Candidate preaches justice for all |

Candidate preaches justice for all

Before Sean O’Brien took the chief assistant district attorney position in Placerville, he was the assistant district attorney at South Lake Tahoe. Now he wants to further his legal career by becoming Superior Court judge in Office Five of El Dorado County.

O’Brien, 54, hauled in 10,573 votes in the March primary election when he squared-off against four other candidates for the seat. He took second place to private practice attorney Daniel Proud, who received 13,491 votes.

Happy to remain in the race, O’Brien wants to increase the court’s efficiency and bring his experience to the bench if he wins the Nov. 5 run-off election.

“My vision is based on one guiding principle,” O’Brien said. “I believe the court is there to provide justice to everyone. Systematic changes need to be done. I think the way cases are processed need to be changed so we can more efficiently handle cases.”

O’Brien believes the road to court efficiency starts with judges hearing cases outside their preferences. For example, at El Dorado County Superior Court in South Lake Tahoe, Judge Jerald Lasarow hears criminal cases and Judge Suzanne Kingsbury handles civil cases.

If O’Brien were elected, he would work to have all Superior Court judges hear a variety of cases.

In 1974 O’Brien graduated from law school at Santa Clara University. It is the same place where he met his wife and the same area where he began work as an attorney. He moved down to Orange County where he was a deputy district attorney until 1984 and was a private practice attorney until 1989.

Upon moving north he became a deputy district attorney at South Lake Tahoe until he received a promotion to assistant district attorney in 1995. Three years later, he and his wife and three sons moved down to the West Slope where he is now chief assistant district attorney.

O’Brien’s duties include overseeing the operations of the South Lake Tahoe and Placerville offices, program development, grant development and advising District Attorney Gary Lacy on issues and handling juvenile cases on the West Slope.

He has prosecuted and defended criminals. Community involvement includes being Santa Claus at South Lake Tahoe, umpiring and coaching Little League and being on the board of directors of an organization devoted to helping disabled people find employment.

O’Brien wants to be judge in order to deliver justice.

“I think the law makes us a strong country. I think it makes us a free country,” O’Brien said. “It resolves issues in a nonviolent way and people are assured they’re given justice.”

— Contact William Ferchland at

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