My name is Michael Hestrin. I was born in the Coachella Valley. My father was a Police Officer in Palm Springs. My mother moved to Palm Springs from Mexico in her teens, graduating from Palm Springs High School. A few years later, my parents met when my Dad pulled my mom over for a broken taillight. After letting her off with a warning, he then asked for her phone number. They married at the Banning courthouse, the same courthouse where I began my first assignment as a new Deputy DA thirty years later.
Previously a Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff, my father became a Palm Springs Police Officer in the late 1960’s, reaching the rank of Detective. During his tenure as a Palm Springs Police Officer, my father worked private security for Frank Sinatra and became the first school resource officer in the history of the Palm Springs Police Department. My father went on to become a Wyoming Marshall and is currently retired.
My mother came to the United States as a teenager to learn English. By working hard, she became a social worker and devoted her career to working with abandoned and abused children. During the last years of her career, she became an expert in the field and began testifying in child-custody proceedings on behalf of the state. She is currently retired and working part-time as a Spanish language interpreter at a Children’s Hospital.
I graduated from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in History in 1993. After college, I spent a year living in Mexico with relatives working as a reporter for a small newspaper based in Guadalajara. I returned home to attend Stanford University, School of Law. I graduated from Stanford in 1997, with a Juris Doctorate in Law and a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies.
Upon finishing my studies, I returned home to Riverside county to become what I always wanted to be: a Deputy District Attorney. I started as a volunteer Law Clerk in 1997 with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, until I was hired by then District Attorney Grover Trask as a Deputy District Attorney the following year.
I’ve spent the last 15 years as a line prosecutor in the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. During my years as a prosecutor, I had the honor to represent the People of Riverside County in some of the most difficult and challenging cases. I’ve completed 90 jury trials during my career. As the Trial Team Leader for the DA’s Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit, I prosecuted those who targeted and abused children. One notable trial I successfully prosecuted was the brutal murder of two-year-old Andrew Ibarra with a broom handle by his foster parent Cynthia Jackson. She was convicted of torture murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
For the past eight years, I have been assigned to the Homicide Unit where I have conducted more than 30 murder trials including 7 death penalty cases. I was the lead prosecutor in People v. Raymond Lee Oyler, a serial arsonist who started the 2006 Esperanza Fire killing five federal fire fighters from the Idyllwild area. Raymond Oyler is currently on California’s Death Row. In the case of People v. Javier Victorianne, three women were raped and murdered in Riverside and the Banning Pass area. Javier Victorianne was convicted and sentenced to death. In 2012, I prosecuted People v. Earl Ellis Green, the murder of Riverside Police Officer Ryan Bonaminio in Riverside’s Fairmount Park. Earl Green was convicted of murder and is currently on California’s Death Row.
For the last ten years, I have served on the District Attorney’s Homicide roll-out team, responding to homicide scenes and Officer Involved Shootings to provide legal assistance to Police and Sheriff’s Department. I have responded to more than one-hundred crimes scenes during my years on the roll out team.
I have been very fortunate to be recognized during my legal career. In 1999, I was Misdemeanor Prosecutor of the Year. The following year, I was the Felony Prosecutor of the Year. In 2003, 2005 and again in 2010, I was awarded Countywide Prosecutor of the Year. I was chosen by the legal publication The Daily Journal as 2008 “Top Twenty Lawyers under Forty” for all of California. In 2009, I was honored as the Statewide Prosecutor of the Year by the California District Attorney’s Investigator’s Association. In 2010, the California District Attorney’s Association recognized me as Outstanding Prosecutor for California.
In addition to prosecuting cases, I have conducted trainings for prosecutors, paralegals, law enforcement, Riverside County Bar Association members, and Social Workers in ethics, trial advocacy, sex offender prosecution, homicide prosecution, and Capital Case litigation. I’ve also been an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University for the last ten years teaching American Government, Introduction to Criminal Law and Procedure and Latin American History. I also teach Constitutional Law at California Southern Law School in Riverside.
During my years as a professor, I have volunteered to mentor college students who are interested in attending law school and have specifically worked with the Latino Student Organizations in order to encourage Latino students to consider a career in the law and law enforcement.
For the last six years, I have served as the President and the Vice-President of the Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Association (RCDDAA). With the help of my fellow board members, I transformed RCDDAA into an organization that not only advocates on behalf of the Deputy District Attorneys, but reaches out into the community to fundraise to be able to award college scholarships to graduating high school seniors and assist various Riverside County child-oriented organizations with donations to give back to the community we serve.
Throughout the 15 years I have worked as a prosecutor in the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, it has been my great honor to represent the People of Riverside County and to play a part in keeping them safe. In doing my job as a Deputy District Attorney, I have emulated the beliefs and standards of public service taught to me by my mother, my father and my grandfather. My father, Jerry Hestrin, proudly served his country during the Vietnam War and later patrolled the streets of this county as a police officer. My Grandfather Michael Hestrin Sr., a long- time resident of Hemet, proudly served his country in the Pacific theatre during World War II and is buried in Riverside’s National Cemetery next to my grandmother.
I currently live in Temecula with my wife. We attend mass at St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Church in Temecula.