FULLERTON : Defense Attorneys Left Out of Summit

When a crime summit gets underway today at Cal State Fullerton, guest speakers from every aspect of the criminal justice system will be present--except for those who represent the people accused of crimes.

Orange County Public Defender Ronald Y. Butler said he believes defense attorneys have a unique insight into the causes behind crime in Orange County and was surprised to find no one representing the criminal defense bar was invited to speak at the Orange County Crime Summit.

"I definitely think this office would have something to contribute," Butler said. "We come in contact on a very personal level with our clients, and obviously we get into the cause and effect of crime as well.'

Lou Scarpino, the conference's coordinator, said there was no slight intended. He said the conference could only include a limited number of speakers and hoped members of the defense bar would join the audience attending the forum.

Butler said he many people mistakenly believe that defense attorneys do not care about crime.

"That is a very erroneous assumption," he said. "I'm very concerned about crime."

The crime summit is sponsored by several organizations, including the Cal State Fullerton Political Science Students Assn. and the Orange County Management Forum. Organizers said they hope to share creative solutions for fighting crime.

Guest speakers include Orange County District Atty. Michael R. Capizzi, Chief Probation Officer Michael Schumacher and several Orange County judges, police chiefs and politicians.

The conference begins at 8 a.m. at the Titan Pavilion at the University Center on the Fullerton campus.

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