Sunday, March 25, 2012 – 11:50 a.m.
Over a year ago San Bernardino County sued the San Bernardino County Public Attorneys Association over the union using Deputy District Attorneys to represent Deputy Public Defenders in low level grievance and disciplinary matters.
A practice former Public Defender Doreen Boxer didn’t care for.
You see the union represents Deputy District Attorneys, Deputy Public Defenders and Child Support Attorneys and uses its members to act as labor representatives.
Boxer believed the arrangement posed a conflict of interest.
So she enlisted the help of former County Counsel, and crack legal mind, Ruth Stringer to sue the union in order to stop the practice.
Well the initial suit didn’t go well.
A San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge immediately threw out the case and suggested the union seek the recovery of legal fees.
A second judge awarded the union attorneys fees of approximately $75,000.
The Board of Supervisors, acting on more crack legal advice from Stringer, opted for their standard we’ll show you approach, appealed the fee award to Division Two of the California Fourth District Court of Appeal.
A tentative opinion was issued on March 9 and, as usual, it didn’t go well for the county.
The county has now requested oral argument before the appellate justices in advance of the final ruling.
Now the county will likely pay the union trial court costs plus costs on appeal.
An amount likely exceeding $100,000.
Stringer, on the other hand, has departed county service after taking a years worth of vacation leave, and is enjoying her $308,000 a year pension.