Despite Forensic Specialist Mary Hong’s Concerning Record, DA Spitzer Continued to Rely On Her Testimony

ORANGE, CA – Pete Hardin has requested an audit by the OC Office of Independent Review of OCDA’s practices. The request follows revelations that a DNA analyst improperly disregarded genetic markers that would have shown the DNA on a victim’s wrist did not belong to a defendant who’d been in-custody for over nine years.

“This is yet another homicide case that’s been upended by improper conduct that Todd Spitzer knew about for some time,” said former Marine Judge Advocate Pete Hardin. “Doing the right thing only after the Public Defender’s office exposes injustice isn’t doing the right thing–it’s perpetuating the win-at-all-costs mentality that Spitzer campaigned on ending four years ago. Todd Spitzer should have proactively reviewed every case touched by Mary Hong long ago, instead he relied on tainted testimony until he got caught.

“Before another homicide conviction is vacated or we send an innocent person to prison, the Office of Independent Review should audit OCDA’s policies and procedures for identifying and responding to improprieties that jeopardize the fair administration of justice.”


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.