Jackie Lacey Could Be L.A.'s First Non-White, Non-Male District Attorney
Lacey meets all of those qualifications. Though Cooley hasn't officially, formally, ruled out seeking a fourth term, it's likely that he would step aside if Lacey runs.
Lacey grew up in L.A., attended Dorsey High School and got her law
degree from USC. She started as a prosecutor with the D.A.'s office in
the 1980s, where she handled felony trials, including 11 murder cases.
Cooley appointed her to run
the Bureau of Central Operations shortly after his election in 2000. She
has since earned a following within the office. She has been promoted to Assistant District Attorney, and now oversees
roughly 500 lawyers.
She has lived in Ventura County for most of the last 20 years. That would have been a
problem because the D.A. must live in L.A. County. But -- perhaps anticipating a vacancy in the D.A.'s office -- she recently moved
into a rented home near Granada Hills, which is just over the county line on the L.A. side. She registered to vote there in
The biggest stain on her resume comes from the administration's bitter relations with the Association of Deputy District Attorneys. In 2009, Lacey testified at an employee relations hearing that she had warned a prosecutor not to get involved with the union because it would hurt his career.
That could be a damaging admission of union-busting, which could be especially problematic in labor-dominated L.A. politics. Lacey later changed her testimony, saying she misunderstood the question because she has low blood sugar and has difficulty concentrating in the afternoons. For whatever it's worth, sources say the L.A. County Federation of Labor has a positive impression of Lacey.
Last year, Cooley supported Lacey for U.S. Attorney, but she was not
among the finalists for that job.
As a Democrat, Lacey has an advantage over a Republican candidate like Jackson, given the partisan breakdown of L.A. County. But she would probably have to face some other Democrats as well, some of whom might be more natural politicians than she is.
Having said that, her campaign would generate a lot of attention for its potential to make history. L.A. has had 36 district attorneys, and all have been white men.
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