DA Administration

Administration

District Attorney Jeff W. Reisig is assisted in administering the District Attorney's Office by:

* Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven
* Chief Investigator John Ehrk
* Chief of Finance and Administration Debbie Geisser

Additional administrative leadership is provided by Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney's Steve Mount and Melinda Aiello, Victim Services Program Coordinator Laura Valdes-Virgen and MDIC Program Director Cameron Handley. These people are supported by an administrative staff that provides financial, personnel and operational support.

Prosecuting with Integrity

Prosecuting with Integrity - Seeking and Doing Justice

Courthouse2There are over thirty deputy district attorneys employed by the District Attorney's Office practicing within the Criminal Division.

The attorneys are responsible for the prosecution of all adult and juvenile felonies and misdemeanors committed in Yolo County. They are all responsible for calendar coverage and appearing in the ten departments of the Superior Court.

The Deputy District Attorneys are assigned to either specialized units or the felony and misdemeanor/juvenile teams.

The felony team handles all felonies such as: homicide, robbery, burglary, narcotics and "white collar" crimes.

The misdemeanor / juvenile team prosecute all misdemeanors such as drunk driving, driving on a suspended license, petty theft and all juvenile cases.

Conviction Integrity Unit

Conviction Integrity UnitThis Unit reviews and investigates claims of innocence raised after a criminal conviction involving homicides, sex offenses and violent crimes. The unit may examine claims of innocence in other types of cases if a significant prison commitment or collateral consequence indicates that an examination of the case is warranted. In addition, the Unit shall be responsible for ensuring that any claim of Prosecutorial Misconduct made during the pendency of any criminal matter is thoroughly investigated and litigated prior to the completion of that pending criminal matter.

The Unit shall consist of the Assistant Chief Deputy and an assigned Deputy District Attorney. No assigned personnel shall conduct the examination and/or investigation into any matter that he/she was assigned as the primary prosecutor during the pendency of the initial prosecution. Any other Deputy District Attorney assigned to assist in the examination and/or investigation of a conviction integrity case shall not have had responsibility for the initial prosecution of the case.

Protocol

All Post-Conviction claims of actual innocence, no matter in what form the claim is raised, shall be forwarded to the assigned Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney for review. The Assistant Chief Deputy shall insure that the claim is properly documented in our Case Management System, LawSuite, and that the claim and the file are uploaded and assigned an entry number.

The Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney shall review each claim to determine whether any further action or investigation is warranted. If after conducting the initial review a determination is made that the claim does not warrant further investigation, the Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney shall notify the defendant (or requesting party) and any known counsel that no further action will be taken on the claim. Claims with strong indicia of actual innocence will be investigated by Unit personnel.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney shall determine whether all avenues of inquiry have been exhausted and whether based on the investigation there is a plausible claim of innocence. The existence of a reasonable doubt does not necessarily result in a conclusion that the defendant is actually innocent, the conclusion must be that there is clear and convincing evidence that there exists a plausible claim of actual innocence in the case.

Case Review

The Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney shall prioritize the examination and review of cases as follows:

  1. Homicides;
  2. Sexual Assault Cases;
  3. Violent and Serious Felony cases involving substantial state prison commitments; and
  4. Other felony cases involving a substantial prison commitment or other significant collateral consequence.

While cases where a defendant entered a plea of guilty or no contest will not be excluded from review, as the possibility exists that an innocent defendant may have plead to a crime he/she did not commit to avoid a potential significant sentence.  However, these cases require greater scrutiny and the Claim of Innocence initially submitted must be compelling. To submit a claim of innocence, please fill out the CIU Request Form and deliver it to our office.

There shall be greater scrutiny when there are claims of actual innocence that cite newly discovered evidence that bears on innocence or that raise claims that have been found to be “red flag” issues such as misidentification, witness recantation, lying by an informant/cooperator, meaningful claims of alibi, or substantial Brady violations that would appear to involve actual innocence.

Caveats

As a general policy, the Unit will not investigate, in the absence of other compelling justification, claims where a defendant knew or should have known the basis of his/her current claim at the time of the conviction, or where the defendant now disavows his/her trial testimony and offers a different theory of innocence. In addition, except where there is a compelling showing that a guilty or no contest plea was entered to avoid a more significant sanction, the defendant must have continually maintained his/her innocence from the inception of the case.

Investigations

Enforcement Officer BadgeThe Yolo County District Attorney's Office Investigations Bureau is comprised of sworn peace officers and support staff focused on the organizational mission to Seek Justice. Do Justice. Most of the Bureau staff come to the District Attorney's Office with a variety of investigative experience and expertise.

The primary role of the Investigations Bureau is to provide support to trial attorneys and local law enforcement in building trial-ready cases. Often there is a considerable amount of supplemental investigative work that the Bureau staff conducts after a case is handed off to the District Attorney's Office from a local law enforcement agency.

Investigations Press Conference

The Investigations Bureau also has a role in building criminal investigations from the ground up. Members of the Bureau participate in the county Gang Task Force, Yolo County Narcotics Enforcement Team, and Vehicle Theft Abatement Team. Additionally, select investigative staff also provide investigative services through the DA's Fraud Unit and the Consumer Fraud and Environmental Protection Division (CFEPD). Members of the Fraud UniHigh Tech Investigationst focus on issues related to Real Estate fraud, Life Insurance and Annuity fraud, Workers' Compensation Insurance fraud and Auto Insurance fraud. CPEPD staff conduct investigations of business practices and crimes against consumers as well as crimes that harm the environment.

The District Attorney's Office also provides the specialized resources for child sexual assault forensic interviews at the Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center (MDIC), and conducts the bulk of the digital forensic analysis for the county in the High Tech Crimes Unit.

Administrative Services

Administrative Services are responsible for assisting prosecutors, investigators and the professional (support) staff in fulfilling the mission of the District Attorney, to pursue truth and justice for victims and our communities with commitment, courage and integrity. The division is overseen by a Chief of Finance and Administration, this division provides a wide range of services to support the operational needs of the District Attorney’s Office. This includes an Information Technology Unit; Clerical Support; Grants; and the Fiscal and Administrative Units. The dedicated women and men in these units work behind the scenes to accomplish the critical functions that keep the District Attorney’s Office running. The division meets the computer and networking needs of the largest law firm in the county, provides the clerical support necessary to handle approximately 10,000 criminal cases each year, administers the operating budget, and provides human resources support to approximately 120 employees and volunteers.

Outstanding Employees

The District Attorney's Office prides itself on having an extremely dedicated, competent, professional and capable staff. Each year, in celebration of our employees, we have staff vote for the Peer Award for Outstanding Employee in 6, separate categories: Prosecutor, Manager, Advocate, Investigator, Enforcement Officer and Professional Staff. The competition is fierce as all of our employees are valued for their professionalism and work ethic.

The 6 staff members chosen each year don’t just do their jobs well, they take the initiative to fill office and community needs and in leading by example. Their colleagues, and even their supervisors, look to them for advice and revere them for their passion and problem-solving skills. This year, District Attorney Jeff W. Reisig also passed out his own awards to staff for exemplary effort in the performance of their duties:

2014 Peer Awards

Professional Staff of the Year     Lori Hendrix

The professional staff are all great workers who are dedicated to the mission of the office; it was difficult to pick one that shone slightly brighter than the other bright stars on Floor 1.  I picked Lori Hendrix because she went so above and beyond the expectations in assisting with the Aquelin Talamantes trial.  For months, Lori prepared and tracked almost a hundred Subpoenas Duces Tecum, created case preparation charts and accommodated a host of other unusual and hurried requests without a word of complaint.  She basically made herself a paralegal to help win this trial.  Lori always presents herself as upbeat and professional and is always willing to help her colleagues and even mentor younger attorneys.  I hope Lori Hendrix gets the vote.

Advocate of the Year     Julia Hernandez

In the words of a survivor in a message sent to our office: " My Name is Carla Crane.  My daughter was Leslie Pinkston, who was murdered by William Gardner. Everyone associated with the prosecution of William Gardner exceeded my expectations, but the shining light in all of this was Julia Hernandez.  I cannot express enough the importance of her job.  I would not have made it through this ordeal with any semblance of sanity if it had not been for Julia.  She was genuinely caring, explained the process to me in detail, let me know what was expected to be introduced into evidence each day of the trial so I could prepare myself and assisted me with the Victims Compensation Program.  If she told me she would take care of something, I knew I would not have to give it another thought.  She was there for me every step of the way and I will be forever indebted to her."

Enforcement Officer of the Year     Angela Smith

Angela Smith has been recognized by Child Abduction Units across the state as a resource which reflects highly upon this office as well as our own CAU program.  Angela is a tireless worker, and has a way of speaking to volatile parents in a calming fashion.  More recently Angela was a major contributor in successfully recovering a 6 year old child who had been concealed by her mother for the last 5 years.  Her knowledge, tenacity and ability to work with numerous agencies were called upon to manage a successful outcome.

Investigator of the Year     Kristine Fitzgerald

"Honor, commitment and courage" is the motto of the Navy; Kristine brought that ethic with her from the armed forces to law enforcement.  Kristine is always busy and well organized.  She doesn't mess around when it comes to getting the tasks done.  You can always count on her, she is very easy to talk to and is very knowledgeable in her work.  She was assigned to two high profile murder cases in which her investigative efforts were instrumental in the successful prosecution.  She does not stop when she hits a wall, instead she finds away to get over and around any road block that stops her from her ultimate goal/task.  She is well known for her communication skills and offering up sound investigative advice.  Kristine's enthusiasm is contagious and she is a credit to the Investigations Bureau and this office and she should be recognized for her outstanding performance.

Manager of the Year     John Ehrk

It is my pleasure to nominate Investigations Lieutenant John Ehrk as the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office Manager of the Year for 2014.  Lieutenant Ehrk has “raised the bar” and established a new standard for responsive, high quality investigations.  He successfully develops his staff and makes strong employees stronger.  He is not afraid to tackle any challenge, viewing each one as opportunities to expand his own skill set.  He examines the issues thoroughly, basing his decisions on supported facts.  He finds constructive solutions for any problem; doing so with an awareness and consideration for all those involved.  Further, he jumps into investigation of cases and does not just lead from his desk.  Lieutenant Ehrk’s performance consistently reflects great credit upon himself and the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office.  His dedication, work ethic and initiative serve as a sterling example for others to follow.  Lieutenant Ehrk has facilitated a team atmosphere throughout the various elements within our organization and has become a go-to resource for allied agencies.  He is a respected colleague, an exceptional leader and is more than deserving of his selection as the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office Manager of the Year.

Prosecutor of the Year     Mike Cabral

While historically the award for "Prosecutor of the Year" has been limited to line-level prosecutors, this is a year where the contributions of Assistant Chief Deputy Prosecutor Michael Cabral should trigger an exception. In 2014, Mike successfully litigated multiple capital cases through jury trial, including the double homicide case involving Daniel Marsh. At the same time, Mike oversaw all charging in the office, grand jury issues, fraud cases and a plethora of other day-to-day duties. He helped create and launch a new conviction integrity unit and he provided valuable training to his colleagues in areas of Brady and more. Most importantly, Mike did it all with a high level of emotional intelligence in his interactions with everyone. Mike is leaving us at the end of this year. He has earned this parting award.

Anne Busta Perpetual Award of Excellence             Wendy Wilcox

Wendy takes charge, is loyal, funny, honest and helpful and does her best to accommodate everyone's needs.  I've witnessed her under intense stressful situations, going in 5 different directions, and then her phone rings.  She is so pleasant and helpful the caller never has a clue. She is a great friend and coworker, and a person you can always count on to make everyone smile.

2013 Peer Awards | 2012 Peer Awards | 2011 Peer Awards | 2010 Peer Awards | 2009 Peer Awards 

2008 Peer Awards | 2007 Peer Awards | 2006 Peer Awards | 2005 Peer Awards