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.

Alfred B. Chapman

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1867 - 1869
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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.

Cameron E. Thom

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1869 - 1873
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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.

Volney E. Howard

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1873 - 1876
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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.

Rodney Hudson

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1876 - 1877
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Rodney Hudson, the son of California pioneers, was the first native Californian to become District Attorney. Born in St. Helena in Napa County, he studied literature at the University of Michigan and attended law school in Tennessee.

Cameron E. Thom

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1877 - 1879
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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.

Thomas Bruen Brown

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1879 - 1882
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Thomas Bruen Brown was born in Washington, D.C. on October 25, 1847. He settled in Los Angeles in 1875 after graduating from Princeton University and Columbia University School of Law.

Stephen M. White

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1882 - 1884
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Stephen M. White, educated at Santa Clara University, arrived in Los Angeles in 1874 and was described by one historian as a "dynamic and brilliant" lawyer.

George M. Holton

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1884 - 1886
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George M. Holton was raised in Michigan and moved to California in 1872. He served as Los Angeles County District Attorney in 1884.

George S. Patton

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1886 - 1887
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George S. Patton was the first city attorney of Pasadena, in 1877. He also opened a Los Angeles law practice before being elected District Attorney in 1886.

J.R. Dupuy

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1887 - 1888
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Scant historical sources are available for J. R. Dupuy. What records do remain indicate Dupuy followed Patton as District Attorney in 1887 and served one year.

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