Organization of the Office
San Joaquin County is a rapidly growing jurisdiction with over 675,000 people and seven incorporated cities located in the San Joaquin Valley an hour’s drive from the San Francisco Bay Area to the west and a similar distance from the Sierra foothills to the east. The county includes an urban county seat, smaller more suburban cities, and large areas of unincorporated agricultural land. The District Attorney is the elected chief prosecutor for the county and represents the People of the State of California in criminal and some civil cases presented before the unified Superior Court of San Joaquin County. The office has a staff of 76 attorneys, 28 investigators and investigative assistants, plus clerical and support personnel located in downtown Stockton, at the Juvenile Justice Center in French Camp, and co-located with branches of the Superior Court in Lodi and Manteca.
JAMES P. WILLETT, District Attorney
Edward J. Busuttil, Assistant District Attorney
The main office of the District Attorney is located in the San Joaquin County Courthouse on Weber Avenue in downtown Stockton. The District Attorney is assisted in managing the office by an Assistant District Attorney, Four Chief Deputy District Attorneys, Chief and Deputy Chief Investigators, and a Management Services Administrator.
Scott Fichtner, Chief Deputy District Attorney
Harold J. Crosby, Management Services Administrator
This division is responsible for fiscal management, facility management, computer support, and training. The Chief Deputy also has responsibility for Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) commitments, Major & Real Estate Fraud, the Witness Coordination Unit, and serves on the advisory board for the Delta Regional Auto Theft Task Force (Delta RATT).
CRIMINAL TRIAL DIVISION
Michael J. Mulvihill, Supervising Deputy District Attorney
This division consists of the attorneys handling general felony hearings and trials. The prosecutors in this division are located in the Stockton courthouse.
Felony Trial Unit
Attorneys assigned to this unit conduct felony trials at the Stockton courthouse. The caseload consists of all felony cases that are not assigned to other specialized prosecution units. Individual prosecutors from this division vertically prosecute arson and vehicular homicide cases and conduct felony probation violation hearings. Civil cases for seizure of assets used in the commission of crimes or obtained as a result of criminal activity are also prosecuted by an attorney assigned to this unit.
Kevin P. Ford, Supervising Deputy District Attorney
The Misdemeanor Division consists of those prosecutors assigned to conduct misdemeanor trials and probation violation hearings at the Stockton courthouse.
FAMILY CRIMES DIVISION
Kristine M. Reed, Supervising DDA, Child Abuse/Sexual Assault Unit
Jeffrey A. Derman, Supervising DDA, DV, Elder Abuse and Stalking Unit
Suzanne Schultz, Family Crimes Coordinator
This division consists of those prosecutors and support staff handling domestic violence, stalking, and elder/dependent adult abuse cases as well as those prosecutors assigned to handle child abuse and sexual assault cases. Most cases handled by this division, excepting some misdemeanors, are prosecuted vertically. The attorneys assigned to this division are all located in the Stockton courthouse.
HOMICIDE & GANG UNIT
Ronald J. Freitas, Chief Deputy District Attorney
Homicide prosecutors assigned to this unit file and vertically prosecute felony homicide cases including all capital cases. Gang prosecutors work with gang investigators from area police agencies to prosecute crimes committed by gang members and related to gang activity or gang membership. The Homicide & Gang Unit is located in the Stockton courthouse.
Kenneth W. Puckett, Supervising Deputy District Attorney
Those prosecutors assigned to the Juvenile Unit operate out of the Juvenile Justice Center in French Camp, approximately 7 miles south of Stockton. They appear in the Juvenile Branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court prosecuting crimes committed by persons under the age of eighteen. They also conduct fitness hearings in order to determine whether or not a juvenile case should be handled as an adult criminal case when it appears that the nature of the offense or the offender requires such action.
BRANCH OFFICE OPERATIONS
Patrick K. O'Hern, Chief Deputy District Attorney
This division includes those prosecutors assigned to offices located with branches of the Superior Court outside of Stockton. It also includes rural crimes, welfare fraud and narcotics prosecutors.
Branch Office Unit
Attorneys co-located with branches of the Superior Court in Lodi and Manteca handle a mixture of complaint filing, felony preliminary hearings, misdemeanor trials, and misdemeanor probation violations arising in the jurisdiction of the branch courts.
Welfare Fraud Unit (IMPACT)
The Interagency Major Public Assistance Crime Team (IMPACT) was created as a combined effort of the District Attorney and the San Joaquin County Human Services Agency to investigate and prosecute fraud in obtaining welfare. The prosecutors and investigators assigned to this unit work out of the Courthouse in downtown Stockton.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSUMER PROTECTION DIVISION
Scott A. Fichtner, Chief Deputy District Attorney
David J. Irey, Supervising Deputy District Attorney
This units consists of prosecutors handling insurance fraud, consumer affairs, environmental crimes, and code enforcement cases. These cases involve both criminal prosecutions and civil enforcement cases. This unit is located in the Courthouse in downtown Stockton.
Kenneth Melgoza, Chief Investigator
District Attorney investigators include both peace officers and non-peace officers who perform a wide variety of investigative tasks either independently, to supplement the work of another law enforcement agency, or as part of a multi-agency task force. Investigations can include homicides, complex frauds, officer involved critical incidents, elder abuse, welfare fraud, or insurance fraud. Investigators also assist prosecutors in preparing cases for trial by locating witnesses and obtaining witness statements, serving subpoenas and search warrants, preparing photographs, drawings, or other court exhibits, and transporting items of evidence to and from crime laboratories. Two lieutenants provide supervision over the various investigative functions. The Bureau is located in the Courthouse in downtown Stockton.
VICTIM-WITNESS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Gabriela Jaurequi, Program Coordinator
The District Attorney’s Victim-Witness Office provides a variety of services for crime victims and witnesses to make their experience with the criminal justice system less traumatic and easier to understand. This involves assistance during the investigation and court proceedings and help in making claims for compensation under the California Victims of Crime Program.
Victim & Witness Assistance
San Joaquin county is unique in having a mobile Victim-Witness Unit that can respond at the request of police investigators to assist crime victims during the course of an investigation. This may involve finding emergency housing, arranging for the cleaning of a crime scene, crisis intervention or providing referrals for counseling, transporting children to the children's shelter, or just answering questions about what happens next. Victim advocates also arrange for transportation to court, provide information about the court system and information about particular cases that have been referred for prosecution, information about how to obtain restraining orders, and staff the witness waiting room at the Stockton courthouse. Victim Advocates are also stationed at both the Stockton Police Department and San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office in order to be available for immediate assistance to victims and witnesses of crimes investigated by those agencies.
Victim-Witness staff assist victims in filing claims with the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board in order to obtain compensation for losses they have incurred as a result of criminal activity.