Changes in Personnel and Positions ##


[Interview 3: April 8, 1993]
Hicke

Let's begin this morning at the point when Pat Brown was elected governor, and so maybe we can pick up that story, because there was some interesting California politicking going on.


Poole

Yes. Well, Pat Brown had run for the office of attorney general of California in 1950, and he was elected. So he left the District Attorney's Office and was succeeded as district attorney by Tom Lynch, who had been the chief assistant. Tom Lynch then made some personnel changes in the staff. He had not been happy with the functioning of it, so he brought in Norman Elkington, who had formerly been an Assistant District Attorney in that office and who was out in private practice. Norman Elkington was a natural as a great trial lawyer. He was very thorough.


Hicke

Why did he decide to leave private practice?


Poole

My thought at the time was, and it still is so, that Norman had some heart problem which, in the daily hurly burly of private


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practice, could make you very uncomfortable. I think since he loved the work at the District Attorney's office, he wasn't going to be in court every day. He would be in court fairly intermittently, and he could select the cases that he wanted to try. And, also, he took charge of the grand jury. So that was kind of a nonadversarial sort of thing he had, and Norman did that and a number of administrative things. He frequently represented the office in various situations in the city government that took place.

Tom also then appointed a couple of us to the next highest positions in the office. I was appointed as the chief of the superior court. The name really doesn't tell you what the job was, but my function was to assign people to the trial or cases to watch over their assignments, to consult with them on cases, sometimes—very frequently, I guess—it would be to meet with the judges who might have problems with the way things were going in the office, and then to take my share of the tough cases and to see that they were done. Also, I and another lawyer—who was my contemporary and who did, somewhat, on the other side of the office the things I was doing too—we also had to prepare the office budget and all that sort of thing and get them prepared. Then Norman Elkington would take it out to the Board of Supervisors and take all the credit for it. [Laughter]


Hicke

That's the way of the world.


Poole

Yes, that's the way it is.


Hicke

Who would be the other contemporaries?


Poole

There was Francis Mayer. Francis Mayer is still around. He is a senior Superior Court judge now. He was a good trial lawyer, and he was a hard working fellow. He and I just got along splendidly. We sort of meshed with each other. Lots of times we got a great deal of fun out of the office. It was not a bad time.