Orange County Third District Supervisor Don Wagner

My opponent, Ashleigh Aiken, and her supporters scream in indignation on these pages and over social media about an independent expenditure mailer educating voters on her record. Curiously, she and her acolytes fail to show you the underlying document about which they’re complaining. Let me help. It is attached below.

Ms. Aitken would have voters believe that she opposed an illegally light sentence an Orange County judge handed down to a pedophile while she served as president of
the Orange County Bar Association. For all Ms. Aitken’s fulminations, that appears to be false.

The truth is that, when the community needed her to stand up for it, she and the Bar Association she led refused to take a position on a convicted pedophile’s illegal and shockingly easy sentence. That is what the Bar Association’s resolution, signed by its President, Ms. Aitken, actually says.: The Orange County Bar Association, which Ms. Aitken led, “takes no position” on the illegal sentence. “Signed: Ashleigh Aitken.”

You can’t make this stuff up, and the independent expenditure committee behind the mailer – not my campaign – is not making this up. That is why the Aitken campaign conveniently will not link her own written words in any of her complaining posts or opinion pieces. There is absolutely no contemporaneous evidence that Ms. Aitken in fact stood up for the community when it mattered. Only now, in the heat of a campaign
all evidence shows she is losing, is she throwing a proverbial Hail Mary, trying to recast herself and her record as that of a champion of the community. She is not.

For context, let’s review the case on which Ms. Aitken – in her own words and signed by her – took “no position.” Quite simply, an Orange County Superior Court
Judge ignored state law requiring him to impose a mandatory life sentence on a man who repeatedly sodomized a 4-year-old girl. He ignored state law. Don’t take my word for it: The appellate court reversed the illegal sentence because it was unconscionably low in violation of state law. But Ashleigh Aitken, when it mattered to the young victim and her family and the community, took “no position.” The pedophile locked the door, covered the four year or girl’s mouth to prevent her from crying out for help, and caused her intense physical pain during the assault. Ms. Aitken led the Bar Association to take “no position” on the sentence for this brutality. The sentencing judge said that this case “is not typical of a predatory, violent brutal sodomy of a child case,” and the defendant “inexplicably became sexually aroused but did not appear to consciously intend to harm (the victim) when he sexually assaulted her … There was no violence or callous disregard for (the victim’s) well-being.” Really! Again, you can’t make this stuff up. That is what the judge said. And to this, Ms. Aitken and the Bar Association she led took no position.

Now, however, Ms. Aitken and her increasingly desperate supporters would have you believe she opposed the sentence. But she shows no contemporaneous evidence of that, and the readily available public record – what really matters for a leader is what they say and do publicly, at the time, when it matters – shows that she actually took “no
position.” She failed to stand up for the community when it mattered.

Why was Ashleigh silent about the trauma of the sodomized toddler? With the pulpit and power she enjoyed as the highest ranking member of the Orange County Bar, why did she not use the opportunity to support crime victims and mandatory life sentences on this violent and despicable crime?

Be assured of this: As your county supervisor, I will never fail to stand up for the community and crime victims. I will always take a position, even when my opponent won’t, against vicious criminals.

Update: An earlier version of this post included a different resolution adopted by the OC Bar. The correct resolution, with the same language refusing to take a position, is attached. Wagner regrets the error.


June 25, 2015 Contact: Lisa Brown (949) 440-6700, ext. 123

OCBA Passes Resolution in Support of the Independence of the Judiciary

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.—The Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) has passed Resolution 2015R-02, which restates the OCBA’s strong support of judicial independence and urges citizens and litigants to support judicial independence as an integral part of our American justice system. (See Resolution 2015R-02 of the OCBA Board of Directors attached.)

About the Orange County Bar Association
Established in 1901, the Orange County Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary bars in

California. The mission of the Orange County Bar Association is to enhance the system of justice, to support the lawyers who serve it and to assist the community served by it.



Resolution 2015R-02 of the Orange County Bar Association Independence of the Judiciary

WHEREAS, the Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) is a leader of the legal community in Orange County;

WHEREAS, the OCBA promotes the integrity and honor of the legal profession and is committed to access to justice for all Orange County residents;

WHEREAS, the OCBA promotes our justice system and is committed to preserving an independent judiciary free from political fear or favor, which is essential to our democracy;

WHEREAS, the OCBA believes in judicial accountability through appropriate criticism and appeal;

WHEREAS, the OCBA believes that the recent attacks upon Judge Marc Kelly, such as insulting personal attacks and accusations, and physical threats, exceed the bounds of appropriate criticism and therefore threaten judicial independence; and

WHEREAS, the OCBA takes no position on the propriety or impropriety of Judge Kelly’s rulings or comments;

NOW, IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED that the OCBA restates its strong support of judicial independence and urges citizens and litigants to support judicial independence as an integral part of our American system of justice; and

IT IS ALSO RESOLVED that the OCBA publicly disapproves of attacks against sitting judges which unfairly exceed the realm of appropriate criticism and exercise of the protected right of appeal, and unnecessarily impedes the independence of the judiciary.

The foregoing resolution is approved and adopted this 24th day of June, 2015 in Newport Beach, California by the Orange County Bar Association Board of Directors.


Ashleigh E. Aitken
2015 President, Orange County Bar Association

Supervisor Donald P. Wagner represents the Third District.


For a different view on this issue, consider: 

Aitken: OC Residents Deserve A Supervisor Who Stands Up For Our Community Against Real Estate Developers & Their Lies

Court: Dirtiest Election Trick In Decades By Developers In OC Supervisors Race Should Change Rules For Future Candidates

Opinions expressed in community opinion pieces belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please email


Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *