Criminal Divisions

APPELLATE DIVISION [TOP]

This staff is dedicated to fulfilling the mission of the San Diego County District Attorney's Office while providing with excellence the following functions for the Office:

  • The Motions, Writs, and Appeals Function
  • The Function of Legal Advisor
  • The Function of Legislation Representative and Coordinator

Each deputy and each support staff member in the Appellate Division strive to serve the office in protecting criminal convictions as well as shaping the law through sound legal advice, high quality motions, writs & appeals, and cogent legislative efforts.

BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION [TOP]

The District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation (BOI) is made up of 113 District Attorney Investigators (DAIs), 45 Public Assistance Investigators (PAIs) and almost two dozen support staff, all stationed throughout the office's four branches and other offsite locations. The primary function of the BOI is to provide the DA's office its law enforcement component by taking part in developing a criminal case to the point of proof beyond a reasonable doubt to ensure convictions in court. The technical investigations staff provides assistance to DDAs in the production of trial exhibits, fingerprint analysis, promotional materials and audio/visual production.

The BOI is comprised of nine units, each of which is managed by a lieutenant and at least one supervising investigator. The units include: PreTrial; Economic Crimes and Insurance Fraud; Family Protection; Gang Prosecution; Special Operations; Branches; Professional Standards; and Public Assistance Fraud.

CASE DISPOSITION [TOP]

The Case Disposition Division was formed in 2003. There are three deputy district attorneys and a chief deputy district attorney assigned to the division. Over the year 2008, the division handled 6,103 felony cases, resulting in 3,959 guilty pleas. The division has worked hard to assist in increasing the conviction rate for Superior Court, which has seen a reduction in not guilty verdicts since the year 2000. The division has also worked to promote cost saving efforts in the disposition of cases, including policy changes in immediate sentencing and by encouraging pleas at early stages.

CASE ISSUANCE/EXTRADITIONS [TOP]

Case Issuing and Extradition Division is primarily involved in reviewing felony cases for filing. Issuing attorneys review approximately 500 cases per month, in addition to their other duties. Two liaison deputies are available to law enforcement agencies around the county to assist them with criminal investigations, warrants and training. Extradition attorneys are responsible for handling the complex legal proceedings required for bringing a fugitive back into this jurisdiction from all over the world. Those lawyers also assist other states and countries that wish to extradite fugitives arrested in San Diego County. The Lifer Hearing Unit is also part of this division, which is responsible for assuring an experienced attorney appears at every parole hearing held up and down the state in the prisons for inmates serving life-top sentences. The attorneys who represent the DA’s office at lifer hearings give murder victims and their family members a voice in these serious cases. Our first priority at parole hearings is to protect the public from future violence at the hands of murderers or other serious offenders, therefore, our recommendation to the state parole board is generally to oppose a grant of parole for Lifer inmates.

PRETRIAL AND DISPOSITION [TOP]

The Pretrial and Disposition Division handles all felony cases arising in the central area of San Diego which are not handled by special divisions or at the branch offices. This division is one of the busiest in the office. The attorneys in this division initially arraign the defendants charged in felony complaints. They then primarily conduct preliminary examinations in front of a magistrate to prove the charges, based upon a probable cause standard. Pretrial and Disposition attorneys also handle suppression motions, bail reviews,plea negotiations, change of plea proceedings, and miscellaneous calendars. Occasionally, they conduct misdemeanor trials which result if felony charges are reduced at the preliminary hearing. This division also orders San Diego County probation cases, prison priors and three strike cases for preliminary hearing defendants. The staff prepares hundreds of subpoenas each week to ensure the appearance of essential witnesses who are needed to prove the charges at the preliminary examinations. The cases that are proven at the preliminary hearing are then bound over and transferred to the attorneys in the Superior Court Division for trial.

COLD CASE HOMICIDE [TOP]

The District Attorney's Cold Case Homicide Unit was formed in 2003 with the expressed purpose of solving and successfully prosecuting the over 2,000 old, inactive homicide cases in San Diego County. Cold Case Homicide is staffed with highly experienced Deputy District Attorneys and District Attorney Investigators. They work with the various law enforcement agencies throughout San Diego County in a concentrated effort to seek justice for the many victims of homicide and their families. If you have information about an unsolved murder case, please call 619-531-3374.

ECONOMIC CRIMES [TOP]

The mission of the Economic Crimes Division is to prevent and prosecute financial crimes and to enforce the law in partnership with law enforcement and the community. Cases against public officials, large corporations and high tech criminal rings are large, complex matters, which require a team effort of lawyers, paralegals, investigators and clerical support. The teams within the division, include Consumer Protection, Complex Theft, CATCH, Environmental Protection, Public Assistance and Real Estate Fraud.

FAMILY PROTECTION DIVISION [TOP]

The division includes 93 employees, including deputy district attorneys, investigators, paralegals, clerical personnel, and other staff members who are stationed downtown as well as in each Branch office in the County. During 2010, the division issued 1007 felony cases of domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, stalking, and internet crimes against children. They also issued 2043 misdemeanor cases. They completed 56 felony jury trails and 24 misdemeanor jury trials.

GANGS [TOP]

The goal of the Gang Prosecution Division is to reduce the level of gang violence in San Diego County. This goal is achieved by targeting violent gang crime such as murder, attempted murder, assault with weapons, drive by shootings, rape and robbery. The Gang Division will also work with outside agencies to proactively target known gang members to prosecute them for lesser violations in order to prevent more violent crimes from happening. This division will also target known gangs and their members through civil injunctions and abatements in order to disrupt the gang culture and lifestyle. This multi prong approach will have the affect of lowering the level of gang violence throughout San Diego County.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DIVISION [TOP]

This division is charged with providing a full-spectrum of technology services to support the operations of the DA. The Network Section, which includes desktop support, LAN operations, and the Help Desk, are responsible for acquiring, installing, and supporting information systems hardware and software. The Applications Development Section creates timely and effective business solutions for the DA in the form of software applications. The Web Development Section provides a multitude of visual communications and information to the public via the Internet, as well as daily communications and tools via the internal DA's intranet. ITD also encompasses the Trial Support Services Section, the skilled and creative staff that provide photography, audio/video duplication, graphics, trial displays and fingerprint analysis. As technology utilized throughout the law enforcement community advances, ITD adapts its tools and strategies to maintain a strong collaborative presence as a public safety partner in the county.

INSURANCE FRAUD [TOP]

San Diego's Insurance Fraud Division (IFD) started a Premium Fraud Task Force in 1996 to investigate and prosecute workers' compensation premium fraud and tax evasion. Premium fraud involves employers falsifying business records to reduce their workers' compensation insurance premium, thereby gaining an unfair business advantage over law abiding competitors. Premium defrauders often also fail to pay proper taxes. Members of the task force include representatives from: the Labor Commissioners Office, Employment Development Department, Franchise Tax Board, California Department of Insurance (CDI); State Contractors' Licensing Board, Bureau of Automotive Repair, and the District Attorney's Office.

JUVENILE DIVISION [TOP]

The Juvenile Division of the District Attorneys Office prosecutes all juvenile felonies and misdemeanors for the County of San Diego, including City of San Diego cases. From traffic matters to homicides, rapes and vehicular manslaughters, Juvenile DDAs review, issue and prosecute all of these cases. Juvenile's staff includes 21 DDAs, two investigators, seven paralegal and victim assistance staff, 20 support staff and one process server. They all work with an incredible team spirit to tirelessly handle the volume of cases that move rapidly through the Juvenile Courts. In 2008, this branch received 7,691 cases for review. There were more than 4,000 felony petitions filed and over 1,700 misdemeanor petitions filed.

Recognizing the importance of handling sensitive and complex cases vertically, the Juvenile Division has designated deputies to vertically prosecute cases involving: sexual assault, graffiti, prostitution, street racing, arson, teen relationship violence and truancy and Drug Court matters.

NARCOTICS DIVISION [TOP]

The Major Narcotics Division was launched in 2003. It is staffed with 18 attorneys, handling a variety of cases countywide. During this time the division has been very busy providing a new service to law enforcement. Since inception, the Narcotics Division has handled over 10,601 cases. Its responsibilities have included running the treatment side of the drug cases in Drug Court and Proposition 36, the Substance Abuse Initiative, and Federal and State Asset Forfeiture matters, to assisting law enforcement with large buy/walk projects in specific high crime areas.

RESTITUTION ENFORCEMENT & VICTIM SERVICES DIVISION [TOP]

The Restitution Enforcement & Victim Services Division had an extremely busy and productive year during 2008. The division handled restitution issues on 3,900 cases throughout San Diego County affecting $50 million in claims for restitution.

This division helped 11,679 victims in 2003. It's primary focus is alleviating the plight of victims, especially as they encounter the criminal justice system. Victims play a critical role in that system and, by virtue of the California Constitution and statutes, have rights that must be respected and upheld.

For many years now the District Attorney's Office in San Diego has aided victims directly through the Victim Assistance Program funded in part by the California Office of Criminal Justice Planning (OCJP). This program features District Attorney's Office paralegal victim advocates serving throughout the office to provide victims support and assistance at every stage of the investigation, trial, appellate and incarceration processes.

Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking Division [TOP]

This is one of the new divisions created by DA Dumanis. This specialized division deals with some of the most violent and sensitive crimes in San Diego. It has already made a significant impact on the way sex crimes and stalking cases are issued and prosecuted. All of the DDAs assigned to this division receive special training to better understand the complex nature of working with these vulnerable victims. There are 11 DDAs assigned to this division with an average caseload of 20 cases per attorney. Supporting these deputies are four paralegals, two district attorney investigators and four secretaries.

SPECIAL OPERATIONS [TOP]

This division investigates and prosecutes cases involving public officials and law enforcement. It also handles internal affairs, election law violations, hate crimes and major vice. This division acts as the primary advisor to the San Diego Grand Jury and reviews all police use of deadly force. The investigators are involved in the gathering and dissemination of criminal intelligence, threat assessment and are on call for officer involved shootings and incidents involving serious violence against police officers. To make sure the office maintains good working relationships with Mexico and with the Indian tribes in the area, this division has International Liaisons and a Tribal and Gaming Liaison.

SUPERIOR COURT [TOP]

The court has handled some of the most challenging and tragic cases in the history of the county, include homicide, robbery, assault, vehicular manslaughter, residential and commercial burglary, and narcotic sales. The Superior Court team works tirelessly to hold accountable the predators that victimize the citizens of San Diego County while exercising the highest in ethical standards. From its support staff, to its investigators, to its attorneys, the court is committed to helping victims of crime recover from losses at the hands of criminals. Typically, the Division will prosecute more than 5,000 felony cases each year. The staff of the Superior Court Division works closely with frontline law enforcement agencies throughout San Diego County to deliver justice in the courtroom and to raise the level of public safety in our communities.