Todd Spitzer is a former California State Assemblyman, County Supervisor and Assistant District Attorney in Orange County who is a long-time victims’ rights advocate and current advisor to Marsy’s Law for All, the organization formed after the 2008 passage of the California constitutional amendment that is the nation’s most comprehensive Victims’ Bill of Rights. Spitzer was the Campaign Manager and lead spokesperson for that measure passed by the voters of California in 2008.
As an Assistant District Attorney in the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Todd handled complex criminal matters and supervised line prosecutors. He has prosecuted serious felonies including attempted murder, attempted rape, kidnapping, robbery, extortion and reckless driving causing serious bodily injury. Spitzer has tried nearly 100 jury trials to verdict. His years of courtroom experience gave him the opportunity to train and develop the skills of other deputy district attorneys.
Spitzer joined the Orange County DA’s Office in 1990 as a newly admitted lawyer to the California Bar. During his first stint in the DA’s Office (1990-1997) Spitzer quickly earned a reputation as an aggressive and well-prepared trial lawyer who had a special sensitivity and compassion for victims. Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers honored Spitzer with its Outstanding Prosecutor Award. Spitzer’s colleagues voted him the office’s Outstanding Prosecutor as well. In one of Todd’s earliest evaluations his supervisor wrote: “The intensity he displays is clearly the product of his enthusiasm and his desire to perform well for the benefit of those he serves…He remains an aggressive and enthusiastic prosecutor who will do whatever it takes to get the job done and to get it done right.”
The Assistant District Attorney reviewing Spitzer’s work during those years also commented: “It is evident of our collective judgment that your work in North and Central Municipal Courts has been exceptional and deserving of special recognition.”
Spitzer’s first elective office was as a Trustee to the Brea Olinda School Board (1992-1996). Within his first months on the School Board, he uncovered a grade-changing scandal at Brea High School, where a former Registrar was systematically changing students’ grades to enhance their chances of getting into colleges and universities. Spitzer’s investigation led to the school’s Principal being reassigned and the Superintendent forced into early retirement.
In 1994, when the County of Orange experienced one of the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcies, Spitzer was urged to run for a vacancy created by a supervisor’s resignation. Spitzer became, at 35, the youngest elected county supervisor in 75 years.
On the Board of Supervisors, Spitzer exposed fraud in the Housing and Community Development Rehabilitation Program and established the first County restaurant rating system. He continued to champion public safety, and was asked by crime victim Bruce Harrington, whose sister and brother in law were murdered, to serve as state-wide Co-Chair of Proposition 69, the DNA Initiative. Today, every felony arrestee in California must submit DNA to a state database, which has resulted in unresolved crimes being re-investigated.
Spitzer helped organize a public information campaign to guard against the spread of the West Nile Virus. He is credited with bringing the vote to the Board of Supervisors to end the battle to make the El Toro Marine Air Station a commercial airport, and instead allow the development of that land into a future asset for county residents. Spitzer also was recognized by the Orange County Republican Party as its Local Elected Official of the Year in 2000 (by Chairman Tom Fuentes) and as its Legislator of the Year in 2006 (by Chairman Scott Baugh) for his commitment to limited government, conservative principles and compassionate commitment to crime victims and public safety.
Spitzer served on the Orange County Transportation Authority (Chair 2001-2002); Director of the Orange County Fire Authority (Chair 1999-2000); Director of the San Joaquin Hills (Chair 1999 & 2000) and Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agencies. He also served as Director of the Child Abuse Prevention Council, member of the Local Redevelopment Authority, member of the Library Advisory Board, member of the Saint Joseph Medical Center Advisory Council and member of the MADD, Orange County, Advisory Board.
In 2002, Spitzer was recruited to run for the 71st District in the State Assembly, was swept into office and was re-elected to two additional terms by large margins. Spitzer quickly became an expert on Public Safety issues and was named by the Assembly Speaker, a Democrat, to be the only Republican Chairman of an Assembly standing committee–the Select Committee on Prison Construction and Operations. Spitzer also served in the Legislature as Republican Whip, the key spokesman for public policy issues on the floor of the house.
On August 24th, 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger signed Spitzer’s legislation, AB 488 (Parra and Spitzer), which put Megan’s Law on the Internet. Spitzer was also picked by Schwarzenegger to Co-Chair the first-ever High-Risk Sex Offender and Sexually Violent Predator Task Force. The Governor praised Spitzer, saying: “Your hard work and dedication to this topic are a testament to your commitment to the public safety of all Californians.” This work led to the Governor signing Spitzer’s legislation, AB 1015, (Chu and Spitzer) to create a Sex Offender Management Board in California to create policy to manage California’s more than 100,000 convicted sex offenders.
Spitzer has led several statewide initiative campaigns. In November 2004, he became the driving force behind two important law enforcement measures, serving as statewide Co-chair for Proposition 69, the DNA Fingerprint initiative, which was passed by 61.8% of voters. Additionally, Assemblyman Spitzer became a statewide spokesperson for the “No on Proposition 66” campaign and its Orange County Chairman. Considered one of the greatest turnarounds in California history, Proposition 66 was defeated by 46.6% to 53.4%; the ballot initiative at one point had approximately 65% voter approval. The defeat of Proposition 66, due largely to the involvement of Dr. Henry T. Nicholas III, co-founder of Broadcom Corp., ensured that approximately 26,000 serious and violent criminals remain behind bars. In 2008, Dr. Henry Nicholas recruited Spitzer to be the State-Wide Chairman and Campaign Manager of Proposition 9, “Marsy’s Law”, named after Dr. Nicholas’ sister, Marsy, who was murdered by an estranged ex-boyfriend in 1983. Voters of California approved that measure which now stands as the most comprehensive Victims’ Rights Constitutional measure in the nation.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
Spitzer has been the recipient of numerous recognitions. In 2005, Crime Victims United of California named Assemblyman Spitzer “Legislator of the Year.” In 2004, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault named him its “Legislator of the Year,” citing his extensive work with Megan’s Law and his dedication to protecting victims of sexual assault. For his expertise and service on the Assembly Public Safety Committee, the California State Sheriff’s Association named Spitzer “Outstanding Assembly Member” and awarded him its “Lifetime Career Achievement” Award for his lead role in addressing state prison overcrowding as the Chairman of the Select Committee on Prison Construction and Operations in the Assembly.
In 2005, the Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney’s Association presented Spitzer with a Special Distinction Award for his efforts to defeat Proposition 66. In addition, the California Narcotics Officers Association named him its Legislator of the Year in 2006 for his knowledge and expertise on narcotics and drug trafficking and his outspoken support to crack down on methamphetamine’s use and production.
Assemblyman Spitzer served as Honorary Board Member to the Doris Tate Crime Victims Bureau and as a Board Member for Crime Survivors, Inc., as well as the Trauma Intervention Programs (TIP). He also served as a member of the Orange County Bar Association Administration of Justice Committee. Spitzer serves as a Board Member for the Orange County Council Boy Scouts of America. In 2003, he received that organization’s Visionary Award, given annually to a person who exemplifies the attributes of the Scout Oath and Law and has demonstrated leadership and philanthropy in the Hispanic and Latino communities.
Spitzer served for 10 years as a Level 1 Line Reserve Police Officer (Penal Code section 830.36) for the Los Angeles Police Department in the Hollenbeck Division in East Los Angeles. During the nine month Police Academy training, Spitzer was chosen Class Leader and graduated number 2 in his class. During his decade of service at Hollenbeck, Spitzer volunteered for more than 6,000 street hours and was instrumental in starting the Hollenbeck Division Driving Under the Influence Task Force. In 1999, Assemblyman Spitzer was named Reserve Officer of the Year for his Division and also for the entire Central Bureau of LAPD. His supervisors evaluated him as follows: “The adjectives thorough, thoughtful and mature accurately describe Line Reserve Officer Todd Spitzer. His work is of high caliber. His determination to be the best at whatever he does is evident in the quality of work and service he provides. Spitzer is an unselfish, tireless worker who is compassionate, helpful and responsive to the community he serves. He is a thinker and a doer. He responds to each situation with a fresh and new attitude…Spitzer is frequently sought out by officers for his legal expertise and his knowledge of the criminal justice system. Spitzer is a true asset, a fine officer and a good man. Hollenbeck thanks him for his dedication and loyalty.”
In 2008, his alma mater, William M. Schurr High School, in Montebello, California, inducted Spitzer into its Alumni Hall of Fame for his commitment to the Law and Politics.
CAREER & COMMUNITY SERVICE
California Senate Fellow (1982-1983) (1984-85) (1992-1996) (1990-1997;
Assistant DA, 2008-2010) •Voted by peers as Outstanding Prosecutor (1994) (1990-2001)
Reserve Officer of the Year, Division and Bureau (1999) (1997-2002)
Director, Orange County Fire Authority (Chairman, 2000)
Director, San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency (Chairman, 1999-2000)
Director, Foothill-Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency
Member, Four-Corners Working Group
Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors (Chairman, 2002)
State-Wide Chairman and Campaign Manager, Proposition 9, Marsy’s Law, “Victim Bill of Rights”
State-Wide Co-Chairman, Proposition 69, DNA “fingerprint” Initiative
Orange County Chairman, Jessica’s Law, Anti-Child Predator Initiative
Orange County Chairman, No on Proposition 66, the Anti-Three Strikes Initiative
Legislative Member, Police Officers’ Memorial Foundation, California, 2008-2010
English Teacher, Roosevelt High School, Los Angeles Unified School District
Brea-Olinda Unified School District, School Board Trustee
Deputy District Attorney, County of Orange
Reserve Police Officer, Los Angeles Police Department
Orange County Board of Supervisors, Third District
South Sunrise, Orange-Olive and Tustin Pony Little League Coach, (2006 to present)
Golden Badge Foundation (Southern California Law Enforcement Agencies) Legislative Leadership Award, 2006
California Rifle and Pistol Association, Outstanding Legislator Award, 2005, Second Amendment Advocate recognition
Latino Peace Officers Association, National and California Chapters, Outstanding Public Service recognition
Community Services Program (CSP) Victim Witness Services, Outstanding Advocate for Children and Victims of Crime, 2002
The Raise Foundation, Outstanding Community Activist, on behalf of Protecting Children, 2006
Crime Survivors, Inc., Outstanding Legislator Award, Service to Victims Award
Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, Outstanding Prosecutor Award
California State Sheriff’s Association, Outstanding Legislator and Lifetime Career Achievement Awards
Parents of Murdered Children, Orange County Chapter, special appreciation recognition
Boy Scouts of America, Visionary Award for Outstanding commitment to the Hispanic and Latino communities
Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Outstanding Prosecutor Award
EDUCATION & FAMILY
Spitzer earned his Bachelors Degree from UCLA (1982), holds a Masters Degree in Public Policy from UC Berkeley (1989) and a Law Degree from UC Hastings School of Law (1989). While at Hastings, Spitzer was awarded the prestigious George Moscone Fellowship. UC Berkeley also awarded Spitzer a full scholarship. Spitzer graduated with his joint-degree debt-free and as a result was able to immediately go into public service as an Orange County prosecutor. He and his wife, Orange County Administrative Law Judge Jamie Morris Spitzer, live in Orange with their son, Justin and daughter, Lauren.