Family Protection Division
The Family Protection Division prosecutes crimes of murder, domestic violence, stalking, crimes against children, and elder abuse. The division strongly supports victims of crime and works closely with criminal justice agencies and community partners. The division is led by Division Chief Valerie Summers and Assistant Division Chief Teresa Santana.
In 2012, the unit filed thousands of felony and misdemeanor charges including 664 domestic violence felonies and 1,622 domestic violence misdemeanor charges. The unit also filed charges in 244 child abuse cases, 22 internet crimes against children cases and 266 elder abuse cases.
Today's misdemeanor can be tomorrow's homicide. The DA's Office has specially-trained deputy DAs across the county handling only misdemeanor domestic violence, from the earliest stage (issuing) all the way through the trial. Handing cases vertically (one deputy DA assigned to the case) ensures better courtroom efficiency, better perpetrator accountability and better victim safety.
In 2012, The District Attorney's Office has continued working with the "High Risk Team," created in 2011 to improve community response and victim support in the most dangerous situations. The team, which is led by the DA's Office, consists of various local police agencies and non-governmental groups who meet regularly to connect the numerous organizations involved in domestic violence prosecution and victim support.
In a true community-partnering effort, our office spearheads a grant titled, "The HOPE Team." Our office along with Adult Protective Services, San Diego Police Department and The Center for Community Solutions, bring together agencies with the goal of protecting senior citizens. The team meets weekly and discusses individual cases in order to best serve victims. The team makes home visits, assists in legal advice and takes care packages to seniors in need. Highly-trained deputy DAs along with victim advocates have proven that rapport and relationships with elderly victims endure well beyond the prosecution of any particular case.
Child Abduction Unit
The Child Abduction Unit was busy with 647 contacts that led to 57 cases being opened and 55 children recovered. The investigators in this unit recover children locally and internationally including Mexico, Sweden, Tunisia, and Singapore.
Internet Crimes Against Children
The Internet Crimes against Children Task Force (ICAC) is comprised of law enforcement officers and prosecutors from the local, state, and national levels who work together to reduce online sexual exploitation of children. The unit has Deputy District Attorneys trained in prosecuting crimes involving exploiting children on the internet. Efforts include full-time online investigation of Internet predators, aggressive prosecution of offenders, as well as community outreach to schools and parents.
Cases of note in the Family Protection Division during 2012 include:
People v. Jennifer Trayers
The defendant stabbed her husband seven times and inflicted 37 superficial wounds to herself. She was angry because her husband was having affair, even though she had previously had one herself. The defendant sent an email to the girlfriend saying she was the last woman with the victim before he died. The jury convicted the defendant of second-degree murder and she was sentenced 16 years-to-life.
People v. Miguel Garcia
Mr. Garcia and the victim were involved in a romantic relationship before she broke it off. After the breakup, he began stalking her for which he was convicted and sent to jail. As soon as he was released, he began stalking the victim again and was charged a second time with stalking and eventually sent to prison. When Garcia was released in 2012, he again started stalking the same victim. A jury convicted him of his third stalking offense and he was sentenced to the maximum, six years state prison.
People v. Dontaye Henderson
Henderson, a parolee, shot his wife in the chest in front of their 6-year-old daughter. He then fled by getting a co-worker to give him a ride. He was arrested in another state and brought back to face criminal charges. He was convicted of murder and use of a gun. Because of his previous criminal record, Henderson was sentenced to 80 years-to-life.
People v. Lawrence Hoagland
The defendant hid a pipe bomb in his wife's truck and armed it to explode when she started it. The bomb exploded and severely injured the victim. A subsequent investigation showed Hoagland tried to blow her up twice before. The victim was unaware of her husband's intentions. He was convicted by a jury of attempted premeditated murder and other allegations. He was sentenced to 13 years-to- life.
People v. Ut Huynh
Mr. Huynh was convicted of sexually molesting his 8-year-old daughter. The girl told her mother, who later confronted the defendant and told him to stop. She did not call police. The defendant continued with the abuse, so child told a teacher, who reported the crime. The defendant was convicted of two counts of unlawful intercourse with a minor. He received 50 years-to-life.