Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Ex-LACBA President Danette Meyers Says She Is Running for D.A.
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers said yesterday she will be a candidate for district attorney in next year’s election.
Meyers, 53, served as president of the County Bar in 2007-2008. She becomes the second announced candidate to succeed Steve Cooley. Fellow prosecutor Alan Jackson said last month he was running.
After losing his bid for state attorney general in November, Cooley declined to rule out running for a fourth term, but said he might step aside if a “qualified person” from his own office or another prosecutorial agency stepped forward to succeed him.
Meyers said she was in the race “irrespective” of what Cooley might do.
Meyers, a deputy district attorney for over 24 years, would be the first female and first African American to hold the office. A veteran of close to 200 jury trials, she has prosecuted more than 40 murders, two of which resulted in the death sentence.
More recently, she has handled the high-profile prosecution of actress/singer Lindsay Lohan, jailed last year for violating probation on drug and motor vehicle violations.
Meyers said she expects other members of her office to announce their candidacies shortly. But she said her experience outside the office should weigh heavily in her favor.
Meyers was the first female African American president of LACBA. She has served on the California State Bar Complaints, Audit and Review Board, the Board of Directors of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, and the LACBA delegation to the State Bar Conference of Delegates.
“I’m not just a D.A.,” she told the MetNews. “I’ve done a multitude of things outside the office.”
As LACBA president, she oversaw a multimillion dollar budget, she noted. She also cited her work on two searches for LACBA executive directors and one to fill the federal public defender post for the Central District of California, her work with the Webster Commission that investigated the civil unrest that occurred in Los Angeles in 1992, and her work as chair of the County Bar’s 2007 diversity summit.
She has been a prosecutor in several specialized units including the Career Criminal Unit, the Special Trials Division of the Van Nuys Branch Office and the Crimes Against Peace Officers Unit.
Her work while a homicide prosecutor, she noted, included obtaining the convictions of Bernard Nelson for the first degree murder and the attempted murder of two Los Angeles police officers, Jaime Mares for the double murder of a police officer and a teenager, Ricky Rene Madison for the torture killing of his girlfriend, and James Matthew Heard for the torture and sexual assault murder of an 11-year-old.
Her priorities as district attorney, she said, will include juvenile justice reform, geared toward keeping nonviolent offenders out of the adult system. Meyers said she hopes to work with Kamala Harris, sworn in yesterday as California attorney general, who has also identified juvenile justice reform as a major focus.
Meyers has named Hamid Towfigh as her campaign manager and spokesman and said she is currently interviewing consultants.
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company