County D.A. Lambastes High Court Justices in Ad

Times Staff Writer

Orange County Dist. Atty. Cecil Hicks, a longtime critic of state Chief Justice Rose Bird, will take to the airwaves beginning Monday to urge her removal from office.

Hicks has lent his name and voice to Crime Victims for Court Reform, a statewide group opposing the retention of Bird and state Supreme Court Justices Cruz Reynoso and Joseph Grodin because of their liberal voting record on criminal issues.

On the tape-recording Hicks made for the group’s radio ad campaign, the Orange County prosecutor tells listeners they will soon be hearing from several victims of crime in California.

“Their lives will never be the same because (Bird, Reynoso and Grodin) have let their personal and philosophical biases overrule an objective interpretation of the law,” Hicks says in the radio commercial. He goes on to criticize the three justices for their reversals in death penalty cases and for “dismantling” the Victims’ Bill of Rights, a name commonly used to refer to Proposition 8.


Long-Held Position

The three justices will be on the November, 1986, ballot seeking retention to 12 more years on the bench.

Hicks said Friday that his taping of the ad was simply part of his long-held public position opposing Bird and the other two justices.

“I did it because I really and truly believe that Rose Bird has let her personal philosophy take over her judgment on legal issues,” Hicks said. Bird has said publicly that she is often criticized because her decisions are not always popular.


“I agree with her that being a judge isn’t a popularity contest; you have to make unpopular decisions,” Hicks said. “But she’s only got it half right. You also have to keep out your personal feelings, and she just hasn’t done that.”

Radio Campaign

Hicks is only one of several prosecutors around the state who have agreed to participate in the introductory radio campaign spot. His ad will play in Orange and Los Angeles counties. The Dolphin Group, the political consulting firm that put together the ad campaign for the Crime Victims for Court Reform, also handled George Deukmejian’s campaign for governor in 1982.

Several deputies in Hicks’ office have also formed a group opposing Bird, Reynoso and Grodin, primarily because of their high number of reversals of death penalty verdicts. At a press conference the group held on Monday, more than two dozen prosecutors attended to show their support.


Bird was appointed chief justice in 1977 by Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr.