Spring 2023 & Fall 2022 Fellow
Ira K. Reiner served as the 39th District Attorney of Los Angeles from 1984-1992, heading the world’s largest local prosecutor’s office. During his tenure, Reiner emphasized environmental justice, and oversaw the creation of the Los Angeles County Environmental Crimes Strike Force. He also established himself as a leader on workplace safety by passing 1988’s Proposition 97, which restored Cal/OSHA, a statewide program aimed at protecting the health and safety of workers. Reiner also began prosecuting employers for workplace deaths, creating an Occupational Safety and Health Section in the District Attorney’s Office to keep workers safe while on the job.
Reiner got his start in politics as a member on the Los Angeles City Fire Commission in 1973. He was then elected to the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees in 1975. Reiner served as Los Angeles City Controller from 1977-1981, and was subsequently elected Los Angeles City Attorney from 1981-1984. After his time as District Attorney, Reiner returned to private practice. He later became President and CEO of the Los Angeles Homeland Security Advisory Council from 2010-2015.
Reiner is currently Visiting Faculty at the Argov Fellowship Program at Reichman University in Israel. He teaches US Political and Legal Systems there one semester annually. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in 1959 and from the Southwestern University School of Law with a Juris Doctor in 1964.
Spring 2023 Study Group: Who Will Guard the Guards? Police and Prosecutorial Misconduct
“Who Will Guard the Guards? Police and Prosecutorial Misconduct” examined from a ground-level view police and prosecutorial practices that have damaged the criminal justice system.
Topics included pre-textual traffic stops leading to elevated use of force; no knock warrants; use of jailhouse informants by police and prosecutors; qualified immunity for police and prosecutorial misconduct; police surveillance of political and social activist groups; improper prosecutorial trial practices; and additional topics according to class interest and current events.
Guests were invited to explain/defend their views and to challenge and to be challenged by those holding competing views.
Fall 2022 Study Group: Police and Prosecutorial Misconduct
“Police and Prosecutorial Misconduct” examined from a ground level view police and prosecutorial practices that have riven the criminal justice system.
Topics included pre-textual traffic stops leading to elevated use of force; no knock warrants; use of jail house informants by police and prosecutors; qualified immunity for police and prosecutorial misconduct; police surveillance of political and social activist groups; improper prosecutorial trial practices; and additional topics according to class interest and current events.
Guest were invited to explain/defend their views; challenge and be challenged by those holding competing views.
Spring 2023 & Fall 2022 Semester Recaps
Ira Reiner said this about his Spring 2023 experience at USC’s Center for the Political Future: “As I reflect on my all too brief time as a Fellow with the Center for the Political Future, my most enjoyable moments were with both the students in my study group and my fellow Fellows whose study groups I often sat in on, to my great benefit. The student’s lack of cynicism and guile was like a breath of fresh air. It was a treat to act as a travel guide to the ‘sausage factory’ to give the group a sense of how politics works – or doesn’t – with a view from the backstage. In the full spirit of the Center for the Political Future, our discussions were relaxed, open, and candid.”
Ira Reiner said this about his Fall 2022 experience at USC’s Center for the Political Future: “One’s point of view is determined by one’s angle of vision. I’ve had a lot of experiences that have molded my point of view, but interacting with the students who have a very different and diverse angle of vision has broadened my point of view. The very best part of being a Fellow is interacting with the students in our discussion groups. That’s the great fun of it.”
USC students in Ira’s study groups shared this about their experience:
“I learned so much about police misconduct and how we can move forward through systematic and minor changes. I loved being in an environment where I felt comfortable asking questions and being involved in discourse that is not always found in a typical college classroom.”
“As someone who wants to be a prosecutor, it helped to see the tense, fickle relationship between prosecutors and law enforcement. Ira’s history and experiences gave me insight into the role prosecutors play when prosecuting police and the decay in police departments that create many of the problems and controversies in modern policing. It was good talking to different guest speakers about their work and possible solutions. My favorite parts were the variety of guest speakers and interacting with Ira, since he is such an interesting person with loads of experiences and history in this subject.”
“Ira was very helpful with questions and brought in lots of experienced guest speakers. He contextualized his points with past cases/experiences. My favorite part was his ‘war stories,’ stories from his time as City/District Attorney. Participating in this group helped me stay in the loop with IR/POSC students and Fellows.”
“The study group is most certainly worth participating in. It gave me direct access to important figures in the political world and exposed me to ideas I may have never come across. It was fun and fulfilling to be able to speak with Fellows and my fellow students about topics I’m interested in, without the added burden of receiving a grade.”
Ira shared his thoughts on the importance of politics, his first political experience, and his advice for having respectful political discourse in his “Quick Takes: Q&A with CPF Fellow Ira Reiner” video.