Juror for Dudley: I’ve had the opportunity to serve as a juror on a trail where District Attorney candidate Joyce Dudley was the senior prosecuting attorney. From this courtroom perspective, I feel the public would benefit from these firsthand observations, and as a citizen of Santa Barbara County, I wish to share this experience.
First, let me briefly describe this rather disturbing trial that Ms. Dudley was challenged to prosecute. In 2005, Superior Court Judge Brian E. Hill presided over this case which charged Charles David Venzor with an extremely brutal rape committed in the heart of Santa Barbara; a crime that was stopped just short of a homicide thanks to a citizen responding to a 2:00 a.m. sound that didn’t seem right. Unfortunately, the victim was unable to make a positive identification of the attacker because she was hit from behind, and was unconscious from strangulation during most of the rape.
Even without the victim’s positive ID of the attacker, Joyce Dudley lead the prosecution to prove Venzor’s guilt, and she did it brilliantly. This case couldn’t match the public’s attention drawn by the Jesse James Hollywood trial, but the Venzor case can be viewed as an equally important case, because Charles David Venzor was a multiple rape criminal who walked our streets for 20 years since his first conviction, and his violence had escalated to homicidal levels.
Dudley in the Courtroom: I’ve served as a jurist on five trials between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara Counties, and Joyce Dudley’s skills as a DA were outstanding. Not only does the prosecution need to tie evidence together, but it must be done with clarity and continuity, which I’ve found lacking in other courtrooms. But in our case, Ms. Dudley demonstrated a clear path and vision that lead to a proper verdict and not the frustration we seem to feel from a misdirected trial. Dudley showed great respect and compassion for all those involved, even the defense, but she also showed an uncompromising passion to administer proper justice. One of the things I distinctly remember was Joyce Dudley’s commitment to use the courts to achieve public safety. This is clearly one of her devotions in life, and one for which we as citizens must thank her. Dudley succeeded in this case, and Venzor was sentenced to 109 years in prison.
Dudley Outside the Courtroom: Following the trial, the jury was left somewhat stunned by the evidence we had to witness and evaluate, and in the following months, the jury got together a couple of times to confide with each other, and put this event behind us. On one of those gatherings at a juror’s home, Joyce joined us. It was rather interesting to see that she was no different than the rest of us, and she was disturbed by the same things that haunted us. She even told me that she found the site of the crime was a place she could no longer visit. But even with the many demons she faces on a daily basis, her focus to protect us from criminals goes undaunted.
In closing, I feel great pride that Joyce Dudley is part of our county, and wishes to serve as our District Attorney. We are very lucky to have her.—Don Pies
Deceive and Defame: I was a Santa Barbara police officer for 29 years, and worked closely with Sr. Deputy District Attorney Joyce Dudley for 10 years before retiring in 2000. Recently I read of the false accusations being made by the Josh Lynn camp against Ms. Dudley and was, quite simply, shocked and disgusted.
The Lynn camp is trying to deceive the public and defame the character of his opponent. Joyce Dudley has never been found to have committed prosecutorial misconduct – never! The records of the State Bar Association clearly show that there has never even been a disciplinary or administrative action filed against Ms. Dudley.
People familiar with court procedure are well aware that the filing of a “disqualification motion” is a tactical ploy commonly used by defense attorneys to avoid facing a formidable Deputy DA. Joyce Dudley is obviously doing something right if defense attorneys are willing to go to such lengths to have her disqualified rather than face her across the table. For the Josh Lynn campaign to allude otherwise is an unethical, nasty, political ploy which is insulting to the intelligence of Santa Barbara voters.
An enthusiastic non-politician like Joyce Dudley is exactly what is needed to breathe new life into the all-too-political climate of cronyism which appears to currently exist in the DA’s office.—David McCoy