ORANGE, CA – Today, on the second anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, Pete Hardin committed to a series of actions aimed at increasing police accountability. 

“Having spent my life protecting our communities on the battlefield and in the courtroom, my support for officers who engage in constitutional policing and prosecutors that ensure the fair administration of justice is second to none,” said former Marine Corps Judge Advocate Pete Hardin. “Protecting the integrity of our justice system and the officers and prosecutors that serve with distinction requires an independent District Attorney that will hold those few who violate the public’s trust accountable. The current District Attorney is bought and paid for by law enforcement and other special interests. I have not, and will not accept a single cent from law enforcement associations, and if elected I will take immediate action to increase police accountability and hold anyone who breaks the law accountable.” 

Pete Hardin has committed to take the following actions as Orange County District Attorney to enhance law enforcement accountability:

  1. Work with the Board of Supervisors to expand the Office of Independent Review’s charter to include:

    1. Criminal investigations into law enforcement misconduct, making them the lead investigative agency in use-of-force and in-custody deaths. 

    2. Retention and oversight of an independent prosecutor–authorized and supported by OCDA–that would review OIR investigations and prosecute cases against law enforcement.

    3. A Standing Review Board to recommend standards and regulations following problematic criminal justice-related outcomes to achieve enhanced public safety, culture change, and avoid placing blame on individual officers or employees.

    4. Review past problematic cases of law enforcement use of force for potential prosecution that were declined by prosecutors with conflicts-of-interest.

  2. Extend victims services to families of individuals killed by police.

  3. Make OCDA investigative reports publicly available in past cases that were not filed and provide all declined cases against law enforcement to the OIR, California Attorney General, and U.S. DOJ for their review. 

  4. Advocate for every police agency in Orange County to publish regular, public reports on uses of force (including shootings, use of less-lethals, and use of canines).

  5. Advocate for countywide department standards for use of force, dash cams, and body-worn cameras to advance public trust.

  6. Refuse all financial contributions from law enforcement associations to avoid any perceived or actual conflicts of interest and abide by the State Bar’s Rules of Professional Responsibility.

  7. Make SB 1421 eligible records easily accessible to the public.

  8. Establish strict standards about disreputable officers who are unfit to testify.

  9. Make OCDA office policies public.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ###

Current Orange County District Attorney Republican Todd Spitzer’s tenure has been defined by scandal. Most recently, Spitzer made racist remarks when discussing whether or not to seek the death penalty against a Black man. Four women in Spitzer’s office have filed claims asserting Spitzer promoted an employee and close friend despite having been made aware of the sexual harassment complaints against him. Spitzer later allowed the employee, who was the best man at his wedding, to retire with top flight benefits. Spitzer also attempted to drop sexual assault charges against high-profile defendants, leading a judge to remove him from the case. Survivors of the sexual assault survivors were “dragged through the mud” and “grossly mistreated” by Spitzer for two and a half years, leading two of them to abandon their case.

Spitzer has been involved in an evidence booking scandal, a jailhouse informant scandal, and has defamed a victim of OC’s deadliest mass shooting as retaliation for peaceful protest. Spitzer has also defended a DNA collection program known informally as “Spit and Acquit” that coerces defendants to give up their DNA to law enforcement, a practice the ACLU has called “unconstitutional.”

Pete Hardin is a former Judge Advocate in the U.S. Marine Corps, Deputy District Attorney, Special Assistant United States Attorney, and one of Southern California’s leading litigators running for Orange County District Attorney. Pete entered public service when, in 2005, he earned his commission as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. A combat veteran, Pete served in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012 as a member of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. Pete is a member of the Democratic Party.

Orange County’s rapidly changing electorate has led Democrats to now outnumber Republicans in Orange County holding a 4.1% voter registration advantage.