Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, March 10, 2008


Page 1


Two Candidates File Papers to Challenge District Attorney Cooley


By STEVEN M. ELLIS, Staff Writer


Two local attorneys have filed nomination papers to challenge Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley in this year’s election.

According to the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters, Deputy District Attorney Steven J. Ipsen filed papers to challenge Cooley last Wednesday, and Carson attorney Albert Robles filed nomination papers on Friday.

Cooley filed nomination papers on Feb. 12 to seek a third term in office.

Ipsen, who has been with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office for over 20 years and who has served as the president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for the past seven years, said that he had entered the race because the county “deserves a prosecutor who looks out for the interests of its citizens” instead of one who is “more interested in collecting money from defense attorneys and getting personal raises.”

Deputy District Attorney

A 1996 admittee to the state bar, he attended college at the University of Virginia and graduated from law school at UCLA. He has also served as an elected Governor and Vice President of the California State Bar, and as co-chair of the state bar’s Regulation, Admissions & Discipline Oversight Committee overseeing attorney disciple.

Ipsen said that he supported Cooley during Cooley’s previous campaigns for the office, but that Cooley had turned out to be a “complete disappointment to prosecutors and crime victims.”

He said that he had been planning his run for some time, but that he had not filed his paperwork until last Wednesday in order to concentrate on leading a certification effort to unionize attorneys in the office.

Ipsen said that he has raised $60,000 so far for his campaign, but predicted that his overall budget would not be as much as Cooley has raised, pointing to a birthday party Cooley held where Ipsen says Cooley invited “every defense attorney in Los Angeles County.”

Lack of Challenge

Robles, a 2002 admittee to the state bar who attended college at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and graduated from law school at Boalt Hall School of Law, said that he decided to take out nomination papers last Wednesday when he saw that no one was challenging Cooley.

Saying that it was his “civic duty to make sure that voters have a choice,” and noting that previous district attorneys have only served one or two terms, Robles said that he had decided to run because a third term for Cooley would be “too many.”

If re-elected, Cooley would become the second district attorney in the history of Los Angeles County to be elected to three consecutive four-year terms. The first was Buron Fitts, initially elected in 1928.

Robles, who practices in constitutional and environmental law, and also holds a master’s degree in public administration from USC, also criticized Cooley for having “failed miserably” to enforce state environmental laws, and accused Cooley of playing “favorites” in giving plea deals based upon defense counsel.

“Justice is supposed to be blind,” he said, “but [under Cooley’s administration] Lady Justice is cheating and looks to see who the perpetrator is and who the attorney is.”

He also accused Cooley of selective prosecution by the office’s Public Interest Division, contending that Cooley had disproportionately targeted Democratic Party and minority candidates and elected officials for prosecution.

Robles said that he had some criminal law experience, having represented clients allegedly deprived of their constitutional rights in both criminal and civil settings, and that his candidacy was about restoring public confidence in the office.

A spokesperson for Cooley’s campaign declined to comment on the challenges until an official candidate list is released by the county registrar.


Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company