East County Branch
The District Attorney’s East County branch is located in the City of El Cajon. The branch serves more than 20 communities and covers more than 2,000 square miles. Deputy District Attorney Michele Linley serves as the Division Chief, with Deputy District Attorney Terri Perez serving as Assistant Chief. In 2016, the branch reviewed cases on 2,877 felony defendants and 9,031 misdemeanor defendants. Deputy DAs took 58 felony and 69 misdemeanor defendants to trial, including those tried by the branch’s Gangs, Narcotics, Sex Crimes, Economic Crimes and Family Protection Divisions. Approximately 94 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 Native American 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.
Deputy DA’s 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. The branch also deals with cases involving drug smuggling across the international border into San Diego County, including large quantities of heroin and methamphetamine coming from Mexico.
North County Branch
The North County Branch of the District Attorney’s Office serves about one third of San Diego County’s population – about one million residents. Ten law enforcement agencies, including five sheriff’s substations, submit crime reports to the North County Branch, for prosecution. In 2016, the branch reviewed over 4,000 felony cases and more than 11,000 misdemeanor cases submitted for criminal prosecution. There are currently 14 active homicide cases.
South Bay Branch
The South Bay Branch of the District Attorney’s Office is located in the City of Chula Vista. It serves the southern portion of San Diego County, prosecuting all misdemeanors and felonies that occur in Chula Vista, National City, Imperial Beach, Bonita, San Ysidro and Coronado. In 2016, the South Bay Branch was led by branch Chief Rachel Cano and Assistant Chief Carlos Varela. Currently, the Chief is Dwain Woodley. The branch includes Deputy District Attorneys from the Gangs, Family Protection, Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking, and the Narcotics divisions. In 2016, the South Bay branch handled approximately 3,876 felony cases and 6,219 misdemeanor cases. Deputy District Attorneys took 48 felony cases and 52 misdemeanor cases to jury trial.
The South Bay branch prosecutes handles cases specific to crime in border cities because of its proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border. The branch works with the Department of Homeland Security to prosecute cases involving drug smuggling, identity theft and stolen vehicles that occur at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. The branch also prosecutes cases from R. J. Donovan State Prison and the county detention facilities in East Mesa. Chris Blaylock, an experienced prosecutor, handled these cases in 2016. As part of an office wide initiative to combat human trafficking, South Bay prosecutors organized panel discussions and trainings on this topic.
The South Bay branch is also heavily involved in the community, which it does through educating youth in the Sweetwater Unified School District. Programs such as the Open Doors to Justice, help 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.