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Los Angeles County, CA June 5, 2012 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for Jackie Lacey

Candidate for
District Attorney; County of Los Angeles

This information is provided by the candidate


Jackie Lacey is Chief Deputy District Attorney of Los Angeles County, the second-in-command to District Attorney Steve Cooley. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the nation's largest local prosecutorial office with nearly 1,000 attorneys, approximately 300 peace officers and more than 800 support staff members.

For the past decade, Jackie has served the District Attorney's Office as a trusted member of its management team.

As a longstanding member of the District Attorney's executive management team, Jackie has reviewed almost every major case involving public corruption, police misconduct, organized crime, complex fraud and other crimes since 2004.

For 10 years, Jackie served on the District Attorney's special circumstance committee, which reviews the evidence in every death penalty-eligible case in the office and makes recommendations on the appropriate penalty in these cases.

Jackie assists the District Attorney in making high-level policy decisions affecting the pursuit of justice and management of the District Attorney's Office. She considers federal, state and local legislation to determine their impact on the operation of Los Angeles County's criminal justice system.

Jackie is an innovative and respected leader who has overseen the development of several groundbreaking crime-fighting initiatives within the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. These include the nation's first Animal Cruelty Prosecution Program, the Graffiti Prosecution Program and the Project Safe Neighborhoods Gun Prosecution Program.

The Animal Cruelty Prosecution Program was established in September 2007 to ensure that animal cruelty and neglect cases are prosecuted consistently and effectively across Los Angeles County. A veteran prosecutor is assigned to train prosecutors, law enforcement personnel and animal control officers to track all animal abuse cases. The District Attorney's Office also worked with Humane Society of the United States to launch a dogfighting tip-line in Los Angeles County.

The Graffiti Prosecution Program was created in response to the 2007 murder of Maria Hicks, a Pico Rivera grandmother who was gunned down after she honked her car horn, flashed her car lights and tailed a tagger who had just defaced a wall. The program trains law enforcement personnel to identify taggers through their graffiti and build solid criminal cases for prosecution even when no eyewitness exists. A system to track and monitor graffiti cases and maximize the use of probation conditions, such as restitution for damage and cleanup, also was developed.

Project Safe Neighborhoods Gun Prosecution Program was created by the federal government to partner with local law enforcement and prosecutors to address serious gun possession cases. Prosecutors from the District Attorney's Office were chosen to work with federal officials to assign these cases to the jurisdiction that could obtain the most protection for society.

To address gang violence, Jackie developed an automated program to track gang crimes. She also assigned prosecutors under her supervision to handle felony gang cases from filing to sentencing. While overseeing the Juvenile Division, Jackie revised the policy for direct filing of serious juvenile cases to adult court. She also initiated separate sexual assault and gang prosecution training for juvenile prosecutors.

Jackie represented the District Attorney's Office in the creation of alternative courts to deal with specific nonviolent offenders. These include the Los Angeles County Veterans Court, the Los Angeles County Women's Reentry Court and the Los Angeles County Co-Occurring Disorders Court.

The Los Angeles County Veterans Court was launched in September 2010 to help veterans suffering from mental health problems stemming from their military service receive treatment as an alternative to incarceration for nonviolent felonies.

Since May 2007, the Los Angeles County Women's Reentry Court has helped rehabilitate and reintegrate female parolees and probationers who face new felony charges. The court - a collaboration among the District Attorney's Office and several other county departments - uses residential treatment and mandatory drug testing, followed by up to 12 months of outpatient services, to address drug problems, domestic violence and other underlying issues that contribute to criminal behavior. The court saves more than $6.4 million a year in prison costs - or about $46,000 annually for each female offender returned to prison. Nearly 90 percent of the women do not commit more crimes.

The Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Commission presented participants with its 2009 Special Award for Best Interagency Cooperation and the Multi-Million Dollar Club Award for cost savings to the county.

The Los Angeles County Co-Occurring Disorders Court reduces recidivism and costly incarceration for nonviolent offenders who suffer from both mental illness and substance-abuse disorders. This multiagency program, which includes the District Attorney's Office, saves the county an estimated $690,000 annually by providing qualifying offenders with specialized treatment that is less expensive than jail and more effective in helping them function in society. For participating offenders, this program has led to an 85 percent decrease in days spent in jail, a 79 percent drop in the number of arrests and a 95 percent decrease in homelessness. The Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Commission presented participants with its 2010 Best Teamwork Award.

For her leadership in the office, Jackie was named one of the Top 100 Women Litigators by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal in 2009.


Jackie Lacey has prosecuted thousands of criminal cases, resulting in more than two decades of justice for the people of Los Angeles County. She tried approximately 60 felony cases to jury verdicts, including 11 murder cases. Jackie put a two-time murderer on California's Death Row.

Jackie won national attention for her successful prosecution of the county's first race-motivated hate crime. In that case, People v. Rojas, Bryant and Colwell, three Nazi Low Riders beat an older African-American man to death behind an Antelope Valley convenience store to earn their gang tattoos. All three defendants were sentenced to lengthy prison terms. Jackie was recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice in May 2000 for prosecuting this case and for participating on the Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee.

Jackie put a dangerous killer on Death Row in the case of People v. Richard Leon Browne. After a two-month trial, the jury deliberated less than two days before returning a death verdict against a career criminal convicted of two murders and 17 armed robberies.

Jackie also prosecuted a convicted child molester for 19 additional molestation counts involving other children. The case of People v. Robert Donaldson received media attention and highlighted the need for stricter enforcement of the state's sex offender registration laws.

Jackie was twice named Deputy District Attorney of the Month by the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for her dedicated service as a courtroom prosecutor.

In February 1994, Jackie received the Deputy District Attorney of the Month Award for her continued hard work on cases that originated in the San Fernando Courthouse, and then were transferred, after the Northridge earthquake, to the Van Nuys Courthouse for resolution.

Jackie also received the Deputy District Attorney of the Month Award in August 1995 for successfully trying two murder cases and a lengthy child molestation case within a period of six months.


Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jackie is the oldest daughter of Louis and Addie Phillips.  Jackie attended public schools and graduated from Dorsey High School. Her father, a City of Los Angeles Lot Cleaning employee, and her mother, a garment factory worker, encouraged Jackie to become the first in her family to attend college and to pursue a career in public service. Jackie earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) in 1979. She graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) Law School in 1982.

Jackie is married to her high school sweetheart, David Lacey, an investigative auditor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. They live in the San Fernando Valley and are active in Shepherd of the Hills Church, where Jackie is a Life Group Leader. Jackie and David have two adult children.


For the past four years, Jackie Lacey has volunteered one lunch hour a week to teach fifth-graders at Lorena Street Elementary School in Boyle Heights about the criminal justice system. Through the District Attorney's Project L.E.A.D. (Legal Enrichment And Decision-making), Jackie has taught students about the legal consequences of truancy, graffiti, drugs and other crimes. As part of the program, students visit Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall, the Museum of Tolerance, and the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles. At the end of each school year, Jackie helps the class prepare for a mock trial that focuses on bullying and the dangers of bringing a gun to school.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: May 27, 2012 15:39
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