Warning About Cocaine Mixed With Fentanyl

Warning About Cocaine Laced with Fentanyl

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan joined the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), San Diego Police Department, San Diego County Health and Human Services (HHSA) and San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office today to warn the public about a spate of deaths in beach communities connected to cocaine laced with the highly-potent and often deadly drug fentanyl.  This past weekend three people died, and two others overdosed but survived, related to the ingestion of what initial toxicology results show was cocaine laced with fentanyl.  The deaths occurred in the areas of Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach; the victims ranged in age from 30 to 47-years old.

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Authorities are not able to say publicly where the drugs may have been distributed or obtained. Various law enforcement agencies are investigating and no arrests have been made. In the meantime, investigators believe more of the dangerous drug combination may be being sold by dealers.

“We’re seeing a dangerous trend of drug dealers and cartels cutting various drugs with fentanyl and increasingly it’s a recipe for death,” said District Attorney Summer Stephan. “The public needs to be aware of the danger of using any controlled substance, but specifically quantities of cocaine that are currently on the street in San Diego that may be laced with fentanyl.”

A DEA-led task force is investigating the recent deaths and said the danger of fentanyl-laced drugs goes beyond cocaine.

“DEA is seizing cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and counterfeit pills that look like legitimate pharmaceutical tablets that are laced with deadly fentanyl throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Karen Flowers. “The public needs to be aware that it is not possible to tell if a product contains fentanyl.  There is no test available at the drug store or from your dealer.   The only test is in a laboratory.  Don’t let your loved ones find out the test results at the mortuary.”

Deaths specifically from fentanyl or fentanyl in combination with other drugs in San Diego County are spiking. 81fatal overdoses were reported last year alone, more than double the number in 2016. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine even in tiny doses. As little as two milligrams of fentanyl is a fatal dose for most people. Fentanyl can be up to 50 times more potent than heroin, and overdoses may require additional Naloxone to reverse. Naloxone is a medication that reverses overdose from opioids. Additional doses of Naloxone are sometimes needed to reverse fentanyl overdoses due to the potency of fentanyl.

“The Medical Examiner has seen a steady increase in fatal overdose cases over the years where fentanyl has been added to opiates”, said San Diego County’s Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Glenn Wagner. “But now we’re seeing an emerging pattern of cases where fentanyl is unexpectedly added to other drug combinations. It’s a new, deeply concerning trend.”

“Illegal drug use continues to negatively affect all of our communities.  The recent deaths are yet another reminder of the dangers of illicit drug use,” said Chief David Nisleit.  “The drug dealers and drug cartels do not care about the people in our communities.  The San Diego Police Department will continue to strictly enforce our narcotics laws and work with the District Attorney’s Office and its prosecution of drug dealers who continue to poison our residents.  We encourage anyone suffering from addiction to seek professional help.”

“These cases show the deadly and unknown nature of drugs that are being sold on the street,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County Public Health Officer. “A variety of drug treatment options and programs are available in San Diego County. If you or someone you know is in need of drug treatment, please get help.”

Individuals can call the San Diego County Access and Crisis Line 888-724-7240 or 2-1-1 San Diego. Both of these resources are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. [TWEET THIS]

DA Reminds School Employees of Legal Duty to Report Suspected Child Abuse

DA Reminds School Employees of Legal Duty to Report Suspected Child Abuse

COMMENTARY

By San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan:

The latest sex abuse scandal involving Catholic priests and the church’s failure to act is devastating. Hundreds of victims were robbed of their childhoods by individuals in positions of trust and power—covered up by leaders and higher-ups who had a duty to act.

As a Catholic, I share in the faithful’s outrage.

As a mother, I empathize with the victims and families grappling with this betrayal.

And as San Diego County’s District Attorney, I am determined to educate and clearly remind those in a position of trust they have a legal and ethical duty to report suspected abuse.

California law says mandated reporters are required to report to law enforcement if they know or reasonably suspect abuse of a child. It is a misdemeanor crime to fail to report. Even if a charge is not found to be true, reporters are immune from liability for reporting in good faith.

“Mandated reporters” include teachers, instructional aides, or teacher’s aides. Most employees of public or private schools, athletic coaches are all mandated reporters. Clergy and medical professionals are also mandated reporters.

“A reasonable suspicion” is when a person entertains a suspicion, based on facts that could cause a reasonable person, drawing when appropriate, on their training and experience, to suspect abuse or neglect.  It does not require certainty that the abuse or neglect has occurred. Any reasonable suspicion is sufficient.

Recognizing that individuals may not fully understand their legal duty to report suspected abuse, we recently took proactive steps to educate the community. My office, in partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education, has produced a training video reminding school officials and employees about their legal duties as mandated reporters. We’re also in the process of distributing 40,000 laminated cards and other printed materials to all school personnel so they’re aware of their lawful obligation to report abuse.

A society is judged by how we treat our youngest, oldest and most vulnerable.  A mandated report is often the first step to ensure that children are protected and stay safe. We routinely see inexcusable failures by churches, universities, athletic programs and schools to protect children from abuse. The price paid for this failure to act is borne by new victims subjected to the same predators and children suffering in silence.  Through our focus on collaborative training in San Diego’s schools, we want to help mandated reporters succeed in fulfilling their obligations.

Click here to learn more about mandated reporters.

EN ESPAÑOL, aquí.

She Has Helped 45 Victims

One of the volunteers from the Prosecutor’s Court Therapy Dog Program was recognized for her work by the San Diego Crime Commission at their 10th Annual Senior Volunteer Awards Luncheon. Janet Kinnon, 60, and her dog Wellington (“Welly”) are volunteers with the San Diego District Attorney’s Office Dog Program, which provides support and comfort to minors who have been victims of physical abuse. and sexual and other vulnerable victims or witnesses. Janet and Welly joined the program in 2015 and have since supported countless victims. Since 2017, Janet and Wellington have helped 45 victims and provided nearly 250 hours of volunteer service. [COMPARTE EN TWITTER]

[See video of his recognition, here]

“For abused minors, testifying in court against their abuser is scary because they have to confront their abuser and describe the horrors they have faced in front of complete strangers,” said District Attorney Summer Stephan. “Thanks to volunteers like Janet and her dog, Wellington, victims find the courage to go through the court process and have an incredible extra layer of support.”

Janet and Welly’s work begins before the victim or witness reaches the courtroom. They meet the victim or witness in the waiting room and sit with them for many hours during interviews, keeping them comfortable with activities that involve the dog. In court, Janet and Welly accompany the victim or witness to court, sitting at the feet of the witnesses as they testify.

The San Diego County Attorney’s Office was one of the first prosecution offices in the country to use a therapy dog in 2007, and officially established the Court Dogs Program in 2009. The program has grown to include 13 dogs, each with an experienced volunteer, the dog owner, who leads the dog. Learn more about the Dogs for the Court program at this video .

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In the Photo: SDPD Officer Archie Buggs. His killer was granted parole.

Officer Archie Buggs’ Killer Granted Parole

In spite of the DA’s office’s vigorous and compelling arguments against it, the State Board of Parole has granted parole to Jesus Cecena, 57, who killed a San Diego police officer in 1978. Officer Archie Buggs, 30, , was shot four times after he stopped a car driven by Cecena, a gang member in the Skyline neighborhood who was 17-years-old at the time. Cecena fired five times at Buggs, then paused, walked toward the fallen officer and fired a final bullet into his head at point-blank range. The officer died on the street, his hand still on his service revolver. [TWEET THIS]

The Parole Board hearing was held this morning at Valley State Prison near Fresno, California and lasted nearly five hours. The Board announced its decision after deliberating for about 30 minutes.  This was Cecena’s 17th parole hearing which included a discussion of his criminal record, psychiatric factors, parole plans, and statements by representatives of the victim’s family.

California Governor Edmund Brown will receive the case within 120 days for review. The District Attorney’s Office immediately released a statement saying it will urge the governor to reverse the parole grant in the strongest terms possible.

“While we understand the factors considered by the Parole Board, we’re extremely disappointed in its decision to send a cop killer who still lacks honest insight and remorse into this atrocious crime back into the community. He continues to be unpredictable and dangerous,” said District Attorney Summer Stephan. “Given the gravity of the crime and its impact upon the officer’s family and our community, we believe he is not suitable for release. The District Attorney’s Office will strongly urge the Governor to once again reverse this grant of parole in the interest of public safety.”

In the last four years, Cecena was granted parole three times (in 2014, 2015 and 2017) and each time Governor Brown reversed the grant, after the San Diego County District Attorney filed objections. Cecena’s parole also continues to be opposed by San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit and the San Diego Police Officers Association.

Cecena was convicted of murder and was sentenced to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole on August 22, 1979. Because Cecena was 17 at the time he killed Officer Buggs, his sentence was reduced to a seven years-to-life term in March of 1982. Cecena’s unstable social history continued during his incarceration; he received more than 10 violation reports for misconduct while in prison. [TWEET THIS]

[RELATED: SDPD Officer Archie Buggs Dedication Ceremony]

Local Students Design Interactive Game App

Local Students Design Interactive Game App

District Attorney Summer Stephan joined e3 Civic High and the Art Institute of California today to announce that a group of high school students mentored by the DA’s Office has created an innovative mobile phone app designed to inspire youth to make good choices. As part of their participation in the DA’s Youth Advisory Board, students at e3 Civic High researched and designed the app to address issues faced by young people such as addiction, crime, education and peer pressure. They chose an app platform so the outreach would be accessible and appealing to their peers, and because it is an easy way for students to learn about the consequences of their choices. [TWEET THIS]

The LifeMap app – a game about choices – was born out of a discussion in 2016, when students on the Youth Advisory Board at e3 Civic High began examining quality of life and educational issues they saw in their communities. Players in the game are given the option to make choices based on five scenarios involving issues such as dropping out of high school, graffiti tagging, poverty, and more. The game takes the player through various trolley stops through downtown, Barrio Logan and Belmont Park. Students designed and created the app with assistance from the Art Institute of California San Diego campus, which assisted with computer programming. It is currently available on Apple and Androidmobile devices by searching Life Map DAYAB.

“It’s not easy being a kid these days and these students have created a unique and engaging way to connect with their peers about real life issues,” DA Summer Stephan said. “The students who are Youth Advisory Board members across San Diego County are helping us connect with issues affecting youth and give our office a perspective that helps us in our mission of preventing crime and strengthening public safety.”

The students unveiled the mobile app today at e3 Civic High in downtown San Diego along with the schools’ administration, faculty, and parents.

Elder Abuse

“Our scholars are being challenged to become the civic leaders of today and make a positive impact on the quality of life for all citizens, especially their peers,” said e3 Civic High’s CEO, Dr. Helen Griffith. “The expert mentorship provided by their involvement in the Youth Advisory Board is the catalyst that is training them to change our world. We applaud DA Summer Stephan for her leadership to ensure that our youth are seated at the table of transformation.”

Students researched each topic included in the game to come up with questions and answers.

“I learned so much more working with my peers than working alone during the creation of this game,” Youth Advisory Board member Anna Phounsavath said. “I hope this game is useful for other young people in that it gets them to think about the choices they make and how they affect other people.”

The first DA’s Youth Advisory Board was created in 2008 as a unique partnership between the DA’s Office and area high school students. Currently, the advisory board consists of students from Lincoln High School and e3 Civic High. Previously the board had students from Mira Mesa and Scripps Ranch high schools. Over the years and with adult support and guidance, students have produced impactful outreach and awareness campaigns that have earned a regional Emmy Award and the Diversity Youth Leadership Award from the City of San Diego’s Human Relations Commission. Through their perspective, the groups educate the community and the DA’s Office about current issues affecting young people and work to create positive change in the community in an effort to reduce crime. Each advisory board includes a diverse group of students from both high schools.

The students will be taking the game app to classrooms across the county, as well as and youth-centered organizations, along with information about resources that are available to help students succeed. [TWEET THIS]

Principals, youth directors and community leaders interested in this new game app and the related outreach campaign may request a presentation from the YAB by visiting their website at www.SanDiegoDAyab.com.

Governor Signs Law Tripling Fines for Those who buy Underage Sex

Governor Brown signed into law a bill sponsored by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, AB 2105 (Maienschein), which increases fines or penalties awarded in civil actions for commercially sexually exploited children. The new law allows for triple the damages that defendants would otherwise be liable for where the conduct is 1) directed at minors, 2) minors suffer physical, emotional, or economic damage, or 3) the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the sex victim was a minor. The bill adds children to the class of people already protected and allowed to seek civil penalties or damages under the Civil Code Section 3345 (disabled persons and elders).  [TWEET THIS]

“This new law aims to be another deterrent for those in our community who would exploit children and pay for sex with a minor. It also provides funding for rehabilitation of sex trafficking victims so they can move past the pain and trauma they experience,” DA Summer Stephan said. “We have a duty to protect the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society and this bill holds individuals who would commit this kind of criminal conduct more accountable.”

There is an alternative damage provision for instances where damages cannot be proved, or where the alternative damage provision would be greater. In those instances, the defendant is liable for no less than $10,000 and no more than $50,000 for each commercial sex act.

“In San Diego alone, sex trafficking is estimated to be an $810 million a year industry and we can see that criminal sanctions are not enough to stop these reprehensible enterprises,” Assembly member Brian Maienschein said. “AB 2105 protects children from sex predators looking to make money off their suffering. It also provides a base statutory civil penalty of $10,000 to be awarded to minor sex trafficking victims. This new law deters child sex purchasers and provides a source of funds for the rehabilitation of victims of commercial sexual exploitation.”

Human trafficking is a $150 billion global industry, and the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. California has the highest number of human trafficking incidents reported by the National Human Trafficking Hotline. In San Diego, the Human Trafficking Task Force works to rescue the girls and boys who are being sold for sex and trafficked across San Diego County. The most common form of sex trafficking includes entrapping children into prostitution for the financial benefit of gangs. Recruitment happens in schools and online through social media and gaming apps.

The University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University released a joint study that estimates there are anywhere from 3,000 and 8,000 victims trafficked each year in San Diego, which generates more than $800-million each year for human trafficking criminal enterprises.

If you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking call the human trafficking hotline at 888-37-37-888, or text “BeFree.”

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DA Will Fight to Keep Cop Killer Behind Bars

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan will again attend the latest Parole Board hearing for a defendant who shot and killed a San Diego police officer in order to bring a clear voice on behalf of the slain police officer’s family and keep a murderer behind bars. [TWEET THIS]

Officer Archie Buggs was 30-years old in 1978 when he was shot six times after he stopped a car driven by Jesus Cecena, a gang member in the Skyline neighborhood. Cecena fired five times at Buggs, then paused, walked toward the fallen officer and fired a final bullet into his head at point blank range. The officer died on the street, his hand still on his service revolver.

In the last four years, Cecena was approved for parole three times by the parole board but Governor Jerry Brown later overturned the panel’s recommendation in each case.  Cecena’s parole continues to be opposed by San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit, District Attorney Summer Stephan, and the San Diego Police Officers Association.

“This was a cold-blooded execution of an on-duty police officer that devastated the officer’s family, his department and our community,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said. “This crime was callous and inexplicably senseless. It demonstrated a total disregard for human life and disdain for those in a position of authority.”

Cecena was convicted of murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on August 22, 1979. Since Cecena was 17 at the time of the murder, his sentence was reduced to  seven years-to-life in March of 1982.  He was denied parole 13 times. His unstable social history continued during his incarceration; he received more than ten violation reports for misconduct while in prison. Cecena was granted parole three times (in 2014, 2015 and 2017) and each time Governor Jerry Brown reversed the grant after the DA’s objections.

“To this day, Cecena has never accepted full responsibility for executing Officer Buggs and glosses over the full horror of his actions,” said Deputy DA Richard Sachs, who will argue against Cecena’s release. “Cecena’s words of purported acceptance ring hollow, and do not demonstrate that he has fully embraced the execution nature of this killing. Unless and until he faces that, he will continue to be unpredictable and dangerous.” [TWEET THIS]

[RELATED: SDPD Officer Archie Buggs Dedication Ceremony]

Justice Day at Alpha Project

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that her office is joining forces with criminal justice partners to help the homeless population currently living at the Alpha Project Shelter located in Downtown San Diego. The innovative “Justice Day” program is a collaborative effort between the District Attorney, Superior Court, Public Defender and the City Attorney.

A courtroom is essentially set up on site where residents have an opportunity to resolve court cases related to minor infractions and some misdemeanor conduct that was the result of circumstances surrounding homelessness. The program allows for court fines and fees to be deemed satisfied by recognizing their efforts in recovery. It also allows for a limited number of minor offenses to be dismissed in order to allow a path for individuals to move forward in life. To date, about 23 participants have been pre-screened and deemed eligible to participate in the program, based on their engagement with services at Alpha Project and their commitment to breaking the cycle of homelessness in their own lives.

“This Justice Day is one of the innovative ways that we help remove barriers and rebuild the lives of individuals who are homeless, by taking the Court directly to the bridge shelters,” said District Attorney Summer Stephan. “Today we help address outstanding citations or warrants that are just one more roadblock for someone who’s doing their best to turn their life around, get off the street, find a place to live and get a job.”

According to the most recent Regional Task Force on the Homeless Point-In-Time Count, almost two thirds of the unsheltered population has had some involvement with the justice system.

“One of the many missions of the Public Defender’s Office is to help those that have difficulty helping themselves. For many homeless clients, it is their past and not their present that is preventing them from escaping the cycle of homelessness. Something as simple as an unpaid trolley ticket could prevent the client from obtaining a driver’s license,” said Public Defender Randy Mize. “For these clients, being able to provide rehabilitation and a hand-up through Homeless Court, instead of incarceration, helps break down barriers to becoming a productive member of our community.”

“My Office has worked hard to develop innovative approaches that fill a critical void in our region’s approach to homelessness. Our San Diego Misdemeanants At Risk Track Program, which provides participants with tailored drug treatment programs, counseling, bridge housing, case management, and wrap around services, has helped our most vulnerable citizens get off the streets. Justice Day is yet another tool we’ll use to provide meaningful intervention and hope for those who need it most.”

Alpha Project is a nonprofit human services organization that serves over 4,000 men, women, and children each day. Part of the services offered by Alpha Project includes work, recovery and support services to homeless individuals who are motivated to change their lives and achieve self-sufficiency.

“Alpha Project would like to thank everyone involved with providing the Homeless Court session at the Temporary Bridge Shelter,” said Bob McElroy, CEO of Alpha Project. A lot of our residents will benefit from this service. This is a tremendous blessing”

The District Attorney’s Office has also dedicated two victim resource ‘navigators’ who are specifically tasked to be at the shelters and screen individuals who are victims of crime, connecting them to additional resources they may not have known about, such as victim compensation, mental health services and housing.

Separate from Justice Day, the District Attorney continues to participate in Homeless Court, which is part of the DA’s Collaborative Courts program.  Homeless Court continues to operate on a monthly basis at St. Vincent DePaul Village or Veterans Village of San Diego. On average, over 200 cases are addressed in Homeless Court for 60 participants each month. Collaborative Courts also participates in Stand Down, an annual summer event, which is a program that helps local homeless veterans get off the streets and back on track.

Beware of Medicare Card Fraud

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan today warned the elderly and disabled who receive Medicare benefits to protect themselves from scam artists who may try to obtain their personal identifying information. The warning comes as about 525,000 senior citizens in San Diego County begin to receive new Medicare Cards in the mail. Unfortunately, the new cards are also a new opportunity for scammers to take advantage of seniors and those with disabilities. [TWEET THIS]

“Ripping off hard working families won’t be tolerated in San Diego County,” said District Attorney Summer Stephan. “We’re here to help protect the benefits seniors have earned after a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice.”

San Diego County’s older population is growing; unfortunately, so are crimes against our older residents. Almost 23 percent of the population in our County is projected to be over age 65 by 2050, a 10 percent increase from 2015.

In the past few months, the District Attorney’s Office has stepped up its focus on preventing and fighting various forms of elder abuse—including financial fraud against seniors.  Since the start of 2017, the DA’s office has filed more than 100 cases involving theft from elder victims. In one recent case, the victim had their homes deeded away from them and sold without their knowledge.

New Medicare Card 2018

About 5.7 million people will receive new Medicare cards in California, including more than half-a-million people here in San Diego County. The new cards no longer have the recipient’s social security number on them, instead each individual will receive an 11-digit alpha numeric identifier. The cards remain red, white and blue and benefits are not changing in any way. The new cards come with information on how to use them and recipients can start using their cards as soon as they receive them.

Con artists are known to take advantage of moments like this when new cards or government programs are rolled out. District Attorney Summer Stephan had a specific warning today for seniors and some important information on how they can protect themselves from those who would take advantage of them.

Tips for seniors to protect themselves include:

  • When your new Medicare card arrives, keep it in a safe place.
  • Con artists may reach out and try to get your new 11-digit Medicare identifier so they can steal your identity and commit fraud…don’t give it to them.
  • There is no charge for your new card, so don’t pay anyone to send it to you.
  • Guard your Medicare card like it’s a credit card.
  • Don’t share or confirm your Medicare number or Social Security number with anyone who contacts you by telephone, email, or in person, unless you’ve given them permission in advance.
  • Medicare will NEVER contact you (unless you ask them to) to ask for your Medicare number or other personal information or to send you a new card. Medicare already has your information.
  • Don’t ever let anyone borrow or pay to use your Medicare number. If someone calls you and asks for your Medicare number or other personal information, hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE.
  • Give your Medicare number only to those you know should have it (doctors, pharmacists, or your health insurer).
  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE to report suspected fraud. [TWEET THIS]

To learn more about protecting yourself from identity theft and health care fraud, visit Medicare.gov/fraud

Earlier this month, District Attorney Summer Stephan announced the formation and first meeting of an Elder Protection Council, a private/public collaboration designed to raise awareness, enhance prevention and improve protection for San Diego County’s elder population.

“Our society will be judged on how we treat our most vulnerable, including our children and our seniors,” said District Attorney Summer Stephan. “With this countywide initiative, we’re proactively responding to an increase in elder abuse crime as this population continues to grow.”

According to a recent SANDAG report, violent crimes against San Diego residents 60 years of age and older increased by 20 percent last year. The report shows there were 838 crimes against seniors including 13 homicides, 25 rapes, 210 robberies, and 590 aggravated assaults in 2017.

Additional research showed that while the increase may be due to the growing number of 60-year-old residents in our region – up 20% percent – it was not the sole reason. Seniors are targeted because they are less likely to report a crime against them. [TWEET THIS]

Taking the Fight Against Human Trafficking to Africa

Taking the Fight Against Human Trafficking to Africa

Foreign countries seek the expertise of San Diego County’s law enforcement from time to time and recently, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office brought its experience in fighting human trafficking to Africa. [TWEET THIS]

Two prosecutors from the DA’s Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking Unit recently returned from a trip to Nigeria where they spoke with attorneys there about how the San Diego District Attorney’s Office is confronting sex trafficking.

Taking the Fight Against Human Trafficking to Africa. From left to right, Deputy Public Defender Jesus Romero, Deputy District Attorneys Marisa Di Tillio and Mary-Ellen Barrett.

Deputy District Attorneys Mary-Ellen Barrett and Marisa Di Tillio traveled to Nigeria along with the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office’s Deputy Public Defender Jesus Romero, who sat on a panel about reforming the Nigerian judicial system to something similar to what we have in the United States. The trip was sponsored and paid for by the Conference of Western Attorneys General.

Deputy DA’s Barrett and Di Tillio presented at two separate symposiums, one on transnational crime and wildlife trafficking, and the other on the effective administration of law. Their presentations focused on human trafficking and barriers to investigating transnational crime, as well as emerging trends in proving cases and efficiency in administration of justice. They also sat on panels where they answered questions about the task force and team approach to the investigation of crimes that traverse borders, which was a topic of great interest to the attendees.

The second symposium was attended by state lawyers for Cross Rivers state, including their Attorney General. Cross Rivers state, which is about twice the size of San Diego County, has 22 lawyers and 1,000 pending cases, both civil and criminal.

“By the end of the day, a comradery between prosecutors from different countries and different systems developed,” said Deputy District Attorney Mary-Ellen Barrett. “We are all trying to achieve justice for victims and for suspects. I was struck by how lucky we are at this office to have the resources and leadership to move the fight for justice forward.”

Deputy DA’s Barrett and Di Tillio were able to provide attendees with proof that the rule of law works to ensure an orderly and fair society and see that it is possible and productive to work with the defense to ensure better outcomes on cases. [TWEET THIS]