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Prosecutor Shifts Political Campaign into High Gear in Riverside County DA Race

Deputy District Attorney Mike Hestrin, a resident of Temecula, declared his candidacy last spring and has since garnered endorsements from every local law enforcement organization in the county.

Mike Hestrin during a Oct. 24, 2013 meet and greet in Corona. Courtesy Photo/Brandy Carlos
Mike Hestrin during a Oct. 24, 2013 meet and greet in Corona. Courtesy Photo/Brandy Carlos

A veteran Riverside County prosecutor seeking to unseat his boss in the June election will announce Wednesday the official start of a countywide campaign blitz.

Deputy District Attorney Mike Hestrin, 43, is contesting D.A. Paul Zellerbach's bid for re-election, pointing to increases in violent crime, low morale among line prosecutors and the need for even-handed leadership as reasons to replace the county's top prosecutor.

Hestrin, a resident of Temecula, declared his candidacy last spring and has since garnered endorsements from every local law enforcement organization in the county. The 220-member Riverside County Deputy District Attorneys' Association endorsed him in what was just shy of a unanimous vote last May.

Hestrin, who began his prosecutorial career in 1998, has argued that Zellerbach is a soft-on-crime, ego-driven D.A. who promotes loyalists to key positions in the agency, putting the public's safety at risk.

Zellerbach, 61, of Riverside has countered that Hestrin engages in hyperbole to get his message across and conveniently ignores positives that the incumbent has brought to the office.

According to Zellerbach, the backlog of untried felony cases that he inherited from his predecessor -- which critics blamed for cramming court dockets and forcing the county to at one point suspend civil trials -- has been cleared, relations with the defense Bar have improved and the D.A.'s office is now operating in the black.

Hestrin will be joined Wednesday by Palm Springs Police Officers Association President Sgt. William Hutchinson, Riverside Police Officers Association President Sgt. Brian Smith and Riverside Sheriffs' Association President Investigator Robert Masson.


– Reported by City News Service.

Alek J Hidell February 05, 2014 at 05:55 PM
The LAST thing we need is this police shill as the DA. County police are already overpaid and we need to demand wage cuts and revised pensions, retroactively... If we HALF the existing salary we can hire TWICE as many police. ..we don't need them any tougher, just MORE. Accept wage cuts or strike and be replaced,. Your unions are traitors and hold us hostage. Why do you think we call you pigs?
Jeff Kleiner February 05, 2014 at 06:27 PM
You know Alek I have talked in your defense many times but being disrespectful to the police teaches no one anything. Second, you're wrong about pay and pensions. If you work and you sign a contract you expect that contract to be realized. Blame the Republican city and county officials who signed the deal, not police. They are underpaid in my opinion. Reducing their pay would not get quality policemen......it would cut the quality. You get what you pay for and any dealings I have had, especially recently, they do the best they can with what they have.
Steve Newman February 05, 2014 at 06:35 PM
Alek- you heathen-cut the pay of police and others will apply- who? The George Zimmermans of the world. Is that who you want responding to somebody breaking into your house? And Jeff- where is your evidence that republican city and county officials signed the contracts? City Managers and County administrators sign contracts- not elected personnel.
Sioux 2444 February 05, 2014 at 10:23 PM
If you were the victim of a crime, would you want the crime investigated by Fife and pled out by Z, I doubt it. Any victim who has dealt with Mike Hestrin will tell you he gave his all at trial. The support he has garnered is unheard of in this county.
Steve Newman February 05, 2014 at 10:43 PM
Alek- so Zimmerman was an excellent patrol man (not authorized by the way) because he killed an unarmed man. He was told not to engage- but he wanted his taste-and since then he hasn't led the most stellar life.. if that is what you want for your protection- get a gun and learn how to use it. If Zimmerman did not have that gun the kid would have kicked his ass. I had my taste of blood, both in the Army and the PD. After the first time, you get use to it. Maybe I'll come and guard your house.
Libi Uremovic February 06, 2014 at 06:10 AM
'...endorsements from every local law enforcement organization in the county. ...' endorsements from the line workers, but the top brass in the police forces are all backing zellerbach..... it's going to be an interesting election ...

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