As the recall starts – Stay tuned as we uncover Vern’s lies…
County of El Dorado, California
Within weeks of graduation from high school in 1982, Vern enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the infantry’s 101st Airborne (Air Assault). He attained the rank of sergeant and was a graduate of the Army’s elite Airborne and Air Assault schools. The recipient of the Army Commendation and Army Achievement Medals, Vern attended the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy (P.L.D.C.) in Ansbach, Germany, and graduated with the rare distinction of simultaneously being designated the Honor Graduate and the recipient of the Leadership Award. Because his military service confirmed his already strong sense of duty and patriotism, and embedded in him the realization that freedom is not free, Vern continued his service to our nation, not only for the four years of his active duty, but also by serving in the California National Guard in the Airborne Long Range Surveillance Detachment.
Vern’s experience in the military and his strong work ethic were instrumental in his successfully earning his way through college and then law school. Initially, he worked in a grocery store at night and attended Cypress College by day. Later he worked 20-30 hours a week in the Orange County District Attorney’s Office while attending Western State University College of Law. Upon graduation, Vern was near the top of his class, with honors including the American Jurisprudence Award for scholarship and excellence in Constitutional Law.
During his initial assignment in the Amador County District Attorney’s Office, Vern prosecuted hundreds of cases ranging in seriousness from misdemeanor violations to prosecutions of violent and sophisticated career criminals. After prosecuting approximately fifty jury trials in three years, Vern was recognized for his thorough preparation and tough stand on public safety. A high sensitivity to the rights of crime victims and success in prosecuting family violence cases resulted in Vern being assigned as the vertical prosecutor for domestic violence and sexual assault. Learning a teacher charged with child molest was seeking to retain his teaching credentials, Vern wrote the statute (S.B. 2005) carried by then Senator Tim Leslie, which forever barred convicted sex offenders from working in our classrooms. Vern was also instrumental in establishing the Amador County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART).
Vern’s success as a prosecutor and his interest in the legislative process led him to take a leave of absence to work as a criminal justice advocate with the California District Attorneys Association. Despite the leanings of the California Legislature, Vern was part of a team that was extraordinarily successful in bringing about improvements in public safety. For instance, Vern helped change the laws to make it easier to convict and permanently lock up sexual predators. He also authored or edited numerous books, manuals and publications. He helped create the Field Guide used by thousands of police officers throughout the state.
In 1996, he joined the California Department of Justice as Deputy Attorney General in the Appeals, Writs and Trial Division. Assigned to the trial team, Vern investigated and prosecuted grand jury inquiries and numerous criminal jury trials throughout the state. He also fought the appeals of convicted felons.
In September of 2000, Vern returned to Amador County as the Chief Assistant District Attorney. Under the direction of the District Attorney, Vern served as the department administrator. In that capacity, he was responsible for the control of the department budget, management of personnel issues, supervision and training for criminal division staff, and the coordination of criminal and administrative investigations. Vern also prosecuted major felony cases such as murder.
As he has for the last several years, he continues to teach trial advocacy and the laws of evidence to California prosecutors. He annually updates his book, the California Evidence Pocketbook that is published by the California District Attorneys Association and used daily by prosecutors throughout the state. Vern also serves on CDAA’s Legislative Committee and is often asked for opinions on proposed and newly introduced legislation effecting public safety and victims rights. Recently, he drafted A.B. 141 (Cohn), which expands the use of propensity evidence in child abuse and domestic violence cases. Since 1999, he has been part of the committee that provides the annual legal update for Peace Officers Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) and many thousands of California’s front line law enforcement officers.
Elected as County of El Dorado District Attorney in 2007.