Jeff Ferguson will be sworn in tomorrow, January 5, 2015, at 8:15 a.m. in courtroom C-1 at the Orange County Superior Courthouse, in Santa Ana. He will then perform his first official judicial act – swearing in the new Orange County Assessor, Claude Parrish.
Ferguson started working as a Deputy District Attorney at the Orange County District Attorney’s office in February of 1983. He went on to become Prosecutor of the Year four times. He left that job on Friday, last week.
Ferguson won easily in the June, 2014 Primary Election, after dominating most of the endorsements, garnering over 62% of the vote as compared to his opponent, Orange County Superior Court Commissioner Carmen Luege, who got 37.5% of the vote, according to Smart Voter.
Jeff Ferguson’s Bio:
I was a “navy brat.” My dad joined the United States Navy before America entered World War 2 after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He served aboard the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis in her engine room until she was sunk in the Pacific in 1945. A career Naval Officer, he stayed in the navy after the war, so I spent my earliest years living with my family overseas in Japan, China, and the Phillipines.
We arrived in Orange County in 1962. I attended the Southern California Military Academy in Long Beach through junior high, then Western High School in Anaheim. I got my first paying job at Disneyland around 1968 working in New Orleans Square.
I graduated from the newly built University of California at Irvine in 1973 with dual degrees: Bachelor of Science in biology and Bachelor of Arts in social ecology. I wrote for the school newspaper newUniversity.
For ten years I worked as a graphic designer, then as Creative Director for the creative services and communications firm Imagery. I did design work for many companies, including Exacta Financial, Roger Corman’s New World Productions, and others.
In 1980 I entered the accelerated academic program at Western State University College of Law, graduating cum laude in 1982. While there I served as technical editor for the WSU Law Review and as managing editor for the WSU International Law Journal. I co-authored a principal article on resolving court delay, authored a case note involving copyright and authored a review on terrorism. I was also Editor-in-Chief for WSU’s college newspaper Dictum.
I joined the Office of Orange County District Attorney in February 1983, assigned first to juvenile court. In the ensuing years I prosecuted cases in every branch court throughout Orange County, from misdemeanors of all types to felony burglary, robbery, kidnapping, gang cases and attempted murder.
In the 1990’s I was promoted to Senior Deputy District Attorney and posted to the elite Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET). I prosecuted major narcotics traffickers, international criminal cartels, and large-scale methamphetamine manufacturers for more than a dozen years, longer than any other prosecutor in our county. I was the first prosecutor in California to convict a made member of the Mexican Mafia prison gang under California’s “Street Terrorism Act.”
I led the federally-funded Probation Offender Search and Seizure Enforcement (POSSE) task force, composed of thirty separate state and local police agencies. The program’s spectacular success was praised before the United States Congress by the Office of President of the United States George W. Bush.
In 1994 I became the Major Narcotics Vendor Program (MNVP) prosecutor, handling multi-kilo drug cases, complex conspiracies, and clandestine methamphetamine lab cases exclusively. I was also lead prosecutor for OPERATION BUYER BEWARE, an undercover clandestine methamphetamine lab penetration task force spearheaded by California’s Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, and consisting of more than twenty state and local law enforcement agencies that pursued criminals from San Diego to Fresno. Police seized almost two hundred pounds of methamphetamine and shut down more than two dozen high-producing labs. I prosecuted more than 65 criminal suspects in several linked conspiracies to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine throughout California.
In 1998 I was assigned as prosecutor for OPERATION ORION, targeting street gang-related narcotics trafficking, gun-running and car theft rings. Spearheaded by the Santa Ana Police Department, it included agents from the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I actively participated in the day-to-day investigative program providing legal guidance on evidence handling, informant protection, search warrant preparation, and case planning. I personally indicted 128 suspects, most of them criminal street gang members from Santa Nita, Brook Street, Sixth Street, and others. All but a handful were apprehended and went to State Prison.
In 2000 I became prosecutor for OPERATION GEMINI, a deep penetration investigation of the VAGOS outlaw motorcycle gang in three states: California, Nevada, and Hawaii. The Task Force was primarily composed of Special Agents from the Ca Department of Justice Violence Suppression Unit, federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Again I participated directly in the investigative program, travelling to Hawaii and Las Vegas, Nevada to provide legal guidance for informant development and immunity, evidence preservation, search warrants, and case planning. I was the first prosecutor in California to convict an outlaw motorcycle gang member under California’s “Street Terrorism Act.”
In 2001 I was the Orange County District Attorney liaison to the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center of the CA Department of Justice, assisting local law enforcement officers with investigations of identity theft and international trafficking in methamphetamine precursor chemicals committed by suspected associates of terrorist organizations.
Then in 2009 I was one of four Senior Deputy District Attorneys handpicked by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas to join the Felony Strike Team to address the problems posed by the economic downturn and explosion of felony cases clogging the trial courts.
Through this cascade of years I was married and raised two sons. My first, Kevin, is now a producer and broadcast journalist for the program Offramp for 89.3 FM KPCC radio in Los Angeles.
My second son Phillip just finished the fifth grade with all A’s and A+’s….of course we hope this lasts through high school!