Assistant DA will resign

inyo_courthouse.jpgInyo County Assistant District Attorney Joel Samuels confirmed that he has given notice that he will leave his job March 7th. Samuels had earlier taken out petitions in lieu of filing fees to run for District Attorney.

As for his plans to run for office, Samuels told Sierra Wave Media that he has not made any decisions. He said he currently “has no active candidacy.” However, he also said he is keeping his options open. Samuels made it clear he will continue to work as an attorney.

Why has he resigned his position? Samuels said only, “I no longer believe the office of the District Attorney is headed in the right direction.” He declined to elaborate. Samuels had long worked as a deputy and as assistant to former DA Art Maillet. When Maillet retired, he supported the Board of Supervisors’ selection of Samuels as the new DA.

Former District Attorney Phil McDowell recommended attorney Tom Hardy. The Supervisors made him their choice. When it came time for the DA election, Hardy stepped forward to run and it seemed his assistant did too. The last day to file declarations of candidacy is March 7, Joel Samuels’ last day on the job.

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7 years ago

I don’t know Charles. I have meet both Hardy and Samuels briefly. They both seemed very intelligent and polite. But I would have to say that Samuels came across to me as having much more of a likable personality for public office. Please understand that I don’t approve of a thing Maillet stood for.

Charles James
Charles James
7 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Samuels and if he is staying in the area, hopefully we will meet someday.

I do know Tom and I support his bid to be elected as D.A. As to judging Samuels on his relationship with Malliet, That Maillet was elected more than once shows that there must be plenty of people that found him agreeable, including myself to be honest.

In any event, I’ll accept your assessment that they both are very intelligent and polite with likable personalities. Thanks for sharing your experience with Samuels.

Charles James
Charles James
7 years ago


It would be interesting to know exactly what Mr. Samuels meant by “I no longer believe the office of the District Attorney is headed in the right direction,” I suspect, as he is still currently working for the D.A., he feels constrained by circumstance. Not commenting while still working for the DA’s office is both mature and professional.

Samuels’ comment may be simply nothing more than a difference of opinion resulting from a very different leadership style from Hardy’s. Some in local law enforcement have reportedly found Hardy’s style to be a refreshing change from the former D.A. It was on a unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors that Mr. Hardy was appointed to fill the vacancy created by Maillet’s early retirement; that despite Samuels’ endorsement by the former D.A.

Leadership style matters. As you well know and reported, the former D.A. faced allegations that he authorized the illegal release of confidential documents on his political opponent, refused to communicate with the local media on cases of public importance and interest, and that his office played a role in creating a backlog of cases in the court system as a result of the lack of timely plea bargaining, sentencing guidelines and other settlement issues, findings addressed by the 2012 Inyo County Grand Jury.

While Samuels’ running for the office would most certainly bring out the causes of his dissatisfaction, his candidacy would face an uphill battle. He is relatively unknown by comparison to Hardy, who is well-known and liked having lived and worked in Inyo County for many years as a local attorney. Hardy has also been involved with many community groups over the years. Another obstacle that Samuels would face is the perception that he and his former boss, Maillet, are “cut from the same cloth.”

Even so, no one has seemingly questioned Samuels’ competency as an attorney and choice in an election is always good for voters.