The question of who should be the interim district attorney when DA Christie Stanley retires is not new in this county. In January 1990, Sheriff John Carpenter decided to retire months before the end of his fifth term.

There were three candidates running in the June primary election for sheriff. One was the undersheriff, who was appointed by Sheriff Carpenter and who served as second in command. There were two other candidates from the department as well. The question was whether the Board of Supervisors should have appointed an “acting sheriff.” The county counsel said, “The board of supervisors could fill the vacancy with anyone who qualifies for sheriff. As to what the board will do, and what the Undersheriff and others would like them to do, [that] is politics.”

And that is where we are today—politics. In the current case, Joshua Lynn has been selected by the DA to run the office in her absence. He has done so for the past few months. He is a candidate for district attorney in the June election. Joyce Dudley, who also works in the office, is also a candidate for the position. There is speculation that one or more of the current supervisors may want to appoint Dudley as acting DA to help her in the June election. I hope that the Board of Supervisors follows the lead of the 1990 board. They had the wisdom to see that continuity of leadership is important and that it is the people, not the supervisors, who should decide in June who the next acting DA will be. — Jim Thomas, retired Santa Barbara County sheriff


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