The Leadership Tomorrow Class of 2016 (LT) completed Justice Day Thursday the 17th of March 2016. After opening remarks in the Library of the Office of the Public Defender in Santa Ana’s Civic Center the class had a very interesting presentation on Human Trafficking presented by Lihn Tran and Oree Freeman. Tran has been the Administrator of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force for six years and Freeman is a very brave Human Trafficking Survivor and Advocate, and only twenty years of age. Together they educated and shared in a very impactful way about the history of and progress to stop Human Trafficking in Orange County.
Our next presentation was by Sharon Petrosino who leads to office of the Public Defender after a career there of more than thirty years. Petrosino shared the office’s role in providing effective, compassionate and high quality representation to the indigent client in a cost effective manner. She kept it real with some first-hand stories of success with Homeless Court, Drug Court, and Prop 47. She clearly articulated the role of the Office of the Public Defender.
LT’s annual Police Chief’s panel followed and featured Department leaders from Newport Beach, Tustin, Irvine and Costa Mesa and was moderated by LT’s own Chairman of the Board Assistant Chief Jon Lewis who was just sworn in as the new Chief of Police in Newport Beach on Tuesday the 22nd of March 2016. Outgoing Chief Jay Johnson from Newport reflected on topping off his long career in Long Beach with six years in Newport, Chief Charlie Celano of Tustin spoke of doing more with less in an era of budget constraints, and his particular focus on employee wellness to counter job stresses. Deputy Chief Julia Engen from Irvine spoke at length about her City’s response to the Dorner killings and how to interact with a diverse population, and Captain Mark Manley from Costa Mesa described managing a department that underwent rapid and substantial staff reductions due to retirements and delays in hiring, and how to work productively with elected officials to address community concerns. This was a very impressive blue ribbon panel that took a number of questions and met personally with Class members after.
After a lunch mingle with the Police Chiefs the class boarded a luxury bus and traveled to the Theo Lacy Jail in Orange. Trudy Naman, the LT Class Liaison, led a discussion the events thus far and prepared the class for the Jail Tour. All personal property remained on the bus as the class was led by the supervising Deputy Sherriff and his team of Deputies on a tour of an occupied High Security Module, the Jail Medical Facilities, and the Dormitories each housing more than 190 inmates. Along the way the class stopped and had detailed briefings on each aspect of housing over 3,000 offenders on site, including recent arrivals of more sophisticated criminals to the County Jail from the State Prison system under AB 109. Thanks to Chief Jon Lewis for arranging this “all access” guided tour that is rarely offered. Needless to say this was a very sobering opportunity for the entire class.
We wrapped up the day in the Courtroom of Superior Court Judge and Professor of Law Thomas Goethals. Serving on the top floor of the Santa Ana Courthouse Judge Goethals presides over the majority of the capital murder cases in Orange County. One of the only Judges in California to have also worked as a Deputy District Attorney trying murder cases and a Defense Attorney in Private Practice defending them, Judge Goethals was appointed to the Superior Court in 2003. He led a spirited lecture and discussion of the judicial process and how Justice is applied.
Needless to say it was another “all protein” day at LT.