Viewpoint—Lawyers, Traci Park and Erin Darling, Are Needed to Represent All – Including Criminals

When this editor first started refereeing AYSO, one of the people she worked with was a criminal defense attorney. She was surprised at one of his notorious clients, who seemed particularly “disgusting.”

This editor asked, “How could you take that case?”

He responded with a question “Do you believe in the American system?” This editor answered, “Yes.”

He said, “The American way means that all are entitled to a defense.”

He added, “it doesn’t matter how I feel about this person or the crime, I’m defending the law that everyone is innocent until they have a trial by their peers, and those people reach a verdict.”

Currently two lawyers, Traci Park and Erin Darling, are candidates for Council District 11.

Darling has taken out ads accusing Park of racism because she represented a client, who allegedly made a racist comment. Park could take out ads accusing Darling of misogyny and pedophilia because of the clients he’s represented. She has not.


Erin Darling

Darling represented an alleged gang member named Edgar Alexander Lobos who was charged with assaulting a woman in Lincoln Heights. Lobos, whose record included multiple domestic violence and gun convictions dating back to at least 2008, had just been released early from prison on previous gun possession charges.

Within 12 hours of his release, public documents show that he allegedly kidnapped, assaulted, raped, and forcibly sodomized a woman at gunpoint in a public bathroom in Lincoln Park.

Darling defended Lobos on the gun charges, initially as a full-time Federal Public Defender with two colleagues and later as a private attorney under a federal law that enables qualified lawyers to represent clients in federal criminal cases. The other lawyers withdrew from the case in February 2017. Darling continued as sole counsel.

Darling filed a motion to suppress evidence, alleging the victim’s photographic identification was tainted and unreliable. The district court disagreed, and Darling appealed to the Ninth Circuit.

Publicly available court documents show that Darling repeatedly attacked the woman’s credibility as a rape victim both in federal district court and before the Ninth Circuit.

He also attacked the alleged rape victim’s recollection of traumatic events, telling the court, “The lack of witness credibility likely led to the dismissal of the charges against Lobos.”

The record shows prosecutors voluntarily dismissed the case for failure to timely prosecute. Nothing in the court record suggests the case was dismissed due to the victim’s credibility.

Darling repeated his assertions again in briefs in the Ninth Circuit, referring to “the fact that the complaining witness who identified Lobos appeared to LAPD detectives later in the investigation as if she ‘was not telling the truth’ and that the state criminal case against Lobos based upon her allegations was dismissed the photographic display procedure used to identify Lobos was unduly suggestive and unreliable.”

In their decision rejecting Darling’s arguments, a three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit said flatly, “We disagree.” Lobos was found guilty and sentenced to 77 months in federal prison.

The victim’s fate remains unknown.

Darling, who could have chosen to not represent Lobos, claimed that this had nothing to do with the rape or sexual violence against a woman, but rather he “represented my client in a federal case in which he was charged with being a felon in possession of a gun, nothing else.”

Darling has also represented at least two separate convicted child pornographers, a convicted child rapist, an MS-13 gang member who allegedly kidnapped and killed an innocent person with a machete and a convicted felon who illegally transported 558.6 grams of methamphetamine into a local jail.


Traci Park

Park, a partner in the firm Burke, Williams @Sorenson, provides legal services for California cities, counties, municipalities, school districts and special districts.

For example, the law firm handles case such as: a city’s code enforcement officer voluntarily resigned his full-time position to take a higher-paying full-time position at another city. When the officer was not selected by his prior employer for re-hire on its graveyard shift, he sued for race discrimination.

The code enforcement officer was highly-qualified for the graveyard shift and had more experience than other applicants.

The case proceeded to trial on the sole claim of race discrimination. After three weeks of jury trial in Orange County Superior Court, the jury unanimously sided with the city and awarded the employee nothing. The court also awarded the City its costs.

Those are the kinds of cases that Park litigates. She was tasked with defending the city of Anaheim after a Black employee, Andrew Harrell accused a fleet supervisor of using the “n-word.”

According to the L.A. Times report about the case, “The only thing close to a specific allegation is the allegation that [the supervisor] had used the ‘n-word’ in front of Plaintiff,” Park’s brief in the case said. “However, further details on his use of the word, including any context, date or frequency, are absent. While an allegation of the use of this single word is serious, plaintiff does not allege the term was ever directed at him or that he was targeted with its usage.”

The judge said Harrell’s lawyers’ amended lawsuit “sufficiently alleges a claim for harassment.” Harrell ended the dispute with Anaheim last year, accepting a settlement payment. The L.A. Times said, his attorneys did not respond to a request for comment.

Park has repeatedly said, “I do not condone the use of racially charged language, or harassing or discriminatory conduct, under any circumstances.”


It appears that Darling is using the mess at L.A. City Hall (in which Nury Martinez, the president of the city council, resigned for her racist comments) as a way of trying to paint Park as racist. She is not.

His campaign managers must feel that Darling is running behind or why would the campaign stoop to name calling, especially using the “r” word, which is now one of the most politically charged words in America?

This editor feels that name calling is for candidates that don’t have plans: name calling is for losers.

Both lawyers can be applauded for defending the American way, taking cases that many of us might find repugnant.


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9 Responses to Viewpoint—Lawyers, Traci Park and Erin Darling, Are Needed to Represent All – Including Criminals

  1. thank you for this information. TRACI PARKS!!!!!

  2. andrew cohen says:

    WOW OH WOW. I couldn’t have done a better job here!!! This should be reprinted.

    If you acknowledge that Brentwood beat Pali, I’ll love you again.!!!

    ANDY COHEN. Your #1 fan

  3. DJ McKenna says:

    My question is… WHY do you do the same thing in the first 10 paragraphs? A lawyer is NOT their client. And their client is owed a vigorous defense. You make that point yourself and then spew the same nonsense you are upset about.

    It’s fine to correct the record. Make it clear the racist remark about Park is unjustified. But why to a hit piece protesting hit pieces?

  4. Stacey Henning says:

    I love your commentary regarding Park and Darling. Thank you for publishing this story!
    Park has to win or our city will be in deep trouble I’m afraid.

    Thank you,


  5. leslie Campbell says:

    All aboard the Traci train! She is hands (and paws) down our best option…

  6. Sue says:

    Brentwood High School football team beat Palisades High School 28-21 on September 23.

  7. 'joy' says:

    I agree with you, Sue. In order for our Country to work and remain a Country of laws, we must abide by the law, no matter who is involved or what law has been broken. However, as an attorney, I would have the right to decline defending a client unless the Court instructed me to do so. And, as a defense attorney, it is my responsibility to defend my client to the best of my ability even if I have to hold my nose while doing so.

  8. Dana Dalton says:

    Who benefits from this tape?
    Republicans OR
    TheDemocratic Socialists of America (DSA) ?
    It’s the DSA,
    That’s truly scary

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