5 Facts About New L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey
Jackie Lacey made history on Election Day 2012 after becoming L.A.’s first female and first black district attorney.
Jackie Lacey made history on Nov. 6, 2012, when she became the first African American and first woman to be elected Los Angeles County district attorney. The Democrat defeated Republican rival Alan Jackson by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent. “I think the significance [of my election] is that it may inspire other women and certainly African Americans and other minorities to seek a career in law enforcement,” Lacey told the Los Angeles Times. She will officially enter the history books on Dec. 3, 2012, when she’s sworn in as D.A. The following facts about her life and career detail how Lacey made history on Election Day.
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Lacey, 55 when elected D.A., grew up in Los Angeles’ Crenshaw District. She’s a graduate of Dorsey High School and the University of California, Irvine. She’s the first member of her family to graduate from college. Given her humble beginnings, Chris Strudwick Turner of the Urban League, said that her election revealed that “you don’t have to come from wealth or privilege to begin with, that you can work your way through.”
Lacey sailed to victory by drawing on her experience as a prosecutor as well as her dozen years of management experience in the D.A.’s office. Lacey prosecuted L.A. County’s first race-based hate crime, a case in which three gang-affiliated white supremacists beat an elderly black man to death. Upon her election to D.A., Lacey had served in the capacity of chief deputy district attorney.
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The position of district attorney is nonpartisan. Democrat Lacey gained credibility among voters by securing the endorsement of her supervisor, three-term Republican D.A. Steve Cooley. “She…is probably the most qualified person to be district attorney in recent history,” Cooley said of Lacey. Cooley lost his race for California attorney general in 2010 to Kamala Harris, the first woman of black and South Asian descent to serve in the role. Lacey has been compared to Harris, who served as district attorney of San Francisco before becoming A.G.
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As D.A., Lacey plans to focus on identity theft, environmental crimes, public corruption prosecutions and alternative sentencing programs, which could reduce overcrowding in county jails.
Lacey is married to husband, David, an investigative auditor in the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office. They have two grown children.