12:13 PM PST on Monday, January 3, 2011

The Press-Enterprise

Paul Zellerbach was sworn in today as Riverside County District Attorney, taking the office from Rod Pacheco, whom he defeated in the June election after one term.

Zellerbach, 57, of Riverside was sworn in by 4th District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Tom Hollenhorst in the ceremonial Court Room 1 at the Historic Courthouse in downtown Riverside.

He said he planned to walk over to the district attorney’s office on Orange Street and begin work. In an interview before the swearing-in, he said he would start his office with a folding chair and a card table, if he needed to.

Zellerbach said he plans to reorganize the office from its supervision of courtroom practices to its investigation branch.

Zellebach and Pacheco have remained at odds in the six months since the election, with Zellerbach claiming Pacheco purposely was ignoring steps to protect the office’s budget and bring it to an estimated $5 million deficit. Pacheco insists the office will have a $2.1 million surplus.

Zellerbach says layoffs are inevitable and said he will issue 12 pink slips today, in part to maintain a campaign promise and also to begin to deal with the fiscal problems.

Zellerbach was sworn in inside an overflow courtroom filled with current and former county prosecutors, defense attorneys and former Riverside County DA Grover Trask. He was given a standing ovation when the oath was completed.

The ceremony stood in stark contrast to that of his predecessor’s. Pacheco’s swearing in took place in front the historic courthouse with a massive American flag draped in front. California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George issued the oath.

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