Prosecutor Ken Lamb’s 600 felony trials over 20 years in the Los Angeles County’s district attorney’s office makes him “the Babe Ruth of trial lawyers,” District Attorney Steve Cooley tells the Los Angeles Times. “A hundred felonies is a big deal,” said Dave LaBahn, executive director of the California District Attorneys Assn. “I’ve heard of people who have done 350, maybe 400. But 600 felonies – that’s incredible.” The total includes 150 sexual assaults, 99 homicides, 15 special-circumstances cases, six insanity pleas, and two death penalty cases; 530 have ended in convictions.
Steve Cooley, Los Angeles County’s district attorney, said his office doesn’t keep track of such things.
“But no one in this office has any sense that anyone’s ever approached that,” Cooley said. “He’s the Babe Ruth of trial lawyers.”
The Times says Lamb’s case list is a “a litany of human sadness,” including the rape of a 68-year-old woman, a murderous shooting spree by a man who claimed he had been attacked by Terminator-style cyborgs, and the unprovoked shooting of an affluent man who went on a “Bonfire of the Vanities”-style trip to buy crack cocaine.
“I don’t cherry-pick,” said Lamb, 50, who resembles actor Roy Scheider. “I’ll try anything, because whether it’s a drug case or a murder case, you have to put the same level of effort into it.” He chalked up his long record to a system of preparing for multiple trials as cases come in, rather than deal with them one at a time after court dates are set. Lamb prosecuted 63 back-to-back cases, more than one a week, in 1992.
Larry Thaxton, a former public defender in Long Beach, said Lamb was known among Long Beach defenders as “the unbeatable D.A.”