O’Malley Strikes Back covers the battle for justice in Alameda County’s criminal justice system where the DA ignores patterns of misconduct
In the midst of a pandemic, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley “strikes back” against charges that her office has a “troubling and extensive pattern of misconduct.”
In a commendable act of bravery, the public defender’s office took a public stance against the years of misconduct they have witnessed in DA Nancy O’Malley’s office. Their motion to disqualify the entire office from a case states that O’Malley “ignores misconduct in the ranks and in fact covers up that misconduct and, frankly rewards it. . . . Over the past decade, there has been a well-documented pattern of misconduct by some attorneys in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office that has gone uncorrected and unpunished.”
This public condemnation is unprecedented and quite courageous because of the strong possibility that the DA would retaliate. And retaliate she did. Instead of addressing the issue head-on with transparency, DA O’Malley retaliated by instituting a blanket gag order on all her deputies. She prohibited her deputies from having any informal negotiations with the public defenders.
The people caught in the middle are the residents of Alameda County whose cases will now be delayed. Unfortunately, rewarding and promoting problematic deputies shows the people of Alameda County that O’Malley lacks the compassion and integrity needed to create a safer and more just system of justice.
Lawyer A in the Motion
Ironically, the deputy DA whose misconduct triggered the motion is one of O’Malley top deputies. He is referred to as “Lawyer A” in the motion. In May 2018, on the eve of the 2018 primary election, Lawyer A (DDA “Butch” Ford) widely circulated a text message. He called me “a threat to community safety” who “must be stopped.” In 2019, DDA Ford received the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA) Prosecutor of the Year Award. O’Malley was the President of the CDAA in 2019. She has since been implicated in the $3 million CDAA scandal of mismanaged funds.
The public defender’s motion alleges multiple cases involving alleged misconduct by DDA Ford. Then, there’s the case where DDA Ford asked for and received an 84-year to life sentence for a 15-year-old boy convicted of murder. In 2016, the sentence was overturned as excessive and unconstitutional. That case always bothers me a lot, especially for the hurt that all the families in that case suffered.
A Call to Action
In a related recent development, a 2-year study funded by the ACLU and the Urban Peace Movement found that policies and practices of the District Attorney’s Office, under the leadership of DA O’Malley, led to overcriminalization, needlessly cost the County money and promoted mass incarceration, and had a devastating impact on Black and Brown communities. We should not be surprised if DA O’Malley strikes back against this devastating report.
Both the public defenders’ motion and the ACLU report are a call-to-action to all who believe in freedom, justice and equality. Now is the time for a change. Now is the time to join the fight to restore public trust in our justice system.