Oakhurst attorney David Linn, after months of speculation, officially announced he will be a candidate against incumbent Madera County District Attorney Michael Keitz in the June 2014 primary election.
The announcement was made at an Eastern Madera County Bar Association meeting at Woody's Restaurant Monday.
"I feel I have the support of area law enforcement agencies, the Madera County Board of Supervisors, former Madera County DA's, other attorney's in the county, the DA's office staff, Deputy Madera County DA's and many Madera county judges," Linn said after his announcement.
Linn, 64, said Darren Rose, former district director for retired Congressman George Radanovich, will serve as his campaign manager.
Linn has practiced law for the past 37 years and is currently the senior partner at the law firm of Linn Law Offices in Oakhurst. He is licensed to practice in California and has also been admitted to the Bar by the United States Court of Appeals for the federal circuit, the United States Claims Court and the United States Supreme Court.
Keitz, 58, is currently involved in a court battle to keep a report allegedly critical of him and his office operations private. The report, written by Fresno attorney Dan Rowley, was done about two years ago at the request of the Madera County Board of Supervisors after the board received complaints about Keitz from some members of his department. The report cost the county about $30,000 and supervisors and county Chief Administrative Officer Eric Fleming feel the report should be released to the public but Keitz's attorney said the report is confidential because it aided Keitz's defense attorneys in preparing in anticipation of a lawsuit against him and falls under attorney-client privilege.
In November, during a hearing to keep the document from being released, Keitz's attorney, Ryan Jones, told Madera County Superior Court Judge James Oakley that releasing the report should be stopped because of the irreparable harm that would be caused to Keitz.
On March 8, Oakley temporarily stopped the release of the report and has until June 6 to render his final decision to either release the report to the public or keep it sealed.
The county has paid about $1.4 million in legal bills and settlements from three civil lawsuits brought by two former prosecutors and a secretary in Keitz's office over discrimination and retaliation.
In what appears could be a long and heated campaign, Linn has taken some early swings at Keitz through "guest commentaries" in the Sierra Star prior to his announcement that he will run for the DA position. In the Dec. 13 issue, Linn criticized Keitz for his attempts to keep the "Rowley Report" secret, asking the question "What is Keitz hiding?" Linn also made reference to the lawsuits against Keitz and the county and the funds the county has spent in defending him and said "this has resulted in the virtual destruction of what used to be one of the most professional, dedicated and effective district attorney offices in California."
Linn went on the offense again in a second guest commentary published March 6, stating it is important the citizen's of Madera County "know about Michael Keitz's failure to prosecute DUI's in a timely manner is dangerous policy and can affect each of us." Linn said under Keitz, it typically takes six to nine months to file a criminal complaint for DUI and that a high ranking law enforcement official told him that sometimes the DA's office can not file a case because it missed the statute of limitations by failing to file in a timely manner.
Keitz responded with a "guest commentary" of his own regarding drunk drivers in the March 14 edition, stating Linn's statements seem to be "intentionally and seriously misleading and diminishes the work to achieved justice for the people of Madera County by my dedicated and hard working staff."
Keitz pointed to three recent DUI convictions that resulted in a 35-year to life sentence for vehicular manslaughter, a four-year vehicular manslaughter sentence and a conviction for three counts of second degree murder related to a DUI accident that is pending sentencing.
"Mr. Linn's commentary is nothing more than a personal attack on me intended for some level of political gain and ignores all the successes the district attorney's office has achieved under my direction," Keitz said in his commentary. "Mr. Linn's rhetoric seems to be based on personal gain, rather than the rule of law and securing justice for all victims of crime."
Linn was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Naval Reserve through Purdue Universities' NROTC Program in 1970. He served in Vietnam aboard the USS Virgo ammunition ship. Later, while still on active duty, Linn was trained and certified as a Terrier missile systems officer by the Department of Defense. He then served aboard the USS Dahlgren, a guided missile frigate, and the USS Dale of the standing NATO forces in the Atlantic.
After leaving active duty in 1973, Linn continued to serve in the Naval Reserve. During his reserve years, he served on numerous ships, participated in exercises at the Naval War College in Newport Rhode Island, and served on the staff of Commander and Chief of the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He retired with the rank of Commander.
He received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Purdue University, a master's degree in business administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and a Juris Doctorate from Pepperdine University.
He is a past president of the Oakhurst Community Fund and has been a member of the Oakhurst Community Park Association since 1984. He is a former president of the Oakhurst Sierra Rotary Club, the Eastern Madera County Bar Association and the Eastern Madera County Chamber of Commerce, now known as the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce. He was named Man of the Year by that organization in 1989.
He is married to Betty Linn, publisher of the Sierra Star.
Linn has been a member of the California Republican State Central Committee for 14 years and currently is a Madera County Civil Service Commissioner.
He was the Republican nominee for the 18th Congressional District in 1988, an election he lost to Democrat Richard Lehman.
Senator Jeff Denham recognized Linn on the Senate floor in November 2012 for his time and energy to the military academy nomination process by serving the constituents of the 19th Congressional District as a member of the Academy Selection Board for 18 years.
Denham noted Linn has remained politically active throughout his career and has served on many councils, including Congressional Advisory Councils, the Congressional Business Council, and the Congressional Service Academy Selection Board.
Linn joins two other county residents who have made early announcements to seek office next year -- Gregg Noll, a Fresno Police Department detective has announced he will run for the Madera County Sheriff's position that current Sheriff John Anderson will retire from -- Ray Krause, current member of the Madera County Planning Commission, intends to run for District 1 supervisor, a position governor Jerry Brown recently appointed Manuel Nevarez to, to complete the term of Frank Bigelow, who was elected 5th District assemblyman in November.
The annual salary for the DA is $155,000. The sheriff position pays $134,400 and supervisor are paid $71,500.
-- Linn is married to Betty Linn, publisher of the Sierra Star