Out on the campaign trail it often looks like Dana Point's Sandra Hutchens doesn't enjoy politics, but today the appointed sheriff has reason to smile after receiving the “enthusiastic and unconditional endorsement” of the Association of Orange County Deputy District Attorneys (AOCDDA).
A retired Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department official who was appointed to fill Mike Carona's term after his FBI and IRS arrest for corruption, Hutchens is facing challenges from Anaheim deputy police chief Craig Hunter and ex-sheriff's lieutenant Bill Hunt, now a PI, to hold the top cop slot in OC.
“Prior to your appointment as the sheriff of Orange County 22 months ago, the Orange County Sheriff's Department suffered from the corrupt conduct of the previous sheriff and two of his handpicked assistants,” wrote Ebrahim Baytieh, a senior deputy DA and chairman of the AOCDDA's Civic Action Committee, in a letter to Hutchens. “Their criminal conduct, compounded with the sheer incompetence of these men was an embarrassment . . . We trust that you will continue to work as hard as humanly possible to restore the good name of the sheriff's department, and to make sure that no effort is spared in protecting and serving our county.”
(You may recognize Baytieh's name. He's one of the elite members of the DA's homicide prosecution staff. In recent years, he's put away countless dangerous Vietnamese American hoodlums as well as members of Public Enemy Number One (PEN1) Death Squad, the Southern California white supremacist gangsters associated with the notorious Aryan Brotherhood prison organization.)
Several weeks ago, the powerful union representing OC deputies voted overwhelmingly to back Hunt. In February, the conservative Family Action PAC endorsed Hunter.
I know. I know. It's a bit confusing: Hutchens, Hunter and Hunt.
I should also point out that District Attorney Tony Rackauckas has not endorsed a candidate in the race, though his top political advisor–Michael J. Schroeder–is backing Hunter.
to read my 2009 profile of Hutchens.
–R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly
R. Scott Moxley’s award-winning investigative journalism has touched nerves for two decades. An angry congressman threatened to break Moxley’s knee caps. A dirty sheriff promised his critical reporting was irrelevant and then landed in prison. The U.S. House of Representatives debated his work. Federal prosecutors credited his stories for the arrest of a doctor who sold fake medicine to dying patients. Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.