OC Judge candidate claims innocence

Published 5:28 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Orange County Judge Democrat candidate Donald G. Brown, along with his husband, Daniel K. Spencer, self surrendered to officials on Monday evening in connection with a warrant issued last week for injury to a child.

They were bonded on $10,000 bond each and released about 7 p.m., according to Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Brown’s newest attorney, Bruce Smith, said Brown is not removing his name from the November ballot.

“He said he is not removing his name,” Smith said. “He is confident he is lawfully on the ballot and he will be exonerated in this case.”

Brown hired Smith Monday afternoon.

“I have requested the file from the DA,” Smith said. “I am not sure my office has received everything yet. The Orange County DA is excellent with providing the information.”

Brown, in an email, stated any comments would be forthcoming from his attorney.

Warrants for Brown and Spencer were issued on Thursday after they had been indicted for injury to a child.

An indictment is a formal accusation against someone who is suspected of committing a serious crime, filed after the conclusion of a grand jury investigation. It is not a guilty verdict.

The indictment was not the only legal problem Brown is facing as a petition requesting depositions of Michael Cole, John Baker and Brown was filed on Friday.

The testimonies are to determine whether litigation should be initiated by requesting the Ninth Court of Appeals to issue a Writ of Mandamus.

A hearing on the deposition request is set for May 3, 2018.

“If Brown formally withdraws in writing and files it with secretary of state, we will consider non suiting the case,” Michael Getz, Dean Crooks attorney, said in an email.

Crooks is the Republican candidate for Orange County Judge.

This legal issue stems from January when the check used for Brown’s filing fee for running for office was returned to the local Democrat Party for non-sufficient funds. He paid the fee with a certified check in March. The deadline for filing ended on December 11, 2017, the day Brown submitted his application for the position.

Brown has maintained he had inadvertently written the check for his filing on the wrong account and attempted to reach the Orange County Democrat Chair Interim after discovering his error. Orange County Democrat Party denies any attempt was made.