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Contra Costa Merit Board upholds discipline, but expresses sympathy for prosecutor who claimed political retaliation – East Bay Times – Oakland, California

Oakland, California 2021-02-22 17:53:29 –

Martinez — Contra Costa County Achievement Commission is disciplined for refusing to trade in juvenile murder in 2019 and then maintains disciplinary action against long-standing gang prosecutors who have accused their bosses of political retaliation. Was voted at the end of last year.

The board’s November decision follows the recommendation of administrative law judge Karen Reichmann, who agreed that district attorney Diana Becton would formally rebuke district attorney Deputy Attorney Chad Mahalich. “It is necessary to prevent further illegal activity and provide context,” he said. The appellant should continue to engage in disobedience for future disciplinary action. “

While supporting the decision with a unanimous 5-0 vote of judges, members of the Merit Commission expressed sympathy for Mahalich, and some of them may have received political retaliation at the meeting. I said there is. This newspaper.

“(Maharrich) took a position, and sometimes when you take that position, there are consequences,” said board member Dennis Riggle. He later added, “This process doesn’t smell very good to me, but at the same time … the wording of the rebuke and the reason for the rebuke worked.”

The rebuke letter was a gentle form of discipline that did not have any demotion or more serious consequences.But that appeal of Mahalich, heard at several live-streamed hearings, exposed cracks and conflicts. In DA office: A few Prosecutors publicly accused each other of lying, Mahalich interrogated Becton and accused her of wiping out the families of the murder victims, and Mahalich accused his direct boss of arranging a workshop on implicit bias. NBA player discussions on white privileges..

Inside her 16-page decisionReichmann found that Mahalich’s allegations of political retaliation were “not supported by evidence” and that there was “no illegal motive” behind Becton’s decision to issue a letter of rebuke.

“The appellant claims to have been treated differently from other employees because of his political views,” she wrote in a decision in October 2020. “There was no evidence that other employees who committed similar disobedience were treated differently than the appellant.”

The controversy is focused on the murder caused by the murder of Ally Switzer, who lived in Discovery Bay in May 2017, by a then 15-year-old boy. When the new law SB1391 came into force and prohibited persons under the age of 16 from being tried as adults, the Switzer murderer was sentenced to the following sentence: 7 years in juvenile detention — And Mahalich refused to facilitate sentencing trials.

As a result, Becton rebuked Mahalich for failing to comply with her order not to challenge the constitutionality of SB 1391 (a Southern California Court of Appeals later found it to be constitutional). Mahalich argued that Becton’s rebuke was an excuse for discipline and that his actions did not fly in the face of her orders.

At a meeting in November, Mahalich repeated these discussions and said that “if anything, things could get worse” since appealing. Becton “forces” staff to participate in racial awareness training, “it’s virtually impossible to do our job like California in 2020” without being “distressed by managers.” Said.

“We are forced to train non-lawyers and lawyers in racial harassment and racial awareness. These trainings are basically biased in our work and what we do. Shows that they are racially inadequate and are trying to undermine all of our responsibilities, “says Mahalich. ..

Contra Costa lawyer Cindy Sherwin argued that “training based on racial prejudice and harassment is entirely within the DA’s office’s right to educate the workforce.” Becton office in 2019 Partnership with Bella Institute For data-driven testing and training programs centered on implicit bias education and attacks on racial disparities in the judicial system.

Sherwin pointed out that the administrative law judge rejected Mahalich’s allegations of political retaliation and that the letter of disobedience was the lowest form of discipline that Mahalich could have received.

“[Maharrich]clearly disagrees with what the order was, and thinks the order wasn’t,” Sherwin said. “He characterizes it as not violating the district attorney’s instructions, but that’s not true … he might have told the district attorney even the night before,” I’m reluctant to accept this plea. ” not. “

At a hearing, Mr. Mahalich said he would like to postpone the decision until the constitutionality of SB1391 was decided. But his claim is that Becton simply ordered him not to directly challenge its constitutionality to the High Court, which he did not.

“Looking at the heart of the matter, Mr. Becton couldn’t show that I actually violated any order … it wasn’t disobedience, it was the culmination of political retaliation,” Mahalich said. It was. He later added, “I hope no one else needs to experience what I had to experience.”

Contra Costa Merit Board upholds discipline, but expresses sympathy for prosecutor who claimed political retaliation – East Bay Times Source link Contra Costa Merit Board upholds discipline, but expresses sympathy for prosecutor who claimed political retaliation – East Bay Times

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