Friday, September 19, 2008
Veteran Deputy District Attorney Ken Lamb Succumbs to Cancer at 55
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Ken Lamb, a veteran prosecutor who tried more than 600 felony jury trials in his 25-year tenure with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, has passed away at 55.
Lamb was diagnosed with cancer last year and underwent chemotherapy, but the cancer returned and spread throughout his body, the District Attorney’s Office said in a release. He died at his Long Beach home on Tuesday night.
Deputy District Attorney Scott Carbaugh, a friend and colleague of Lamb, said that Lamb’s wife Debra Lamb—a deputy district attorney currently assigned to the Torrance branch office—has requested that contributions be made to any charity that supports cancer research in Lamb’s memory. There will not be a funeral service.
Carbaugh said a celebration was held last week as it became apparent that “it was the time to celebrate [Lamb’s] accomplishments” as the end was drawing near.
The Sept. 10 event took place at Legends in Belmont Shore and brought together nearly 200 prosecutors, judges, police officers and attorneys.
At the gathering, District Attorney Steve Cooley announced the creation of a special award, called the Ken Lamb Achievement Award, of which Lamb would be the first recipient. Cooley said the award would be presented annually as a tribute to Lamb, and “recognizes leadership and mentoring in the context of being a trial lawyer.”
The award will be presented to Lamb’s widow in Nov. 5 during the office’s annual awards banquet, scheduled to take place at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello, Cooley said.
Cooley said he started calling Lamb “the Babe Ruth of our office” after Lamb passed the 600-trial benchmark a few years ago.
His office reported that Lamb had completed his 622nd felony jury trial this summer, and that over the course of his career, Lamb tried 109 homicides and 155 sexual assault and child abuse cases.
Carbaugh said Lamb often did trials “back to back” over a series of several months because “he thought a prosecutor’s job was to try cases.”
Even after Lamb learned his cancer had returned andtold his colleagues about two months ago, Carbaugh said that when people asked Lamb what he intended to do, Lamb would reply, “‘I’ve got cases I need to try.’”
The disease “came on quickly,” Carhaugh recalled. “He was in tremendous pain and was not able to walk real far towards the end,” but Carbaugh said Lamb continued to work until about three weeks ago.
“He cared very much about the community for which he served, he worked very hard for that community,” Carbaugh said.
Among Lamb’s notable convictions was that of “Terminator” murderer Randall Mount, who was convicted of killing three people whom he claimed were cyborgs; and Joseph Brian Socha—known as the “St. Peter” serial rapist—who claimed he was an angel of God and was convicted of sexually assaulting five women in 1990.
Lamb also mounted a successful prosecution against the “sleepwalker defense” of Stephen Reitz, who maintained he attacked and brutally murdered his married lover while acting out a dream.
He was named the November 1999 Deputy District Attorney of the Month, and received the 2002 Outstanding Prosecutor Award from Justice for Homicide Victims.
The British native graduated from California State University, Los Angeles and then spent over 10 years serving with the Los Angeles Police Department. He earned his law degree from Whittier Law School and joined the District Attorney’s Office’s in 1983.
Carbaugh remembered his friend as “a great person, a great prosecutor, a fantastic trial lawyer,” and a “big time Dodger fan” who “loved his wife dearly.”
Lamb is survived by his wife and two dogs.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company