Jacquelyn “Jackie” Lacey
For District Attorney of Los Angeles County
The office of the District Attorney of the County of Los Angeles is the largest prosecutorial county office in the United States and as such, the individual who is elected to serve in that capacity must be solidly qualified in the law, and be of unquestionable moral character and bound by the highest standards of ethically integrity.
The candidates presently vying for that office are all qualified according to the above standards and both Jacquelyn “Jackie” Lacey and Danette Myers, as veteran prosecutors, who have tried cases in virtually all areas of the county, as deputy D.A.’s, are eminently qualified to assume the reins of the top spot in the D.A.’s office. They have a broad approach, the legal and academic qualifications, decades of experience in the courtroom, and prosecutorial know-how to oversee the largest county prosecutor’s office in the nation consisting of 1,000 lawyers.
During a recent interview, the Sentinel interviewed four candidates for the D.A.’s office (Lacey, Myers, Robert “Bobby” Grace, and Carmen Trutanich) each of them was asked the same set of basic questions. The answers given by each candidate were very revealing relative to their objectives and aspirations for the office. One of those questions was: ‘What makes you the best candidate for district attorney?’
Lacey’s reply in part was: “I think my entire life has prepared me for this position. In the district attorney’s office, I have done every job except sweep the floor.” That in addition to the myriad of different kinds of cases she has prosecuted, gave her the aforementioned broad approach, legal qualifications and experience that the job calls for.
Myers, answering the same question said, “Having been a lifelong resident of Los Angeles County who has always been interested in the county,” and who, during her nearly quarter-century of service as a deputy D.A., has prosecuted about 200 jury trials, including 42 murder trials, “I have the experience, the education and the qualifications to head the office.”
The next question: ‘What is your position on AB109 … sending state prisoners to county jails to alleviate overcrowding?’ Myers said, in part, “… I think that the majority of people who commit crimes have drug problems. Let’s educate people and rehabilitate the people we can get to. You’re not going to get to the serial rapist with education and rehabilitation but you can get to people who are addicted to drugs or who have mental health issues.”
Lacey responded: “ I agree that California needed change … What I disagree with is how quickly he (the Governor) thrust the responsibility onto the county. AB109 was passed in less than a day …When we got the law, it took a team of lawyers a month to figure what it was about.”
Both Lacey and Myers seem to travel somewhat parallel paths towards the same goal based on their upbringing, socialization and community experience. They understand from the law ‘inside’ and from the ‘outside.’
Traditionally, law enforcement and the courts have usually had uneasy relations with communities of color, and it is how those communities relate to, interact with and are treated by the establishment, become the standard by which ‘to protect and to serve’ and ‘equal justice under the law’ become not mere nice-sounding slogans but practical applications. Being raised in Compton and the Crenshaw district respectively give Myers and Lacey additional unique perspectives to bring to the D.A.’s office.
Those perspectives and their decades of experience as deputy D.A.’s, are windows into why they support the November ballot initiative.
Myers said, in no uncertain terms, “… I’m not morally opposed to the death penalty. There are certain crimes that to me, society can say ‘you know what, that person is just bad’.”
Lacey said, “… I don’t think the answer is to do away with the death penalty because I believe after looking at some cases, it’s just the appropriate punishment.”
Among the candidates interviewed, the Sentinel believes that either Jackie Lacey or Danette Myers will best serve the County of Los Angeles and our community in achieving the quality of life that we continually strive for, not only for this generation but also for generations to come.