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Deep state GOP justice?

D.A. hopeful's husband, a federal judge, axed personal belief exemption

Summer Stephan. Departing D.A. Bonnie Dumanis has revealed that she would endorse the election of her chief deputy Stephan.
Summer Stephan. Departing D.A. Bonnie Dumanis has revealed that she would endorse the election of her chief deputy Stephan.

Some are calling it the deep state of San Diego Republican justice.

A plan by incumbent District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to step aside in favor of her chief deputy Summer Stephan is accompanied by what critics say is a disconcerting back story: Stephan's husband is U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw, a biotech industry favorite who last year refused to even temporarily block a California law requiring mandatory vaccination of school children.

Dana Sabraw, Stephan's husband, was an early mentor of Democrat Scott Peters.

"It is clear that the Constitution does not require the provision of a religious exemption to vaccination requirements, much less a personal belief exemption," said Sabraw's August 25 ruling, causing a group of parents challenging the state's right to eliminate the exemption to drop their complaint a week later.

After maintaining last October that she hadn't decided whether to run for reelection in 2018, Dumanis in December revealed that she would step down and endorse the election of her chief deputy Stephan to the politically powerful post that has a role in everything from policing street crimes to the region's crooked politicos.

Then, in late January, the board of the San Diego Deputy District Attorneys Association voted to endorse Stephan, a neophyte to local politics. She declared her candidacy the next day, amid word that Dumanis might retire early to give her designated successor a head start and incumbency to use against would-be challengers.

To political insiders, the rapidly unfolding scenario resembles what happened in April 2009, when Republican Sheriff Bill Kolender, having been reelected three years before, abruptly resigned to clear the way for the county board of supervisors to appoint controversial ex-FBI man Bill Gore, leader of 1992's Ruby Ridge massacre, as Kolender's replacement.

Gore's appointed incumbency was widely viewed as insuring victory in his 2010 electoral bid for the position, setting up a long reign for him as the county's chief law enforcement officer.

Kolender had been grooming Gore as his successor ever since the former FBI agent left the Bureau to become assistant San Diego sheriff in 2004. It subsequently came to light that Kolender may have been suffering from the beginning stages of Alzheimer's Disease as early as his final reelection campaign in 2006. He died in October 2015.

Dumanis and Gore are widely seen as having emerged from the San Diego party's big government wing, financed by moneyed downtown and La Jolla establishments, including biotech, venture capital, and development industries, whose interests have long enjoyed favorable treatment by both feds and locals.

Dumanis has cast a wide political net, endorsing a bevy of establishment GOP insiders, including recently termed-out San Diego city attorney Jan Goldsmith, now employed by the big money law and developer lobbying firm Procopio.

Thus, continued control of the District Attorney’s office is seen as a key goal for business insiders, with Stephan and Sabraw counted on to be team players.

Appointed to the federal bench here by president George W. Bush in May 2003, Sabraw, a San Diego State University alumnus with a 1985 law degree from the University of the Pacific, was an early mentor of Democrat Scott Peters, according to comments Peters, a favorite of La Jolla high-tech interests, made at a San Diego bar governmental relations event.

A specialist in biotech and related intellectual property law, the judge famously led a 2006 drive to streamline patent cases in federal court here to benefit business.

"Noting that patent cases are very expensive to litigate and are often crucial to the success, or even the existence, of San Diego’s numerous technology companies, Judge Sabraw saw this as an opportunity for the Court to better serve its community," according to an account in the Spring 2006 San Diego Federal Bar Association Newsletter.

"I always say justice delayed is justice denied," Sabraw told the the San Diego Daily Transcript. "These rules are wonderful."

Noted the story, "Since a long discovery process can become quite costly for companies, the expedited process can mean savings for the companies involved."

The ties between Sabraw, his wife, and the region's wealthy campaign donors may raise fresh questions regarding judicial conflicts of interest as Stephan hits the campaign fundraising circuit.

Less than five years ago, Sabraw ruled in favor of Gore in an August 15, 2012 summary judgement motion, dismissing the sheriff as a defendant in a due process case, according to court records.

Sabraw has heard at least one case brought by Qualcomm-founding billionaire Irwin Jacobs and his wife Joan, a complaint against executive jet maker Bombadier, which the judge dismissed on October 12, 2005 following a stipulated settlement agreement and mutual release, records show.

A Democrat who raised major money for Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jacobs has long been a Dumanis backer.

Sabraw, who met his wife in law school, according to a 2003 Union-Tribune profile, currently resides with her in tony Rancho Santa Fe.

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Summer Stephan. Departing D.A. Bonnie Dumanis has revealed that she would endorse the election of her chief deputy Stephan.
Summer Stephan. Departing D.A. Bonnie Dumanis has revealed that she would endorse the election of her chief deputy Stephan.

Some are calling it the deep state of San Diego Republican justice.

A plan by incumbent District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to step aside in favor of her chief deputy Summer Stephan is accompanied by what critics say is a disconcerting back story: Stephan's husband is U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw, a biotech industry favorite who last year refused to even temporarily block a California law requiring mandatory vaccination of school children.

Dana Sabraw, Stephan's husband, was an early mentor of Democrat Scott Peters.

"It is clear that the Constitution does not require the provision of a religious exemption to vaccination requirements, much less a personal belief exemption," said Sabraw's August 25 ruling, causing a group of parents challenging the state's right to eliminate the exemption to drop their complaint a week later.

After maintaining last October that she hadn't decided whether to run for reelection in 2018, Dumanis in December revealed that she would step down and endorse the election of her chief deputy Stephan to the politically powerful post that has a role in everything from policing street crimes to the region's crooked politicos.

Then, in late January, the board of the San Diego Deputy District Attorneys Association voted to endorse Stephan, a neophyte to local politics. She declared her candidacy the next day, amid word that Dumanis might retire early to give her designated successor a head start and incumbency to use against would-be challengers.

To political insiders, the rapidly unfolding scenario resembles what happened in April 2009, when Republican Sheriff Bill Kolender, having been reelected three years before, abruptly resigned to clear the way for the county board of supervisors to appoint controversial ex-FBI man Bill Gore, leader of 1992's Ruby Ridge massacre, as Kolender's replacement.

Gore's appointed incumbency was widely viewed as insuring victory in his 2010 electoral bid for the position, setting up a long reign for him as the county's chief law enforcement officer.

Kolender had been grooming Gore as his successor ever since the former FBI agent left the Bureau to become assistant San Diego sheriff in 2004. It subsequently came to light that Kolender may have been suffering from the beginning stages of Alzheimer's Disease as early as his final reelection campaign in 2006. He died in October 2015.

Dumanis and Gore are widely seen as having emerged from the San Diego party's big government wing, financed by moneyed downtown and La Jolla establishments, including biotech, venture capital, and development industries, whose interests have long enjoyed favorable treatment by both feds and locals.

Dumanis has cast a wide political net, endorsing a bevy of establishment GOP insiders, including recently termed-out San Diego city attorney Jan Goldsmith, now employed by the big money law and developer lobbying firm Procopio.

Thus, continued control of the District Attorney’s office is seen as a key goal for business insiders, with Stephan and Sabraw counted on to be team players.

Appointed to the federal bench here by president George W. Bush in May 2003, Sabraw, a San Diego State University alumnus with a 1985 law degree from the University of the Pacific, was an early mentor of Democrat Scott Peters, according to comments Peters, a favorite of La Jolla high-tech interests, made at a San Diego bar governmental relations event.

A specialist in biotech and related intellectual property law, the judge famously led a 2006 drive to streamline patent cases in federal court here to benefit business.

"Noting that patent cases are very expensive to litigate and are often crucial to the success, or even the existence, of San Diego’s numerous technology companies, Judge Sabraw saw this as an opportunity for the Court to better serve its community," according to an account in the Spring 2006 San Diego Federal Bar Association Newsletter.

"I always say justice delayed is justice denied," Sabraw told the the San Diego Daily Transcript. "These rules are wonderful."

Noted the story, "Since a long discovery process can become quite costly for companies, the expedited process can mean savings for the companies involved."

The ties between Sabraw, his wife, and the region's wealthy campaign donors may raise fresh questions regarding judicial conflicts of interest as Stephan hits the campaign fundraising circuit.

Less than five years ago, Sabraw ruled in favor of Gore in an August 15, 2012 summary judgement motion, dismissing the sheriff as a defendant in a due process case, according to court records.

Sabraw has heard at least one case brought by Qualcomm-founding billionaire Irwin Jacobs and his wife Joan, a complaint against executive jet maker Bombadier, which the judge dismissed on October 12, 2005 following a stipulated settlement agreement and mutual release, records show.

A Democrat who raised major money for Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jacobs has long been a Dumanis backer.

Sabraw, who met his wife in law school, according to a 2003 Union-Tribune profile, currently resides with her in tony Rancho Santa Fe.

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Comments
17

San Diego Dem leaders better not do for this office what they did the last mayoral election, and fail to support their own candidate as a favor for Jacobs money. If they do, they will have squandered an election that is theirs to lose and lose what little credibility they have left with their rank and file.

April 14, 2017

Are you saying it was a BAD thing that Judge Sabraw refused "to even temporarily block a California law requiring mandatory vaccination of school children?"

Why on earth would an intelligent person rule to block such a law -- based on hard-won legislation brought by a courageous physician, long overdue in the face of dangerous declining vaccination rates among anti-science know-nothings, and coming on the heels of a statewide measles epidemic?

As for Sabraw's ruling in favor of Qualcomm over Bombardier eleven years ago, we take comfort from the recent ruling (in a different court) that Qualcomm today owes Blackberry bigtime.

And finally, Sabraw is not a candidate for District Attorney: his reportedly well-qualified wife is.

April 14, 2017

It's all very simple; if Bahnee wants this woman to succeed her, make sure you don't vote for her. As DA, Dumanis has hit lows never achieved even by her immediate predecessor, Pfingst. If you don't care for a politician, regard his/her endorsement as a signal to oppose the candidate.

It's sad that the Jacobs family, as it grows richer by the year also becomes more political. If that gang is giving a pol money, it expects something in return. They own Faulconer now, and would love to own the board of supervisors and the SD city council. If they decide to get really involved, watch out, 'cause they'll have every politician in sight bought and paid for.

April 14, 2017

Follow the money and you will find who owns and operates the elected official. They will do things that benefit the public as long as it does not conflict with their owners wishes.

April 17, 2017

Jacobs already owns the city council. Why else would they vote to go ahead with the destructive and financially irresponsible Jacobs/Plaza de Panama plan for Balboa Park?

April 21, 2017

It is common practice to leave office before the end of the term to allow your hand picked successor to then run as an incumbent. If you like the DA's office as it is run now vote for her. If not then back a candidate to replace her.

April 17, 2017

A "common practice?" No, it isn't that common, although it is used in places that are practicing dynastic politics and it aids and abets those who want to keep tight control over elected officials. They pulled that off with the handoff from Kolender to Gore. And we know the danger it poses to voters who are magnificantly uninformed and indifferent. (That describes the San Diego city and county voters all too often.)

In this case, due to these machinations, there may be no opponent, or at least no credible opponent with an ability to run a campaign.

Let's all not forget that when Ed Miller had to go, many of us (including myself) voted not for Pfingst, but for "not Miller." We got what we had coming. Then eight years later Pfingst had to go, and once again "we" voted for "not Pfingst" and ended up with Dumanis. That's a classic downward spiral, and if they pull this one off, will result in even worse, I predict.

April 17, 2017

I predict that you are correct.

April 18, 2017

I thought Paul Pfingst was an excellent District Attorney.

April 17, 2017

I figured this would happen months ago. It's just the way things happen with county law enforcement. Teflon Bonnie will step aside before the next election, giving Stephan the boost to run for DA as the incumbent. Teflon Bonnie slides off into the sunset.

April 18, 2017

"Teflon Bonnie" is a great label for her. But it isn't clear that she's finished with politics. There are even some rumblings that she might go for mayor of SD if/when Kev-boy moves on. Don't forget that she tried for it already, and at first looked like a strong contender. Will the corruption of that election, her getting all those Mexican connection campaign contributions, etc. be forgotten? They could be, especially if the local lamestream media don't do their job.

April 19, 2017

Personally, I don't think she would run for mayor again. Then again, it wouldn't totally surprise me.

April 19, 2017

I predict right now that Bonnie will run for Ron Roberts' termed-out Fourth District seat on the Supes.

April 19, 2017

Gag!

April 19, 2017

Bonnie Dumanis is going to resign July 7th. She is considering a running for a County Supervisor seat.

April 20, 2017

Since Teflon Bonnie has announced she is resigning, she must have received assurances that Summer Stephan would be named interim DA, so Stephan can essentially run as the incumbent.

Teflon Bonnie running for county supervisor? I guess she rather have the higher paying gig. Actually, I think she has a better chance of being elected to the board than if she decided to run for mayor of SD again. But whatever she runs for, I really hope she loses.

April 20, 2017

If Dirty Dumanis chooses to run for BORED of SUPERVISORS, she will have her "Mexican businessman" pal's ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS rubbed in her face at every campaign stop. Time to retire and enjoy that million dollar condo and ill-gained loot.

April 21, 2017

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