East County Branch
The District Attorney’s East County branch is located in El Cajon. The branch serves 535,000 residents and covers more than 2,000 square miles. Deputy DA Mike Still served as the Division Chief in 2015, with Deputy DA Terri Perez serving as Assistant Chief. Michele Linley became the Division Chief in January 2016. In 2015, the branch issued cases on 2,134 felony defendants and 10,180 misdemeanor defendants. Deputy DAs took 57 felony and 100 misdemeanor defendants to trial, including those tried by the branch’s Gangs, Narcotics, Sex Crimes, Economic Crimes and Family Protection Divisions. Approximately 98 percent of all cases were settled prior to trial, providing a significant cost savings to the public without sacrificing public safety.
Because of its location and proximity to Indian reservations and casinos located in East County, the branch often handles cases involving crimes committed on the reservations or arising from casino activities. Our cooperation and partnership with the tribes, their Tribal Councils, tribal law enforcement, and the Sheriff’s Department has enabled us to successfully investigate and prosecute these cases resulting in increased public safety on the reservations and in the casinos.
The branch also deals with cases involving drug smuggling across the international border into San Diego County, with large quantities of heroin and methamphetamine coming from Mexico. Additionally, the branch handles serious DUI accidents on rural roads, resulting from drug and alcohol impairment.
Deputies in the East County Branch prosecute a wide variety of felony cases, including homicide, sexual assault, child molestation, property and financial crime, drug offenses and DUI cases. There are specialty units within the branch that exclusively handle domestic violence, gang, narcotics and economic crimes cases
North County Branch
The North County Branch of the District Attorney’s Office serves about one third of San Diego County’s population – some one million residents. Ten law enforcement agencies, including five sheriff’s substations submit crime reports to the North County Branch for prosecution. In 2015, the branch reviewed over 4,000 felony cases and over 12,000 misdemeanor cases submitted for criminal prosecution. There are currently eight active homicide cases.
South Bay Branch
The South Bay Branch of the District Attorney’s Office is located in the City of Chula Vista and serves the southern portion of San Diego County. The branch handles all misdemeanors and felonies that occur in Chula Vista, National City, Imperial Beach, Bonita, San Ysidro and Coronado. In 2015, the South Bay Branch was led by branch Chief Rachel Cano and Assistant Chief Melissa Diaz. The branch includes Deputy District Attorneys from the Gangs, Family Protection, Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking, and the Narcotics divisions. In 2015, the South Bay branch handled about 3,400 felony cases and more than 6,000 misdemeanor cases during the course of a year. Deputy District Attorneys took 44 felony cases and 67 misdemeanor cases to jury trial.
The South Bay branch handles unique cases because of our proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border. The South Bay Branch works with the Department of Homeland Security to prosecute cases that involve drug smuggling, identity theft and stolen vehicles that occur at the Port of Entry. The branch also prosecutes cases from R. J. Donovan State Prison and the county detention facilities in East Mesa. John Dunlap, an experienced Deputy District Attorney, handled these difficult cases in 2015. As part of an office wide initiative, the branch works with all of the law enforcement agencies in prosecuting crimes committed against peace officers. Vertical Deputy District Attorneys handle these cases in cooperation with the Crimes Against Peace Officers Unit.
The South Bay branch is also heavily involved in the community through mentoring youth in the Sweetwater School District. Through programs such as the Open Doors to Justice, South Bay middle and high schools students learn about the criminal justice system. The students meet and learn from attorneys, judges, court staff, and participate in mock court hearings.