Riverside County’s new District Attorney, Mike Hestrin, was sworn in Monday afternoon at the steps of the historic Riverside County Courthouse, marking the third such induction ceremony in the last decade.
“We need to rebuild, it’s as simple as that. We have great talent in the office, we just need to step forward, have some of our promising talent step forward and lead, and we need to bring up our younger attorneys,” Hestrin said.
More than 17 years ago Hestrin himself was one of the D.A. office’s promising new attorneys. He was hired out of Stanford Law School by then-District Attorney Gover Trask, who held the position for nearly three decades.
Trask gave the keynote speech at Hestrin’s ceremony.
“Mike tempers his zeal with a good heart, achieving to do the right thing for the right reason,” Trask said.
Hestrin said one of the office’s greatest challenges is combating the county’s spike in homicides in recent years. The rate in the Coachella Valley alone last year doubled that of 2013.
“Riverside county has a criminal street gang problem. We have 391 gangs, we have 12,000 registered gang members in this county. They account for the majority of the murders in our streets,” Hestrin said.
Another case Hestrin may deal with is the unsolved 2006 triple murder in Pinyon Pines. We asked Hestrin where it stands now after his predecessor, Paul Zellerbach dismissed all charges against Cristin Smith and Robert Pape last October.
“Any murder case is very important and shouldn’t be filed until it’s ready to be filed, not for any other reason,” Hestrin said. “My heart goes out to the victims’ families. I want to meet with them and I want to meet with investigators and we’ll get the right result.”