Meet the DA
District Attorney Jackie Lacey has spent most of her professional life as a prosecutor, manager and executive in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. On Dec. 3, 2012, she was sworn in as the 42nd District Attorney. She was re-elected in 2016, running unopposed.
Her top priority is keeping the streets of Los Angeles County safe from violent and dangerous criminals. She is committed to safeguarding our children from human sex traffickers, our seniors from financial elder abuse and our communities from environmental crimes that threaten our health and our livelihood.
District Attorney Lacey has worked with business leaders on how best to protect consumers from computer network intrusions that jeopardize our bank accounts and credit ratings. She also remains committed to prosecuting government officials who violate the public’s trust.
A Los Angeles native and graduate of the University of Southern California Law School, District Attorney Lacey leads a staff of roughly 1,000 lawyers, nearly 300 investigators and about 800 support staff employees.
She is the first woman and first African-American to serve as Los Angeles County District Attorney since the office was established in 1850.
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District Attorney Lacey created the Human Trafficking Unit that focuses on putting pimps behind bars and helping their victims. In recent years, gang members have been responsible for the proliferation of underage prostitution in Los Angeles County – a criminal enterprise that can be more lucrative than the sales of drugs or guns.
She launched the Elder Financial Abuse Outreach Campaign to alert seniors about scams that target them and their assets. The effort was honored in 2014 with the Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Commission’s Top Ten Award.
The District Attorney also initiated the office’s twice-monthly Fraud Alerts, which warn consumers – particularly seniors – about the latest fraud schemes affecting Los Angeles County.
District Attorney Lacey established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Crimes Rollout Team, which dispatches specially trained prosecutors and investigators to the scene of environmental threats and industrial accidents involving occupational deaths or serious injuries.
As founder and chair of the Los Angeles County Criminal Justice Mental Health Project, District Attorney Lacey led a multidisciplinary effort to develop a comprehensive mental health diversion program. An estimated 17 percent of the inmates in county jails are mentally ill. They often are unable to assist in their legal defense because of mental illness, resulting in longer – and more costly – incarceration and delayed justice.
Under her leadership, the office has undertaken a program to train law enforcement officers on how to more effectively interact with people in a mental health crisis.
In 2015, District Attorney Lacey received the Sam Cochran Criminal Justice Award by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The award recognizes work in the field of criminal justice that has advanced the fair and humane treatment of people with mental illness.
District Attorney Lacey also has worked to reduce overcrowding in jails and prisons. She has encouraged her prosecutors to route nonviolent offenders into alternative sentencing courts, in which defendants agree to participate in evidence-based treatment programs instead of incarceration. These defendants are less likely to re-offend than those in state prison.
Maintaining the office’s tradition of pursuing justice, in 2015 she created the office’s Conviction Review Unit to assess claims of actual innocence based on newly discovered evidence.
She is actively involved in the implementation of legislative and voter action, such as the Public Safety Realignment Act and the Three Strikes Resentencing Law. She successfully sought legislative reforms, including passage of a new law that gives counties a stronger voice when judges are considering the conditional release of sexually violent predators.
District Attorney Lacey joined the office in 1986. She won national attention for her successful prosecution of the county's first race-based hate crime murder.
She is active in her profession. District Attorney Lacey is a member of the National District Attorneys Association, the California District Attorneys Association and the National Black Prosecutors Association. She serves on the boards of the Los Angeles County Prosecutors Association and the Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles County.
District Attorney Lacey has received many honors, including the Trailblazer Award from the National Black Prosecutors Association; the Benito Juarez Attorney of the Year Award from the Mexican American Bar Association; the Distinguished Professional in Public Service Award from the University of California, Irvine; the Silver Achievement Award from the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles; and the Ernestine Stahlhut Award from the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles.
For five years, District Attorney Lacey dedicated one lunch hour a week to teaching fifth-graders at Lorena Street Elementary School in Boyle Heights about the criminal justice system. As District Attorney, she has led an effort to share Project LEAD, the office’s law-related education program, with other prosecutorial agencies across the country and internationally. The program expanded to schools in Quebec, Canada in 2015.
A graduate of the University of California, Irvine, and Dorsey High School, District Attorney Lacey began her legal career as an associate in a small civil law firm. She then became a trial deputy in the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office.
District Attorney Lacey and her husband, David, have two adult children.