Defends TV Ad in Race for District Attorney
by Tony Medley
Alan Jackson, a
candidate for Los Angeles District Attorney, was born in 1965 and was
raised by a single mother in Texas. He served as a jet engine mechanic
in the United States Air Force. He received his B.A. from the University
of Texas and his J.D. from Pepperdine Law School. He is a seventeen year
veteran of the District Attorney's office and was twice named Prosecutor
of the Year. He was lead prosecutor in the case against Phil Spector.
your TV ad you said that you are modernizing the DAs office. What do you
mean by that?
take a very modern prosecutor's approach to the District Attorney's
Office. So much as changed over the last several decades in prosecuting
cases. The law is very dynamic, ever-changing, and ever moving forward.
I've been tethered to the courtroom in such a way that I've kept up with
the changing law. I understand what a modern prosecution looks like as
opposed to what a prosecution looked like maybe 15 to 20 years ago. I
will bring that philosophy to the entirety of the DA's office. Things
like familial DNA, forensic science, things that were not even in the
vocabulary of a prosecutor tend to 15 years ago I've been dealing with
on a daily basis for a decade and a half.
trained many of the deputies on how to do a modern gang prosecution.
I've literally written the book on how modern gang cases should be
tried. That pamphlet that I wrote has been sanctioned by the Department
of Justice and was republished by the DOJ. It has been distributed all
over the country. That's an example of what I've been doing to modernize
the DAs office. I've also trained deputies within the DAs office on the
modern use of forensic science in a prosecution. I utilized those
forensic techniques in both the investigation and prosecution of Phil
Spector, in which I was the lead prosecutor.
Then you say that you're working to keep kids out of crime in the first
place. What does that mean?
I've been working, both within the courtroom and outside the courtroom,
with an eye toward juvenile justice reform and a different way of
looking how to keep kids out of crime in the first place. I sit on the
leadership Council of a nonprofit organization known as "partnerships
for children" in Compton. That group has as its core mission to support
the community in no small part to give the children opportunities that
they don't otherwise have. That includes vocational training,
afterschool programs, parenting programs for some of the parents in and
around the community. I've been working with them in an effort to bring
a prosecutor's approach to providing kids with what they need so they
can make the right decisions.
your ad you say, speaking of Jackie Lacey, "She is a political appointee
who was dishonest under oath to protect her boss." What's that about?
Jackie Lacey was not appointed to be chief deputy district attorney in
the office until after she announced her candidacy for District
Attorney. She admitted when asked by the Metropolitan news if that
appointment as chief deputy assisted in her candidacy, she responded,
"Of course it did. It gave me responsibility and a designation that I
would not otherwise have had."
thought that she had been the number two person in the office for 12
Absolutely not. She was made chief deputy only after she announced her
candidacy a little over a year ago probably.
What was she doing the prior 11 years?
She was working her way through the executive management. She was a
director for part of that time. She was an assistant DA for part of that
How was she "dishonest under oath to protect her boss" as you allege in
She was a named defendant in a federal suit naming her and others in the
office and the office itself for antiunion conduct. She testified in one
hearing that she had certain conversations with subordinates dissuading
them from joining the union, saying that the union would be a
"disaster," and that it would be bad for their career. That was at an
ERCOM, Employee Relations COMmission hearing, and
that was under oath. Several months later she went back on the witness
stand and recanted the story that she told the first time. She said, no,
that conversation didn't take place, that she never told the subordinate
that the union would be a disaster. By the way that testimony obviously
exposed District Attorney Steve Cooley and the office to enormous
Because that's illegal. In management you cannot dissuade a subordinate
from actively participating in a union. They have every right to. The
case law is legion on that point. They have the right to participate in
and join a union if they decide to.
Did Steve Cooley do something wrong?
I'm talking about exposing him and the office to liability. As the
District Attorney he and the DA's office would be exposed to liability
within that lawsuit based on her first testimony. She then went back six
months later and recanted that very testimony. She indicated in that
first testimony that she had some of these conversations with Steve. She
went back and recanted that testimony and said no, she didn't tell a
subordinate that it would be a disaster, she didn't tell a subordinate
that it would be bad for his or her career. When she was asked for the
difference between the two, why she was recanting her first testimony,
her excuse was that she was testifying the first time in the afternoon
and in the afternoon she has low blood sugar and she gets very confused
and doesn't think clearly and therefore did not understand the questions
that were being asked.
What would be the difference between her being District Attorney and you
being District Attorney?
think I bring a prosecutor's perspective to the office as opposed to an
that of an establishment bureaucrat. That's the biggest difference
between the two of us. The establishment, if you will, as all lined up
behind Miss Lacey. I'm talking about the establishment politicians,
people like Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
and the big unions.
Those folks have gotten behind Jackie Lacey in an almost partisan way.
I, on the other hand, don't represent the establishment. I'm sort of the
modern prosecutor coming in looking at it from an outside perspective
looking at how to serve the office as a prosecutor, not a politician,
not an administrator, and not a bureaucrat.
She claims that she is an experienced administrator and can come into
the office ready to go to work on day one, whereas it would take you a
couple of years to learn the job.
That's absolutely incorrect. Keep in mind that not only have I been in
court for the last 20 years, I've been supervising one of the most elite
divisions in the entire District Attorney's office, the major crimes
division. I've been leading the most consequential trial team for the
last 10 years.
you have an official position as a supervisor?
Yes. I'm the assistant head deputy of the major crimes division.
How many people do you supervise?
Since I've been the assistant head deputy, we've had a division of about
12 lawyers and another eight or so support staff.
How long have you been doing that?
Since about 2007. Keep in mind that Jackie Lacey complains that I
haven't been in management, but I have. I would hearken back to the year
2000 when the County of Los Angeles elected a man to office who hadn't
spent a single day in management, and that man is Steve Cooley. He
considered himself, and ran on the platform, that he was a prosecutor
above all else, not a bureaucrat and not an administrator. That's the
exactly the same thing with me. It certainly did not take Steve Cooley 2
to 3 years to get up to the job. I think I have the ability to deal with
what's ultimately rapidly changing the District Attorney's Office, and
that is technology and law.
Who is supporting you?
Former LA Mayor Richard Riordan, L.A. County Supervisors Mike
Antonovich and Don Knabe, and Rob Bonner, a former federal judge, former
head of the DEA, former head of Customs and Immigration, and former US
attorney for the Central District of California. I'm also supported by
more than 13 major newspapers in the County of Los Angeles, including
the Daily News, the Long Beach Press Telegram, Pasadena Star News,
Whittier Press Telegraph, the Daily Breeze, the Beverly Hills Courier,
and the San Bernardino Tribune. They have all said that I am the
independent candidate; I am the non-establishment candidate.
thing that I want to stress more than anything about my backing is that
I am backed by thousands of police officers, by dozens of police
associations in the County of Los Angeles, all the way from the Police
Associations of Inglewood, El Segundo, Pasadena, Glendale, and West
Covina. All those police associations are backing my candidacy. Why?
Because they understand that a true prosecutor is better suited than a
bureaucrat or an administrator who has not stepped foot into the
courtroom for 13 years to lead our office.
Are you going to make any changes from what Steve Cooley's doing?
can tell you that there will be no hard shifts one way or the other. I
don't believe that it's a correct philosophy to walk into an office and
start making broad sweeping changes on day one that upend what we've
been doing for years. It's been running relatively well for years, but
there are things that we could be doing better. I want to focus on
public integrity, violent crime, and modernizing the DA's office from a
technological standpoint as well as a prosecutorial standpoint. And
something we've already talked about, stopping crime before it starts,
inviting others, other department heads, working with other elected
officials to embrace community outreach that would give kids the option
and alternatives they need from a preventative standpoint.
Steve Cooley says one of his proudest accomplishments is how he's
increased the public integrity section.
Absolutely, and I applaud him for that. I think it needs to be focused
on even more. And given what we've seen as of late, I think we need to
pay very, very close attention to public corruption cases and how were
dealing with those cases on an ongoing basis with the public integrity