Lacey, Jackson face off in rough-and-tumble race for county district attorney's office


Tolliver's Barber Shop in South Los Angeles is a place where people go for a haircut, to socialize, and to meet candidates like Los Angeles County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jackie Lacey. She's running for L.A. County District Attorney.

"There have been several SC grads who have made it to the district attorney, but I'm sure none of them looked like me," said Lacey.

She's running against Alan Jackson, the number two man in the D.A.'s Major Crimes Unit. He recently visited with young men at the San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps. It helps young people put their lives back together.

"This is not a job for a politician, it's not a job for an administrator or a bureaucrat, it's the job for a prosecutor," said Jackson. "The fact of the matter is she hasn't prosecuted a case or stepped into a courtroom in 13 years, and that's a big difference. So much has changed over the years, over the last two decades."

Lacey doesn't disagree that things have changed. The D.A.'s office has grown to a thousand prosecutors.

"I've had as much experience in the courtroom as Mr. Jackson. The difference though is I've advanced. I have been promoted up the ranks," said Lacey. "And I've had 12 years of learning how to manage this office in various different segments." Jackson, says Lacey, has only had a limited experience in management.

On legal issues there isn't much difference between the two. They both support the death penalty and California's "Three Strikes" law.

Lacey and Jackson agree that the biggest issue facing the district attorney's office is what's called "realignment": shifting thousands of state prisoners to county custody. It has prosecutors and law enforcement worried.

"We are particularly concerned about people getting let out prematurely, people not getting held accountable for their crimes," said Lacey.

Like Lacey, Jackson feels that the system should also include an emphasis on things other than prosecution.

"We need to bookend our prosecutorial approach from the prevention side on the front end and the rehabilitation side on the back end," said Jackson.

Whoever voters pick, it's going to be the person who sets the tone for public safety for years to come in the state's most populous county.

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