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Orange County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for Debra Carrillo

Candidate for
Superior Court Judge; County of Orange; Office 12

This information is provided by the candidate

A Personal Message From Debra Carrillo

by Debra Carrillo

Dear Orange County Voter,

As a criminal prosecutor, mother of two sons and dedicated member of this community, I seek your vote so that I can serve you as a Judge of the Orange County Superior Court.

Police, prosecutors, judges and crime victims support me overwhelmingly because they know me, and they know that I will be a fair, no-nonsense Judge who upholds law and order for the citizens of Orange County.


I am honored to be a member of the Orange County District Attorney's elite White Collar Crime Task Force, prosecuting high-level financial crimes throughout the entire county. I work with a team that focuses on financial crimes with a threshold loss over $100,000., as well as Elder Financial Abuse, Identity Theft, Real Estate Fraud, Mortgage Fraud, Employee Embezzlements and Securities crimes.


I have 30 years experience in the legal profession. I gained my experience the old fashioned way: I worked my way up the ladder. I started with the Laguna Beach Police Department as a midnight to 8 a.m. records clerk. I studied hard to become a Reserve Police Officer. I then became a Parking Control Officer (meter maid). I was soon rewarded with a position as a sworn Police Officer for the City of Laguna Beach. While working in this capacity, I earned an Official Commendation from the Chief for my ability to gain rapport with a hostile subject. I loved being a police officer, especially the strong esprit de corps and loyalty that one develops with fellow officers, often people who stand by to help you save lives, or, even to save your life. The loyalty of law enforcement officers is incomparable; I've never experienced anything like it before or after working as an officer during those glorious few years. During my officer days, I became quite proficient as marksperson, and represented the County of Orange on the First String Pistol Team at the California Police Olympics, winning Top Gun Awards along the way, where I also swam competitively. Working as a law enforcement officer fostered my strong team spirit, loyal friendships and a deep devotion to safety in our community for all citizens.

Shift work and double shifts which affected my ability to be a good mother, contributed to my choice to leave the streets and become a Deputy Marshal, working as an armed bailiff in the courtroom. While sad to leave the police department and colleagues, I soon found my true calling. I admired the young Deputy District Attorneys and Deputy Public Defenders passionately advocating for either the victims, People of the State of California, or the citizens standing accused. It made me realize what a great country we have that everyone is treated to Equal Justice in America.


After three years in the courts, observing hundreds of trials and working with some of the best judges in the country, I was accepted into law school at the prestigious University of San Diego School of Law. I earned a nearly full scholarship. I did quite well, earning my way onto the honors society, Law Review, serving as a first-year Representative on the Student Bar Association, then was elected President of the school in my second year. Strong commitments to community service were encouraged at USD, and, to this day, I maintain a strong commitment to the community, volunteering wherever and whenever I can to help make a positive difference.


Upon graduation, I was offered a financially lucrative position at a local civil law firm, which I readily accepted. My son started college the following year. While I enjoyed the intellectual challenge of work as a civil associate in a large law firm, I longed to be a true trial lawyer. Civil associates frequenty try no more than 1 or 2 cases every several years.

I reminisced about the trench work of the young DDAs and DPDs I had observed. Any of these self-respecting trial attorneys had chalked up a minimum of 20 or more trials in their first year of practice! I wanted to be a fulltime litigator, too. Still, at this point, it would require a huge pay cut. After my older son graduated from Stanford, and my younger son entered his senior year of college at UC Berkeley, and I had written my last tuition, room and board checks, I knew it was my time.


I applied to the Orange County District Attorney's Office and the Orange County Public Defender's Office. I accepted the first job offered: to be a trial attorney for the Public Defender. I took a 40% pay cut to become a trial attorney. I have never regretted it. It was a great experience and taught me many things, including humility. It wasn't just about professionally representing your clients at trial, it was also about negotiating fair prison terms and sentences for those who admitted their guilt. I also worked in the Orange County Drug Court and had the honor of watching lives transformed by the strict and fair guidelines of the court, combined with tough oversight and lessons in individual responsibility for the participants.


In 2005, I was recruited by Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauackas to work as a trial prosecutor in his elite Economic Crimes Unit. Tony knew of my reputation and abilities as a strong trial attorney from his days as a Judge on the Orange County Superior Court. That is how I came to be on the White Collar Crime Task Force. Being selected by OCDA Tony Rackauckas to become a prosecutor is the highlight of my career as a trial attorney. Working as a Prosecutor comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility over the lives of others, victims and defendants alike. Such enormous responsibility must be handled with maturity and thoughtful discretion.

Working as a Prosecutor is the best job I have ever had.

In my 30 year career in the legal profession, beginning as a street cop, testifying in court as an officer; to protecting the Judge and the court as a bailiff; to working on complex civil issues at a national law firm for 3 years; to upholding each citizen's right to a fair trial pursuant to the Sixth Amendment; to my immensely rewarding career as a prosecutor, I believe that I can say that I am imminently qualified to be the best next Judge on the Orange County Superior Court.

My vast trial experience, and excellent reputation as a trial lawyer, and as a courteous, skilled professional, trying over 100 jury trials to verdict in my career, led the Orange County Bar Association's Judiciary Committee to bestow upon me the highest rating possible for a judicial candidate: "highly qualified". During the Primary, of the four candidates in my race, I was the only candidate to receive this highest honor in the OCBA's rating. I have had an amazing career for which I am very grateful.

In the general election, I am the only candidate who submitted to the extensive and grueling interview and investigation process, in which three experienced attorney members of the judiciary subcommittee interviewed me, as well as my references. It is my goal for you, the voter, to know everything you need to know about me in order to make an intelligent decision as to whether you want to vote for me as your judge.

Most importantly and more telling ~ the OCBA judiciary committee also interviewed the judges I tried my cases in front of, as well as my adversaries to see what they had to say about me. It was all very positive. The head of my subcommittee commented to me during our final interview luncheon that he could not find a single person to say anything negative about me. I am proud of my excellent reputation as an attorney working over 22 years in Orange County.

If you have any questions of me, please do not hesitate to email me at, or visit my website for more information @, or call me on the phone at 949.715.7167. Please have patience in that I am only one person and that there are over a million and a half of you, in case it takes me a couple of days to respond.

My extraordinary experiences as a Deputy District Attorney, prosecuting serious crimes, combined with my extensive criminal and civil trial background provide me with the foundation for my dedication to public safety and equal justice in the court.

It also makes me the best candidate for the Office of Superior Court Judge, Seat #12.

I ask for your vote on November 4. I would be honored by your vote for me.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 9, 2008 04:39
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