The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is the largest local prosecutorial office in the United States.
Members of the District Attorney’s staff strive to vigorously, effectively and fairly prosecute all those who break laws in Los Angeles County and see that those convicted are appropriately punished.
The office’s top priority is the prosecution of violent and dangerous criminals – murderers, rapists, gang members, child abusers and robbers among them.
Nearly 1,000 attorneys, known as deputy district attorneys, prosecute more than 71,000 serious crimes called felonies throughout Los Angeles County each year.
They also prosecute roughly 112,000 less serious crimes known as misdemeanors in unincorporated areas and in 78 of the county’s 88 cities. Ten cities, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Monica and Pasadena, have city prosecutors who handle misdemeanor crimes and municipal code violations that occur within their jurisdictions.
Deputy district attorneys are prosecutors who represent the people of the State of California. They review investigations conducted by law enforcement agencies and decide whether there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges. They also decide what charge or charges, if any, are appropriate based on the evidence presented. Prosecutors handle court proceedings, including trials, that may follow the filing of criminal charges.
The District Attorney’s Office prosecutes cases in a large geographical area covering 4,083 square miles. Its jurisdiction stretches from the Antelope Valley to Long Beach and from Pomona to Malibu. Los Angeles County, with more than 10 million residents, is the nation’s most populous county – larger in population than 42 states.
Criminal cases are filed at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles and at branch, area and juvenile courthouses throughout Los Angeles County. Deputy district attorneys work closely with local law enforcement personnel in their respective regions to investigate and prosecute criminal activity.
Deputy district attorneys also are assigned to specialized units established to combat gangs, public corruption, organized crime, family violence, hate crimes, elder abuse, consumer fraud and other high-impact crimes.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office maintains a staff of nearly 300 sworn peace officers, known as DA investigators, who conduct some of the most unique, sensitive and complex criminal investigations in law enforcement.
DA investigators function primarily to provide prosecution support to deputy district attorneys. They locate and process witnesses and conduct supplemental pretrial investigations to help strengthen the prosecution’s case. In some cases, such as those involving public corruption, they conduct their own independent investigations.
The Bureau of Investigation is the county’s fourth largest law enforcement agency. Its staff also assists other law enforcement agencies with vehicular and electronic surveillance, undercover operations and photographic services.
More than 800 clerical and support staff round out the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. They include victim services representatives, who assist and guide crime victims through the criminal justice system.
An elected district attorney is responsible for running the office.
Every four years, the voters of Los Angeles County elect a nonpartisan district attorney to serve as their chief prosecutor. A candidate for office must be a law school graduate and member of the State Bar of California.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office was established by an act of the California Legislature on Feb. 27, 1850.