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Jackie Lacey Makes History
By Shirley Hawkins, Sentinel Contributing Writer
Published November 7, 2012

Jackie Lacey, L.A. County District Attorney-elect


She is the first Black and the first woman to become Los Angeles County District Attorney  

The battle for the district attorney’s seat between chief deputy assistant attorney Jackie Lacey and deputy district attorney Alan Jackson was fierce and heated, but on Tuesday California voters lined up at the polls and overwhelmingly cast their ballots for Lacey who as of press time, Wednesday, had captured 54.75 percent of the vote.

While her opponent, Los Angeles County Prosecutor, Alan Jackson, trailed Lacey after capturing 45.25 percent of the vote. 

The mood was jubilant as Lacey’s supporters celebrated her victory at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles where singer Macy Gray kept the crowd movin’ and groovin’. The evening proved to be especially significant for Lacey: the veteran prosecutor made history by becoming the first woman and the first African American to be elected as District Attorney in Los Angeles County since the office was first established in 1850.

Lacey, dressed in a striking pink jacket, was humble and emotional in her acceptance speech as she addressed her supporters. “First to all, I just want to thank my husband, David, who has done everything from serving as campaign treasurer to posting signs in our neighborhood,” she said.  “I thank my kids and my nephew Ladell, my lovely sister Carol Phillips. I thank her for her Saturday morning talks and that she said, ‘No matter what the outcome is, I am so proud of you.’”

Lacey’s lengthy experience in the district attorney’s office will serve her well. She previously told The Sentinel; “I believe anyone who leads the largest prosecutorial office in the nation should be someone with my qualifications, who is able to bridge gaps between people, who is a good listener, and who has the foresight to see changes ahead, and respond to those changes.”

Lacy will be faced with two crucial issues in her new role as Deputy District Attorney; the death penalty and overcrowded state prisons.  

“With regard to our county (Los Angeles), basically we are running out of room in the state prisons and the county jails, and it is time that we look at ways in which we can more efficiently address crime and look at long range solutions—particularly at those who may be suffering from unaddressed mental health issues,” Lacy previously pointed out.

Lacey also expressed her position on the death penalty. “I think the biggest fear, morally, of the death penalty is that we do not want to execute the wrong person,” she declared. “I think we need checks and balances in place.  Under my administration, (the D.A.’s) office (will) make absolutely sure the evidence points to the right person.  One of the reforms we have to do is streamline the appeals process.  It suffers from a lack of training for lawyers to handle those appeals.  Although I’m a prosecutor who has been on the side of seeking justice by seeking the death penalty, I believe everybody has a right to a fair trial.”

Lacey’s win comes with seasoned a wealth of experience: the prosecutor rose through the ranks to become chief deputy assistant attorney when outgoing Deputy District Attorney Steve Cooley elected her to the second highest ranking spot in March 2011. For the past 26 years, Lacey helmed the daily operations of the nation’s largest prosecutorial office that employed nearly 1,000 attorneys, 300 peace officers, and more than 800 support staff members.

Lacey is recognized as spearheading several groundbreaking crime-fighting initiatives within the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, including the Animal Cruelty Prosecution Program, the Project Safe Neighborhood Gun Prosecution Program, and the Graffiti Prosecution Program. 

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Lacey is a graduate of Susan B. Dorsey High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California Irvine. She attended the University of Southern California, where she obtained her law degree. Married to high school sweetheart David Lacey, an investigative auditor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, the Lacey’s have two adult children.

Lacey’s supporters include District Attorney Steve Cooley, California Attorney General Kamala Harris,  Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former Gov. Gray Davis,  NBA great and businessman Ervin “Magic” Johnson, Los Angeles Sentinel, La Opinion newspaper, The Los Angeles Times, The Los Cerritos Community newspaper, the Daily News, the Malibu Times, The Signal, Los Angeles County Police Chiefs Association and the county’s Democratic Party.

Categories: Political

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