|Chief Deputy District Attorney Jackie Lacey should be our next District Attorney|
The choice of who will lead the nation's biggest prosecutorial agency comes before voters next week amid a Presidential election that has, to a large extent, overshadowed local politics. Voters will nevertheless have to decide between two candidates to take over from Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, who retires after serving a record three terms as LA's DA.
Taking over from Cooley will be no easy task. Cooley won his three terms as DA because of his non-partisan, non-political leadership. His dedication to advancing the mission of the office, the pursuit of justice, is as unquestioned as it is unparalleled. One of Cooley's major policy changes when he took office was to re-write the policy for the prosecution of Third Strikes cases so that twenty-five years to life sentences would only be pursued in the most deserving of cases. He also created two dedicated divisions within the office specializing in rooting out corruption and fraud; the Public Integrity Division ("P.I.D."), which targets misconduct by elected and appointed officials such as 'the Bell Eight', and the Justice System Integrity Division ("J.S.I.D."), which prosecutes police officers, attorneys and judges.
Cooley's commitment to seeking justice for Los Angeles residents didn't stop at his Third Strikes policy and the creation of P.I.D and J.S.I.D.; it's been an on-going commitment. Recognizing the need to train law enforcement and prosecutors in the preservation and presentation of evidence that is used for DNA analysis, Cooley established the Forensic Sciences Section, a nationally recognized initiative that ensures that evidence is carefully preserved to eliminate the kind of 'cross-contamination' claims that were partially responsible for the collapse of the OJ Simpson murder trial. It also trains prosecutors on how to present this evidence in a way that jurors will be able to understand and appreciate. It is a major commitment to the safe and reliable prosecution of cases as crime detection and prosecution moves closer to the kind of cases jurors see on tv shows like 'C.S.I.'
Cooley also made history in obtaining justice for the victims of violent crime who have suffered at the hands of criminals who fled the border to Mexico where they could not be extradited. Cooley established the 'Escaping Justice' project which, through well-researched, sound and effective diplomatic entreaties, caused the Mexican government to change their policy of giving sanctuary cop-killers and rapists.
Cooley's is truly a remarkable legacy, and one that will be hard to follow. Such is his popularity with voters that many believe that if he was not retiring after 37 years of public service, he would easily win a record fourth term. He is, therefore, an extremely hard act to follow. So when voters go to the polls on November 6, 2012, they would do well to listen to who Steve Cooley believes is the best qualified to continue to effectively and fairly lead the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Steve Cooley has no doubt that his Chief Deputy, Jackie Lacey, is the most experienced and best qualified candidate to lead the District Attorney's office. He points to her 25 year career as both a experienced prosecutor and an effective executive in his administration. 'She is the best qualified, there is not a close second. I trust her implicitly to be the next great District Attorney of this County.' Cooley said.
Few would disagree with Cooley, and few do. Lacey's candidacy has been enthusiastically endorsed by the Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Police Protective League, La Opinion, The Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, and many others in law enforcement, local politics, and community leaders, as can be seen on Lacey's impressive endorsement page. Most recently Lacey secured the support of the 1,000+ Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorneys who voted 'overwhelmingly' for Jackie Lacey to be their next District Attorney.
When Steve Cooley steps down as LA's most popular District Attorney, LA voters could not do better than listen to the recommendation of the man who is best positioned to know who will best preserve the integrity of the Office of District Attorney and continue his legacy of fairly and evenhandedly administering justice.
Jackie Lacey should be our next District Attorney.