Office History

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office was created by an act of the California State Legislature on Feb. 27, 1850. There have been 42 District Attorneys who have served the county, starting with William C. Ferrell. You may learn more about each District Attorney below.

William C. Ferrell

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1850 - 1851
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District Attorney William C. Ferrell – elected April 1, 1850, in a contest in which three hundred seventy-seven votes were cast – was the people's prosecutor in the First Judicial District, which included San Diego and Los Angeles counties.

Isaac K. Ogier

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1851 - 1852
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Isaac K. Ogier, an attorney from Charleston, South Carolina, came to California as a Forty-Niner, then turned up in Los Angeles in 1851.

Kimball H. Dimmick

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1852 - 1853
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New Yorker Kimball Dimmick came west as a United States Army officer. He then became an alcalde and Judge of the First Instance in San Jose under the military to statehood in 1849.

Benjamin Eaton

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1853 - 1854
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Benjamin Eaton, arriving from New England, became District Attorney in 1853 and subsequently served as county assessor in 1857.

Cameron E. Thom

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1854 - 1857
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Cameron Thom came to California from Virginia as a Forty-Niner. He moved to Los Angeles in 1854. One of his first cases as a defense attorney was a controversial murder charge against Dave Brown, a well-known gambler.

Ezra Drown

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1857 - 1859
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General Ezra Drown, a brigadier-general of the militia in Iowa, came to Los Angeles in 1853. He, his wife and two small boys were aboard the steamship Independence as it traveled up the Mexican coast from the Isthmus of Panama.

Edward J.C. Kewen

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1859 - 1861
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Originally from Mississippi, Edward J.C. Kewen was California's first Attorney General. Later, he moved to Los Angeles and entered politics, becoming superintendent of the Los Angeles City schools in 1858 and District Attorney a year later.

Ezra Drown

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1861 - 1863
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General Ezra Drown, a brigadier-general of the militia in Iowa, came to Los Angeles in 1853. He, his wife and two small boys were aboard the steamship Independence as it traveled up the Mexican coast from the Isthmus of Panama.

Alfred B. Chapman

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1863 - 1864
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Alfred Beck Chapman, a West Point graduate, came to Los Angeles in 1854 and was the city attorney prior to serving as District Attorney in 1867.

Volney E. Howard

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1864 - 1867
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Volney Howard practiced law in San Francisco, but was asked to leave after he opposed the local vigilance committee. He was a respected lawyer in Los Angeles and was elected to four two-year terms as District Attorney.

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