Elected District Attorney of Alameda County, California, Mary O’Malley, is stepping down to run for state Senate. Four candidates are competing for her job. One of them, Mary Becton, is a Black woman. The article highlights the many accomplishments of the current district attorney, including her efforts to combat human trafficking. Becton is the only black woman in California.
O’Malley is retiring as district attorney
The Alameda County district attorney’s office has been in turmoil since Orloff announced his retirement last week. The new district attorney is named in his place. The board approved the appointment on Tuesday. The appointment caused uproar in some quarters because some questioned the selection process and criticized Orloff for picking someone who had no public input. Oakland City Councilmember Desley Brooks attended the meeting and expressed her disapproval of the nomination.
Nancy E. O’Malley, who has served as the district attorney of Alameda County since September 2009, will be replaced by Terrance Evans, a partner at the global law firm Duane Morris and co-head of the firm’s international banking practice. Evans also serves as the president of the Charles Houston Bar Association, the oldest Black bar association in California. The other three candidates in the district attorney race are also members of the Charles Houston Bar Association.
Four candidates are vying to replace her
A Democratic primary will choose the next District Attorney. The incumbent, Wilma Chan, passed away last November. Four candidates are vying for her seat. Two candidates are incumbents, while the fourth is a political newcomer. All four have experience in law enforcement or have served on the Board of Supervisors. A contested race will be held on April 26. The winning candidate will be chosen by a committee that is made up of voters from each candidate.
Price is an Oakland criminal defense lawyer and ran against O’Malley in the 2018 primary. Her campaign focuses on restorative justice and transparency. Price wants answers to police shootings and potential conflicts of interest. She has proposed expanding diversion programs and forming an integrity unit to investigate allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. If Price is elected, she will face off with Jimmie Wilson, who is a former deputy district attorney.
O’Malley’s efforts to combat human trafficking
Nancy O’Malley of Alameda County will receive a leadership award from the James Irvine Foundation, along with a grant of $200,000, for her efforts to fight human trafficking. In 2005, she created the Human Exploitation and Trafficking Watch program, bringing together law enforcement, nonprofits, and prosecutors to prosecute offenders. According to a 2012 study by Attorney General Kamala Harris, nearly 46 percent of all human trafficking cases in California involved criminal activity.
In FY 2019, prosecutors were better able to identify and prosecute a sex worker. In Alameda County, the DS Victims’ Resource Advocacy Program connected over five hundred sexually exploited youth to anti-trafficking programs. They provided victims with housing, counseling, and legal assistance. These programs also provided victims with multiple supporting documents and filed status requests.
Becton is the only black district attorney in California
A longtime Superior Court judge in Contra Costa County, Becton was recently elected presiding judge for a county budget of $45 million. She was also president of the National Association of Women Judges and was a top candidate for Attorney General last year. Before she won her election, Becton was serving as interim DA in Contra Costa County when her predecessor pleaded guilty to 13 felonies and broke the law.
Becton was born in Mississippi, attended Golden Gate University School of Law, and studied religion and politics. She was a victim of police brutality and was a witness to the destruction of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement. She was also present during the 1968 Black Panther rally on the Alameda County Courthouse steps. She graduated from Golden Gate University School of Law in 1986 and earned a master’s in theology from Pacific School of Religion in 2015.
Meehan served as district attorney in the 1960s
John J. Meehan served as district attorney of Alameda County for nearly a decade. He was widely respected for his work in search and seizure cases. During his tenure as district attorney, he was re-elected to the position three times and mentored many young attorneys. He was honored with numerous awards, including Prosecutor of the Year and Career Prosecutor Awards. After retiring from the position, he was named USF Law Assembly president.
As district attorney of Alameda County, Meehan has extensive experience in fighting crime, which he attributed to his leadership and management style. He has an authoritative voice and sets his points in a sequential fashion. Whether it’s preventing mortgage fraud or combating gang violence, Meehan has a reputation for being progressive and open. He also has a strong track record of fighting crime and promoting a culture of cooperation.
Gregory Ahern wants to be the first African-American district attorney in California
The county he hopes to represent is a progressive stronghold and favored Democratic candidates by enormous margins. In 2016, for example, Oakland voters elected Hillary Clinton by 78 percent. In addition, county voters support criminal justice reform, including softening the state’s “three strikes” sentencing law and expanding parole eligibility for nonviolent felony convictions. However, he is a controversial candidate who has received negative press from the California Society of Spies.
Ahern is a long-time sheriff of Alameda County, serving in the office since 1980. He was appointed as sheriff when incumbent Sheriff Charlie Plummer announced his retirement and threw his support behind him. His record in law enforcement is not perfect, though. Several criticisms have surfaced over his tenure, including the deaths of deputies in Santa Rita Jail and numerous in-custody incidents. A federal Department of Justice report also found that the county’s jail staff had reasonable cause to believe that detainees were violating mental health rights. Also, two class-action lawsuits have been filed by detainees claiming to have suffered death as a result of wrongful arrests.