Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, October 1, 2002


Page 3


Outgoing Ventura County District Attorney Moves to Weston Benshoof


By LORELEI LAIRD,  Staff Writer


Los Angeles-based Weston, Benshoof, Rochefort, Rubalcava & MacCuish announced yesterday its hire of outgoing Ventura District Attorney Michael Bradbury, amid allegations that he demoted three deputy district attorneys for political purposes.

Bradbury, who is stepping down this year after six consecutive terms as the county’s top prosecutor, will join the firm’s Westlake Village office as a partner Nov. 1. He will help Weston Benshoof expand its clientele in Ventura County, as well as practice law related to the agricultural community and public officials and serve the firm’s existing clients.

Partner Christian Roux of Weston Benshoof said Bradbury was hired in part because he was in a good position to help the firm expand in Ventura County.

“He is one of the community leaders in Ventura County. He’s very well-respected and a tremendous individual,” Roux said. “Having Mike Bradbury there will make our goal of growing the number of lawyers we have a lot easier, frankly.”

The veteran prosecutor said several law firms showed interest in hiring him, but he was impressed with Weston Benshoof’s ethical standards.

“What attracted me to Weston Benshoof is their commitment to excellence and the high ethical standards of their lawyers,” he said. “It’s wonderful to find it in a private firm.”

Bradbury’s move follows 34 years of public service, 24 of those as the elected district attorney. He said he looks forward to getting more experience in the private sector, in which he worked for only a short time before joining the county district attorney’s office.

Roux said Bradbury’s involvement in a dispute with two deputy district attorneys who allege they were wrongfully demoted from his office did not affect his move to Weston Benshoof.

In that dispute, the lawyers claim that because they supported the opponent of the man Bradbury chose as his successor, they were moved to the child support enforcement division three weeks after that candidate won the election. A third prosecutor also claims she was demoted when she was transferred two years earlier. Since the election, the child support enforcement office has become a separate county agency. Bradbury and the county contend that because the attorneys’ salaries didn’t change, the transfers were not demotions.

“This is basically a result of the office being divided into two separate entities,” Bradbury said. “They’re testing whether they have a legal right to return to the district attorney’s office....We’ll get some clarification of the law.”

Ventura County Counsel’s Office litigation supervisor Leroy Smith said the Ventura County Civil Service Commission will hold a jurisdictional hearing on the transfers Oct. 24 in order to determine whether it has jurisdiction in the matter, which Bradbury and the county contest. Smith said county counsel is considering filing a writ to block the hearing.

Weston Benshoof, based in downtown Los Angeles, practices law throughout the western United States. Its practice areas include business litigation, construction, corporate and business transactions, energy, environmental, franchise, intellectual property, labor and employment, land development, real estate, toxic torts and water resources.


Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company