San Diego County District Attorney

San Diego County District Attorney's Office
Seal of the San Diego District Attorney.png
Seal of the District Attorney — County of San Diego
Office overview
Formed 1801 (1801)
Jurisdiction Government of San Diego County
Headquarters Hall of Justice
330 W Broadway
San Diego, California, 92101
Office executive
  • Summer Stephan, District Attorney
Website District Attorney’s Office website

The San Diego County District Attorney is the elected district attorney for San Diego County, California. This office is responsible for the prosecution of both felony and misdemeanor violations of California state law that occur within the jurisdiction of San Diego County, California. Courts within their jurisdiction includes the San Diego Superior Court, the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth District, and the California Supreme Court. Federal law violations are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California. The current District Attorney is Summer Stephan, who replaced Bonnie Dumanis on an interim basis after the latter resigned in July 2017.

As in most of California, some misdemeanor crimes are prosecuted by local city attorneys. City attorneys share jurisdiction with the District Attorney to prosecute misdemeanors and infractions that are committed within the city's jurisdiction. All other misdemeanor, felony, and infraction violations that occur within San Diego County are prosecuted by the district attorney.

The main office is located in Downtown San Diego in the Hall of Justice, with three regional centers in El Cajon, Chula Vista, and Vista. As of 2011 the District Attorney's office employs 310 attorneys.[1]

The District Attorney's office claims a 90+ percent conviction rate.[2] The conviction rate for driving under the influence (DUI) in 2010 was 98% of 11,000 people charged with felony or misdemeanor DUI.[3]


In the first 20 years of San Diego County there were 23 men that held the office of district attorney, the first being William C. Ferrell.[4]

Partial list of District Attorneys

District Attorney Took office Left office Party Notes
William C. Ferrell August 19, 1801 May, 1851
Thomas W. Sutherland 1851 1852
James W. Robinson 1852 1855
Joseph R. Gitchell 1856 1858
James Nichol 1858 1859
William C. Ferrell 1859 1859
Dr. David B. Hoffman 1859 1861
A. N. Ensworth 1862 1862 Acting
Dr. David B. Hoffman 1862 1864
Unknown 1865 1865
Benjamin Hayes 1866 1867
William T. McNealy 1870 1873 Youngest District Attorney ever elected at age 21
Norman H. Conklin 1877 1879
William M. Smith 1879 1882
W. J. Hunsaker 1882 1884
E. W. Hendricks 1885 1886
Martin L. Ward 1893 1894
William Darby 1895 1895
A. H. Sweet 1895 1898
T. L. Lewis 1899 11902
Cassius Carter 1903 1906
Lewis R. Kirby 1907 1909
H. S. Utley 1909 1914
S. M. Marsh 1915 1917
Lewis R. Kirby 1918 1922
Chester C. Kempley 1923 1926
Unknown 1927 1931
Thomas Whelan 1931 1938
James B. Abbey 1938 1941
Thomas Whelan 1941 1948
James D. Keller 1948 1971
Edwin L. Miller 1971 1995
Paul J. Pfingst 1995 2003
Bonnie Dumanis 2003 2017
Summer Stephan 2017 Present

Bureau of Investigation

The San Diego District Attorney currently maintains a law enforcement arm called Bureau of Investigation.[5] It consists of eight divisions, which include 130 District Attorney Investigators who are sworn California peace officers pursuant to § 830.1(a) California Penal Code and other non sworn staff.[6]

Amongst its law enforcement duties and responsibilities are assignments which may include pre-trial, gang, economic, insurance, fraud investigations; family protection, child abduction, sex crimes, stalking, and special operation investigations.[6] Apart from this, San Diego DA Investigators may be assigned to regional local, state and federal task forces such as: computer and high tech crimes, narcotics, auto theft, identity theft, violent crimes, SAFE and fraud.[6]


  1. ^ "Criminal Justice System". Retrieved 2011-11-21.
  2. ^ "Scales of justice can be tipped by spending on prosecutions, public defenders - The San Diego Union-Tribune". 20 July 2020.
  3. ^ "Fewer getting injured, killed in DUI crashes". Retrieved 2011-11-21.
  4. ^ Gayle Falkenthal. "The District Attorney's Office: A Brief History" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-11-21.
  5. ^ San Diego District Attorney, Criminal Divisions, Bureau of Investigation, Official website of the San Diego District Attorney, access date: 12 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b c San Diego District Attorney, Bureau of Investigation, District Attorney Investigator Jobs, Official website of the San Diego District Attorney, access date: 12 May 2018.

External links

Coordinates: 33°01′N 116°46′W / 33.02°N 116.77°W / 33.02; -116.77

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