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District Attorney
2000 - 2012

Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve CooleyA 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 judiciary.

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 cases.

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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Site updated: 31 Oct 2014

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