As a former deputy attorney general experienced in investigating and prosecuting public corruption and major felonies, Vern believes in a system where victims see their assailants held accountable.
He is running for El Dorado County District Attorney because as a tax payer and concerned resident, the current DA has under-utilized existing state and federal funds available to manage the district attorney’s office and has chased away qualified prosecutors who have taken other district attorney positions.
As an experienced member of the California District Attorney’s Association’s Legislative Committee, he believes bad laws can and should be changed. When Vern learned a long-time Lodi teacher molested a boy and then tried to get his teaching credentials reinstated, Vern worked with then-state Sen. Tim Leslie to introduce Senate Bill 2005 that successfully banned convicted sex offenders from holding teaching credentials.
As a former deputy attorney general experienced in investigating and prosecuting public corruption and major felonies, Vern believes an elected official is someone you can turn to in time of crisis and not someone you should fear.
There is a big difference between talking about investigating and prosecuting public corruption and actually doing it. Vern has prosecuted numerous public officials, including police, sheriffs and correctional officers, and believes no one is above the law.
As a chief assistant district attorney experienced in effectively supervising and managing personnel as well as budgets in the millions of dollars and more than doubling the Amador DA’s revenue, Vern believes in keeping local dollars local, and in utilizing all state and federal funds available to the counties to maximize all resources in order to fight an ever-increasingly sophisticated criminal.
As a graduate of the Army’s Airborne, Air Assault and N.C.O. Academy as Honor Graduate and Leadership Award recipient, Vern believes that honor, integrity and respect are things you earn, not demand – a lesson all elected officials should own.
Most importantly, Vern believes we all have a right to public safety by:
— Preventing the preventable;
— Anticipating the inevitable;
— Prosecuting the undeniable.
He is honored to have the support of the South Lake Tahoe Police Officers Association, El Dorado Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Sgt. Doug Pullen, Sgt. Don Atkinson, Placerville Police Officers Association, El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors, Assemblyman Tim Leslie, The California District Attorney Investigators’ Association, David J. Kreps, Chief Investigator (retired), El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office, California Financial Crime Investigators Association, California Association of Special Agents (DOJ), Peace Officer Research Association of California (PORAC), Sacramento Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Folsom Police Officer’s Association, Amador County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Amador County Sheriff’s Mid-Management Association and Sen. Dave Cox.
|By GERRY WAGSCHAL||Aug 2, 2011, 12:29 PM|
Vern Pierson, the California DA who put away Phillip Garrido for abducting and raping Jaycee Dugard, released two videos today that show in chilling detail how Garrido and his wife went about luring young girls into their twisted orbit. The videos, he says, demonstrate why the laws need to be changed to keep violent felons from getting out of jail too soon.
One video is of Nancy Garrido, Phillip Garrido’s wife, coaxing a young girl to do gymnastics in the couple’s van. Nancy is filming the girl, and the purpose of the video is to show it to Phillip Garrido for his gratification.
“That’s it. Can you go all the way down?” Nancy Garrido is heard telling a little girl lured into the van where a camera was set up to record her.
When the girl says she can go down farther, Nancy Garrido coaxes, “Let me see, I bet you can go down really easy.”
With the girl eager to show off, Nancy Garrido gets her to do more.
“You didn’t show me your split, did you? Let me see it now,” she says in a sweet voice.
At one point the girl notices the camera recording her and asks about the light on the camera. “Oh, I don’t know anything about that camera. You know what I got?” Nancy Garrido chirps, quickly changing the subject.
The second video is of Nancy Garrido being interrogated by an investigator from the El Dorado County Sherriff’s Department about how many times she has done this. The shocking answer: between 10 and 20 times.
Pierson, who is District Attorney for El Dorado County, said he is upset that Phillip Garrido got out of jail after serving only 11 years of a 50-year sentence for a previous kidnapping and rape. That left him free to kidnap Dugard.
But Pierson said a big issue in the Garrido case was an “overreliance upon psychiatric professionals who were all too willing to listen to what Phillip Garrido was telling them and ignore the documented evidence that overwhelmingly established that he is a sexual predator.”
Something very bad has happened to the law in the state of California regarding parole, Pierson said.
“Since 2008, when the State Parole Board is deciding whether to release an offender, they don’t look at the initial crime the offender committed. Instead they look at how he or she has been coping in jail and the predictions provided by psychologists and psychiatrists about the offender’s danger to the community.”
Pierson wants the parole board to look at the seriousness of the initial offense when trying to determine whether to release someone on parole.
He released a report today with findings concerning the facts and circumstances of the Jaycee Dugard case. Garrido was convicted of kidnapping and raping Dugard, holding her for 18 years. Despite his record of violent crimes Garrido is still considered by the state to be a “moderate to low risk for reoffending.”
Pierson is working with State Sen. Ted Gaines, a Republican, to change the existing law. They are working on a new bill to introduce to the legislature next week which would permit parole boards to look at the seriousness of the committing offense in parole decisions.
Pierson and Gaines said they also want to strengthen California’s public safety protection in light of the circumstances surrounding Jaycee Lee Dugard’s kidnapping and captivity.
This afternoon the Calfornia Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation responded to Pierson’s report with a statement:
“CDCR is determined to learn from the past and improve,” it said. “In response to several analyzes and reports over the last several years, we have repeatedly acknowledged that there was a need to improve supervision standards in the wake of the Garrido case. In response to recommendations made by the California Office of the Inspector General, the department has made significant improvements.”
Jaycee Dugard Case: District Attorney Calls for Reforms
“Jaycee’s kidnapping and her 18 years spent in captivity were beyond reprehensible,” said Sen. Gaines. “That’s why I’m working with the El Dorado County District Attorney to examine what went wrong in the Dugard case, identify reforms to the system and introduce legislation to better protect our citizens from becoming the next victim.”
Sen. Gaines and Pierson are planning an August 3 public meeting at the State Capitol along with law enforcement leaders and victims’ rights organizations to explore deficiencies in state law and identify potential legislative solutions to prevent these kinds of tragedies from ever occurring again.
The public hearing will include an analysis of the many shortcomings in federal and state parole supervision, as well as the initial investigation. The hearing will in part be informed by California Inspector General David R. Shaw’s 2009 report on the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) supervision of registered sex-offender and lifetime parolee, Phillip Garrido. The report uncovered a number of mistakes that let Dugard’s kidnapper remain free and keep her in captivity.
SOMERSET (CBS13) – There is more potential trouble tonight for an El Dorado County supervisor who’s already facing several felony charges. Fire investigators are now looking into how the fire started last week on Ray Nutting’s property and burned out of control.
By Cathy Locke
A civil suit has been filed in El Dorado County against members of a political consulting firm, alleging that they engaged in illegal taxpayer-financed activities to support passage of a special tax measure.
The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office, at the direction of the county grand jury, seeks to recover $10,000 in taxpayer funds from Dan Dellinger and Christopher Alarcon of Dan Dellinger Consulting. The Lotus-based firm was hired by the Pioneer Fire Protection District to provide consulting services related to a special tax measure on the November 2011 ballot.
Measure F passed with nearly 77 percent voter approval.
According to the July 26 complaint filed in El Dorado Superior Court, an initial $29,900 contract between the fire district and Dan Dellinger Consulting included mostly taxpayer-financed campaign activities expressly advocating passage of the tax measure.
Public agencies may use taxpayer funds to provide information on topics related to district finances, revenue sources and intended uses of the proposed taxes, but government code prohibits use of taxpayer money to advocate for a tax measure.
Dellinger said his firm acted properly, providing to the district only informational materials and handling the paperwork necessary to place the measure on the ballot. Voter outreach activities that the firm conducted were covered by private donations to a campaign committee, Save Pioneer Fire, he said.
Dellinger maintains that the complaint is politically motivated. County Auditor-Controller Joe Harn requested the grand jury investigation. Dellinger said Harn and District Attorney Vern Pierson are trying to put him out of business because he has conducted successful campaigns for several political candidates that they did not support.
“This is Chicago-style politics at its worst,” Dellinger said. “The public will see through this.”
Harn and Pierson denied any political motives.
Pierson responded in a written statement: “Mr. Dellinger can take whatever position he wants, but the facts are that taxpayers were forced to pay for a campaign to raise taxes on themselves. State law does not allow that. Our office, as well as the El Dorado County Grand Jury and El Dorado County auditor all came to the same sim
ple conclusion – that Dan Dellinger and Christopher Alarcon violated the law.” For his part, Harn said, “Routinely, I do not look at disbursements for small special districts. A member of my staff brought this to me and said, ‘This seems way out of line.’ “
Harn said his office raised concerns about certain payments to Dan Dellinger Consulting based on a June 2011 consulting contract with the fire district that appeared to contain services for illegal campaign activities and what appeared to be a promise of a $12,000 bonus for the firm if the measure passed.
He said the district revised the contract to eliminate the “bonus” language, and the auditor-controller’s office paid $10,000 in invoices to the Dellinger firm.
Harn said he has refused to pay a remaining fee of $12,000 to the consultants for preparing documents necessary to enable the county to collect the special tax on behalf of the district, calling the amount “outrageous.” He said other consultants have charged larger districts less than $400 for the service.
The grand jury report focuses on the activities of the consulting firm rather than the actions of the fire district board that authorized the contract. Deputy District Attorney James Clinchard said the grand jury’s order was to recover the money that allegedly was illegally spent by the board.
Ripley Howe, secretary of the fire district board, said he believes the $10,000 was spent on legal informational activities but added that there is a gray area.
“We were completely upfront about all of this,” he said. “We weren’t trying to hide the fact that we were a public board in favor of a parcel tax measure.” However, Howe said, “I was uncomfortable with how involved the consultants were with the campaign committee.”
At one point, Howe said, he asked the consultants not to come to the campaign committee meetings, but they came anyway.
The grand jury recommended that the additional $12,000 not be paid to the consultants pending an audit of allowable vs. illegal payments.
Howe said the board will not renew its request to the auditor-controller to make that payment. The board decided not to have the consultant perform those services – which involved identifying developed and undeveloped parcels to determine their tax liabilities – after the controversy arose over use of taxpayer funds. Howe said he subsequently learned that the state limits the amount that can be charged per parcel for those services. For the Pioneer District the total is in the range of $800 to $900, he said, not $12,000.
“We’re not fighting to pay that bill,” Howe said.