Tuesday, June 11, 2002
San Bernardino Prosecutor David Whitney Tapped for Award
By J'AMY PACHECO
San Bernardino Prosecutor David Whitney, lead attorney for the Major Crimes Unit for the District Attorney’s Office, will receive a national award for his work in death penalty cases July 26 in Las Vegas.
Whitney will be honored with the “Outstanding Advocacy in Capital Cases” award by the Association of Government Attorneys in Capital Litigation, a national association of death penalty prosecutors.
The veteran prosecutor said yesterday he was “thrilled” to receive the letter announcing his selection.
Whitney was selected as the recipient for the organization’s Region One, which covers the Ninth and Tenth Circuits, including 13 Western states and Guam.
Recipients are nominated by the offices of district attorneys in each county of each state. Whitney was nominated not only by San Bernardino County, but also by Alameda County.
District Attorney Dennis Stout yesterday pointed out that Whitney is considered to be a national expert in death penalty prosecutions.
“San Bernardino County is one of the top prosecuting agencies in the country,” he said. “There are a number of people on staff who are considered to be the best of the best. For David Whitney to be recognized by an organization like this is gratifying to me.
“This award is not given lightly,” he added. “It’s given to the best of the best.”
While it may seem unusual for Whitney to have been nominated by Alameda County as well, Stout said it is “not surprising,” based upon his national reputation and his work throughout the state and the nation.
“He’s testified in New York, and taught at homicide symposiums at the national level,” Stout pointed out. “He’s well known, not only in California, but nationally.”
Whitney earned his law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1971. From 1972 to 1973, he worked as a deputy public defender in Los Angeles. He worked in private practice, handling criminal defense first in Los Angeles County and then in San Bernardino, until 1986, when he joined the District Attorney’s Office.
During his career, Whitney has successfully prosecuted 104 defendants for murder or manslaughter. Five of his convictions have resulted in death sentences.
Since 1995, he has served on the Special Circumstances Committee for the California District Attorney’s Association. He has been San Bernardino County’s death penalty coordinator since 1995, and also held that position from 1988 to 1991. He has been the office’s psychiatric issues coordinator since 1988, and has been lead attorney for the Major Crimes Unit since 1996.
At the state level, he has served as a member of the planning committee for the CDAA’s 2002 Special Circumstances Seminar, the 2001 National Homicide Symposium, and the organization’s Death Penalty White Paper Committee.
His lengthy teaching credits include topics ranging from Advanced Homicide Investigation, jury selection and courtroom presentation of evidence to psychiatric defenses and psychological testing.
In April, Whitney received a Victims Service Award from the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office. The award is given annually to those designated as having provided outstanding and exemplary service to victims of crime.
Two weeks ago, he served on the trial faculty for a weeklong college offered by the National District Attorney’s Association, held at the University of South Carolina.
Whitney’s advocacy award will be presented at Caesar’s Palace Hotel during the organization’s summer conference.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company