Friday, February 11, 2005

San Diego City Attorney

Now that Mike Aguirre has finally managed to get himself elected to a public office, it seems that he is more interested in using his current position as a spring board for a higher office than he is in being the City Attorney. His recent actions make me question the credibility of his investigation and I have to wonder if he is objective enough to conduct a proper investigation.

According to the City Charter, Mr. Aguirre is the “chief legal adviser of, and attorney for the city and all Departments and offices thereof in matters relating to their official powers and duties.” Every attorney owes their clients a duty of loyalty. By publicly accusing his clients of crimes, Mr. Aguirre has demonstrated a lack of understanding of the role that a City Attorney plays in municipal government. If a private attorney had treated a client in the same manner, he or she would be subject to possible disciplinary action by the California State Bar and a even a legal malpractice lawsuit by the client. Can Mr. Aguirre be trusted to conduct an unbiased investigation?

I fully support an investigation into any wrongdoing that might have occurred and prosecution of those who are criminally responsible. However, this matter would be more appropriately handled by an unbiased prosecutorial agency such as the District Attorney’s office or the State Attorney General’s office. Mr. Aguirre should remember his duties under the City Charter and step aside in this matter.

About the Author
Carl H. Starrett II has been a licensed attorney since 1993 and is a member in good standing with the California State Bar and the San Diego County Bar Association. Mr. Starrett practices in the areas of bankruptcy, business litigation, construction, corporate planning and debt collection.


Anonymous said...

I see this as a two double edged sword. On the one hand, the corruption within the City of San Diego must be exposed! The US Attorney and FBI seem to drag their feet.... I think Mr. Aguirre is exposing their corruption, however at times it does appear that he may be grandstanding.... However, he may also be frustrated at the fact that nothing has been done to hold the city officials accountable.

Anonymous said...

I would like to think that Judge Dick Murphy would be able to handle the city corruption scandals with openness and accountability. It at times does appear that Mr. Aguirre may very well have other interests at hand, however, no one seems to be willing to hold this city accountable other than Mr. Aguirre. I am hopeful but doubtful that the endictiments will ever come to fruition due to legal wranglings which will suffocate the investigations. From the comments from City Council members after Aguirre released his press release, they come across as secretive and elusive. For example, all they have said to rebut Aguirre is that they need to put things behind and move ahead. Never have they acknowledged the need to hold anyone accountable.

Carl Starrett said...

I agree that sometimes it seems like law enforcment takes a lot time to investigate and prosecute crimes. However, it is important to remember how difficult some cases can be to present at trial.

White collar crimes and crimes that involve a lot of forensic accounting are very boring and tedious, for the parties and for the jurors. Before filing charges, time is spent carefully gathering the evidence and preparing it for trial. Once charges are filed, the defendants are entitled to speedy trial and that can be harmful to a case if the prosecution has not completed the investigation.

Our legal system cannot neatly wrap up a case in one hour, notwithstanding what you might see on Law & Order.

Anonymous said...

I think the city council should be ashamed of themselves. It appears they are not "serving" the people of San Diego. I think it is always unpopular to be a whistle blower, but someone needs to expose the stinking corruption. As always, the person exposing the problem is deemed a trouble maker. I am sure they would like Aguirre to be a "good ole boy" and joing their group while they all line their pockets! If it was up to me, I would like to see the entire city coucil fired and start over with a group of ethical public servants! Hooray for Mike Aguirre for being the only person with the nerve to stand up for what is right. I don't care who he works for, he has an obligation to the people who voted for him. Maybe he should run for Mayor.....

Carl Starrett said...

Mike Aguirre is a political opportunist, not a whistle blower. He has lost almost as many elections as Ron Roberts.

Contrary to what you may think, he is the attorney for the City and reports and takes direction form the City Council. He has demonstrated that he plays fast and loose with the facts, does not understand the role of the City Attorney's office and he has violated multiple rules of ethics for the legal profession.

While I agree the entire City Council should go, including Donna Frye, Mike Aguirre is hardly the answer.