Next year Sacramento County will elect a new District Attorney for the first time in almost 10 years. Because our current District Attorney, Anne Marie Schubert, recently said she’d run for California Attorney General (AG) in 2022, next year’s race for Sacramento County District Attorney is, at this point, wide open. Elk Grove Tribune has your look ahead.
The District Attorney: Important, Often Overlooked
District Attorney is an important, powerful, yet often overlooked job. District Attorneys decide whether or not to charge a suspect with a crime, what charges to bring, as well as what penalties to seek. For example, they can decide to charge someone suspected of using illegal drugs with the crime of illegal drug possession. On the other hand, a District Attorney can refer the suspect to a drug treatment program. An attorney that works for the District Attorney is called a Deputy or Assistant District Attorney.
Sacramento County first elected our current District Attorney, Anne Marie Schubert, in 2014. District Attorney Schubert and her office gained national attention after the 2018 killing of Stephon Clark by Sacramento Police. In that case, her office decided not to charge officers Terrence Mercadel and Jared Robinet with homicide. The decision not to charge Clark’s killers sparked a new effort to change California’s use of force laws. The result: AB 392, also known as the Stephon Clark law, raised legal standards in cases where police use deadly force. As Sacramento County District Attorney, Anne Marie Schubert never charged a police officer suspected of misusing deadly force.
The District Attorney is responsible for the prosecution of criminal violations of state law and county ordinances occurring within a county under California Government Code Section 26500. This includes investigation and apprehension, as well as prosecution in court.California Association Of Counties
Challenger: Alana Mathews
Former Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney and 46-year-old Democrat Alana Mathews recently announced plans to run for Sacramento County District Attorney. Mathews earned her BA in Philosophy from Spelman College, a Historically Black College/University (HBCU), in Atlanta, Georgia. She earned a J.D. and an LL.M in Governmental Affairs and Public Policy from McGeorge School of Law. In 2013 and again in 2016, former California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Mathews Public Adviser for the California Energy Commission.
Mathews currently works with the Prosecutors Alliance of California. According to its website, Prosecutors Alliance of California is a group of prosecutors “committed to reforming California’s criminal justice system through smart, safe, modern solutions that advance, not just public safety, but human dignity and community well-being.”
I’m not running to be the first Black D.A. I want to be the first D.A. who’s focused on not just locking everybody up.Former Sacramento County Deputy DA Alana Mathews, Sacramento County DA Candidate 2022
Challenger: Paris Coleman
56-year-old Democrat and five-year Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Paris Coleman is also running for Sacramento County District Attorney. Currently, Coleman is the supervising Deputy District Attorney for the office’s Felony Trial Team. After law school at UC Davis, Coleman worked in the Alameda County District Attorney’s office where he spent 13 years as a prosecutor. Coleman, a Sacramento native, then moved back to Sacramento in 2007 to start his own firm practicing criminal defense law. However, he ended his criminal defense career in 2014 when he went to work for the Sacramento County District Attorney’s office. Coleman is endorsed by current and outgoing Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert.
You start with going to people and understanding what their concerns are. You start with law enforcement agencies.Sacramento County Deputy DA Paris Coleman, Sacramento County DA Candidate 2022
Challenger: Thien Ho
Additionally, 47-year-old Democrat Thien Ho also recently announced his run for Sacramento County District Attorney. Ho, a Vietnamese immigrant, is the former supervisor of the offices’ gang and hate crime unit. Furthermore, after successfully trying cases including that of Lilly Manning and James DeAngelo (Golden State Strangler), Ho became assistant chief deputy district attorney for the offices’ justice and community relations bureau. Earlier in his career, the district attorney’s office and the National Asian Pacific Islander Prosecutor’s Association in 2017 named Ho Prosecutor of the Year.
I will provide a diverse perspective and innovative approach that protects the people of this county ensures justice for crime victims and builds a system of justice that serves everyone equally.Sacramento County Assistant Chief Deputy DA Thien Ho, Sacramento County DA Candidate 2022