Experience | Lost Coast Outpost | Humboldt County

ACH asks Adrian Kamada

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Why did you leave the DA office and seek employment at the Public Defenders office? 



Adrian Kamada

Dear ACH,

I loved my work as a Deputy District Attorney but knew I eventually wanted to lead the office in a way that would be more efficient, effective, and equitable.  To gain broader experience before running for office it was important for me to see different perspectives.

As a Deputy D.A. I had many responsibilities, including being the vertical prosecutor for all felony cannabis, environmental crime, arson, and drug-lab cases; handling serious and violent felony cases, including homicides; handling all the office’s civil cases; and reviewing and advising on search warrants for the Drug Task Force, the sheriff’s Special Services Unit, Fish & Wildlife, State and Federal Parks, CalFire, and other agencies.  A vertical prosecutor handles every step of a case, from pre-charging to post-sentencing.  It’s a model that works well and I intend to expand it to other specific crime categories if elected.

I chaired the Humboldt County Environmental Task Force and served on the county’s Arson Task Force. I developed strong working relationships with the investigators in those areas, and together we learned to be more effective and efficient, leading to many successful, fair prosecutions.  

From those experiences I knew early on that I would like to extend a collaborative model to all corners of the D.A.’s Office.  Many people I worked with encouraged me to consider running for D.A.  

While in the D.A.’s office I saw some of our most talented and experienced prosecutors leave the office to join the Public Defender’s Office, including former Asst. D.A. Kelly Neel, who is now a Superior Court Judge, Luke Brownfield, now the Chief Public Defender, Child Abuse Services Team prosecutor Brie Bennett, and numerous others.  These are accomplished attorneys who are successful in their careers and who chose working from that different perspective.

Now a direct answer to your question.  When I made respectful suggestions for improvements in the efficiency of the D.A.’s office I was consistently turned away.  When I respectfully spoke truth to power on the mishandling of cases I was treated as an opponent, and eventually asked to resign.  I refused to resign out of principle but nevertheless was dismissed.  I was immediately hired by the County as a Deputy Public Defender, an important step in gaining perspective.  Now that I have gained experience from the defense side of the courtroom I’m ready to put my knowledge, drive, and fresh ideas and apply them to make our District Attorney’s Office an effective, efficient, and equitable institution that the public can trust.