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 serves as Division Chief and Deputy DA Terri Perez serves as Assistant Chief. In 2013, the branch issued cases on 2,817 felony defendants and 8,637 misdemeanor defendants. Deputy DAs took 55 felony and 88 misdemeanor defendants to trial, including those tried by the branch’s Gangs, 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 any change in disposition guidelines.
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 and DUI accidents and fatalities on rural roads.
Prosecutors in the East County Branch are experienced in 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. The branch was led during the year by Chief David Hendren and Assistant Chief Giacomo Bucci. In 2014, this branch reviewed and handled almost 15,000 cases submitted for criminal prosecution including 16 homicide cases.
South Bay Branch
The South Bay Branch of the District Attorney’s Office is located in the City of Chula Vista. The branch handles all misdemeanors and felonies that occur in Chula Vista, National City, Imperial Beach, Bonita, San Ysidro and Coronado. In 2014, the South Bay Branch was led by branch Chief Victor M. Nuñez and Assistant Chief Melissa Diaz. The branch routinely handles about 3,000 felony cases and more than 5,000 misdemeanor cases during the course of a year. In 2014, deputy district attorneys took 32 felony cases and 56 misdemeanor cases to jury trial. The branch includes Deputy District Attorneys from the Gangs, Family Protection, Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking, and the Narcotics divisions.
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. We are fortunate to have John Dunlap, an experienced Deputy District Attorney, handle these difficult cases and forge a good working relationship with our law enforcement partners. As part of an office wide initiative, the branch works with all of the law enforcement agencies in prosecuting crimes committed against peace officers. Two 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 by targeting our youth in the Sweetwater School District with the Open Doors to Justice Program for the middle and high schools students in South Bay.