2015 Staffing
Support Staff13

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. In 2015, the division was led by Chief Valerie Summers and Assistant Chief Teresa Santana. During this time, the division received 7,680 cases for review. It prosecuted 1,742 domestic violence cases of which 433 were felonies and 1,309 were misdemeanors. In addition, there were 360 child abuse cases and 47 Internet crimes against children cases prosecuted along with charges filed in 287 elder abuse and 28 assisted living facility cases received by our office for review.

Domestic Violence

Today’s misdemeanor can be tomorrow’s homicide. That’s why the DA’s Office has specially-trained Deputy District Attorneys across the county handling misdemeanor domestic violence cases from the earliest stages. The office also prosecutes felony domestic violence committed in the county. Having the same prosecutor handle domestic violence cases from beginning to end ensures better courtroom efficiency, better perpetrator accountability, and better victim safety.

In 2015, the District Attorney’s Office continued its leadership in four “High Risk Teams” across the county. These teams were created in 2011 to improve community response and victim support in the most dangerous situations. The multi-disciplinary teams, led by the DA’s Office, consists of various local police agencies and non-governmental groups who meet regularly to connect victims with support.

The “San Diego County Domestic Violence and Children Exposed to Domestic Violence Law Enforcement Protocol” was launched last year. This is a county-wide protocol trains first responders and all professionals handling domestic violence cases so there is a coordinated community response. The District Attorney’s office dispatched Deputy District Attorneys to attend police training briefings to update law enforcement on the changes in the law as well as provide them with materials and resources on how to continue best practices in the handling of domestic violence cases.

Elder Abuse

The Elder Abuse Unit consolidated its newly formed Assisted Living Facility subunit last year by developing a working protocol with both Community Care Licensing and the local Attorney General’s office. We established a format whereby our office alternated every other month with the AG’s office in being the lead agency in responding to complaints referred by Community Care Licensing and meeting with them, the Ombudsman’s office and the Attorney General on a regular basis.

Our unit responded to numerous requests for speaking at various events in the county – both to seniors and local law enforcement. One highlight was the launch of a successful campaign called “Don’t Get Hooked” in partnership with San Diego County Board of Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s office and Adult Protective Services.

Notable cases include:

The People v. Mansury
The adult defendant daughter was convicted of first-degree murder for killing her 78-year-old mother.

The People v. Payton
Multiple defendants were convicted for stealing wallets from unsuspecting female elderly shoppers.

Internet Crimes Against Children

The DA’s Office is committed to aggressively prosecuting the exploitation of children on the internet. Several Deputy District Attorneys are assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, a dedicated group of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers and prosecutors. The number of ICAC cases the DA’s Office filed last year nearly quadrupled from the year before. In addition to investigating and prosecuting Internet predators and offenders, the task force actively participates in outreach to schools and parents, educating the community on internet safety.

Cases of note included:

People v. Cooper
The Defendant began molesting his young cousins and his half-sister in 2011. He made homemade videos of those molestations and kept them on thumb drives. He began uploading images of child pornography onto the internet, which caught the attention of ICAC investigators. During the execution of search warrants, investigators found numerous videos of the defendant molesting these young children. The defendant was convicted of child molesting and is facing 25-life in prison.

People v. Segura
As far back as 1998, the defendant began molesting two grandsons of his common-law wife. Neither of the grandsons ever disclosed abuse. The sexual abuse continued until 2014, when the defendant uploaded images of child pornography onto the internet. ICAC immediately began investigating the defendant and discovered numerous videos of the defendant molesting his youngest grandson. The defendant was convicted of child molesting and was sentenced to 34 years in prison.

People v. Wismer
This defendant, a family friend of the two young victims, began molesting them at an early age. The young girls were hesitant to disclose the abuse because their father was friends with the defendant and they were scared nobody would believe them. The defendant was convicted in a jury trial of multiple acts of molestation on multiple young children and now is serving life in state prison for his crimes.

People v. Fabiani
On the way home from a day at the beach with his 4-year-old son, the defendant crashed his pick-up truck, with trailer and jet-ski attached, down an embankment hitting a palm tree. Fabiani left the scene, leaving his son there. The young boy ended up dying as a result of the injuries from the crash. The defendant left the scene on foot while bystanders tended to the 4-year-old and waited for the paramedics to arrive. Fabiani evaded arrest for 40 hours. His Facebook page revealed he was on his way to meet a friend who was going to get him across the border into Mexico. He was convicted of leaving a crime scene and is now in prison.

People v. Bray
This defendant had been stalking her ex-boyfriend for years. When she found out he spent some time with the mother of his child, she returned to his residence with a .38 caliber revolver and shot him nine times. The defendant said it was a suicide, but she was ultimately convicted of first-degree murder and is serving the rest of her life in state prison.

People v. Harper
The defendant shot and killed her husband while the three children were in the house. Afterward, she arranged play dates for the children and hid the gun. Harper claimed she had been battered by her husband before. The jury convicted defendant of murder, and she is now serving life in state prison.