Voters on Nov. 6 will select a new Los Angeles County District Attorney, choosing between two veteran prosecutors to replace retiring D.A. Steve Cooley. The winner will become the first new D.A. in 12 years for the largest local prosecutorial office in the nation.
Alan Jackson, the assistant head deputy of the Major Crimes Division, faces off with Jackie Lacey, Cooley’s second in command, in a race for is one of the most powerful and influential posts in the state.
Jackson touts his 17 years prosecuting criminal cases. Lacey touts her administrative experience, her 26-years in the DA’s Office, rising through the ranks from a front-line prosecutor to the second in command of the office.
“If you just look at our resumes, there’s no contest between relevant and important job history with regard to taking over the largest prosecutor’s office in the nation,” said Lacey, 55.
Jackson emphasized his courtroom skills and downplayed Lacey’s experience.
“There’s a big difference between my opponent and Steve Cooley,” said Jackson, 46. “Steve Cooley’s been running the office for the last 12 years. My opponent simply has not.”
Both candidates said that if elected they will expand the Public Integrity Unit, which targets corruption among public officials.
In her role, Lacey is responsible for the day-to-day operations for the office, which has nearly 1,000 attorneys, about 300 peace officers and more than 800 support staff.
She oversaw the development of the nation’s first Animal Cruelty Prosecution Program, the Graffiti Prosecution Program and the Project Safe Neighborhoods Gun Prosecution Program.
Lacey was born and raised in Los Angeles. Her father was a cleaner for the city, and her mother worked in a garment factory.
The first in her family to attend college, Lacey earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Irvine, and earned her graduate degree in law from the University of Southern California.
Lacey lives with her husband in the San Fernando Valley.
If she's elected, it would be the first time LA County would have an African American or a woman in the job.
Lacey has been endorsed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.
Jackson has prosecuted over 60 felony cases, nearly half of them murders.
In his nearly two decades as a prosecutor, Jackson prosecuted the case against Johnnie Espinoza, a leader of the Florencia-13 street gang, who murdered two teenagers and a 3-year-old in separate incidents.
He won convictions in the cases against the killer of race car driver Mickey Thompson and his wife and Phil Spector for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson.
Raised by a single mother in Texas, Jackson was a jet engine mechanic in the United States Air Force before earning his bachelor’s degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin. He earned his law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law.
Jackson is endorsed by former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan and former California Governor Pete Wilson.