veteran prosecutor brings the office into the 21st Century.
Steve Cooley joined the
District Attorney’s Office in 1973 as a law clerk. He became a
deputy district attorney later that year. He ran for election in
2000 and won in a landslide. He was re-elected in 2004 and in 2008
became the first District Attorney in more than 70 years to be
re-elected to a third consecutive term.
At the start of his first term,
he led a massive reorganization of the office based on his
experience there and his nearly six years as a reserve officer with
the Los Angeles Police Department. As part of the reorganization,
Cooley created the Public Integrity Division to take on public
corruption and the Justice System Integrity Division to focus on
criminal misconduct by lawyers, law enforcement officers and the
Cooley was a statewide leader
and strong advocate for expanding and improving the use of DNA
technology to solve crimes, take rapists and killers off the streets
and exonerate the innocent. Under his direction, the office
co-authored Proposition 69, which was approved by voters in 2004 and
widely expanded the state’s criminal offender DNA database.
He led a successful effort to
extradite murderers – including the killer of a Los Angeles County
sheriff’s deputy – and other violent criminals from Mexico for
prosecution in the United States.
Cooley made the growing threat
posed by computer-related crimes a priority throughout his tenure
and created the High Technology Crime Division to address these
To advance public safety, he
created the Criminal Justice Institute to provide training
opportunities for criminal justice professionals in the county.
Cooley also initiated the Animal Cruelty Prosecution Program, the
first of its kind in the nation, to ensure that cases of animal
cruelty, including dogfighting, cockfighting and animal abuse and
neglect, were prosecuted consistently and effectively.
During his tenure, Cooley hired
more than 400 new prosecutors, which he considered his most enduring
contribution to the office.
Cooley retired at the end of
his third term.
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06 Oct 2014