Tag Archive for: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Photo of Deputy District Attorney Allana Platt for AAPI Month.

Meet Deputy District Attorney Allana Platt

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which is observed throughout the month of May, we are featuring stories of DA employees, what inspired them to pursue a career in public service and their contributions at the DA’s Office.

Meet Deputy District Attorney Allana Platt, who has been at the DA’s Office for the past three years and is currently assigned to the Preliminary Team in the South Bay Branch. As a prelim Deputy DA, her day to day typically involves preparing felony cases by reviewing discovery, speaking with victims, conducting preliminary hearings, and handling the felony arraignment calendar. Read more about what inspired Allana to pursue career in law enforcement at the DA’s Office, below.

What inspired you to pursue a career in law enforcement/ at the DA’s Office?

“My desire to pursue a career at the DA’s Office really developed while I was in college at Gonzaga University. While there, I received an education infused with Jesuit values. Throughout my classes, there was a strong emphasis on social justice and serving the community around me. I decided to pair that mission with my interest in criminal law and wanted to become a prosecutor. Additionally, my grandparents were immigrants from China and operated a cash-run laundry in Encino, Los Angeles. My mom and her five siblings all worked the cash registers starting at a young age. I always heard stories of the business being robbed, and my grandfather never reported the crime to police due to fear and distrust of the criminal justice system. Another reason I decided to pursue a career in law enforcement is because it’s important to me that the DA’s office reflects the community we represent.”

Why is AAPI Month important to you?

AAPI Month is special to me because I believe it’s important to recognize and celebrate the achievements of those in the AAPI community. Growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood and school, I always felt the need to assimilate. I failed to embrace my community and culture until I grew a lot older. I now understand how powerful and impactful I can be as an Asian-American prosecutor. But overall, AAPI month symbolizes the immense pride that I now take in my heritage, my culture, and my community.”

Meet Legal Support Manager Gina Peralta

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which is observed throughout the month of May, we are featuring stories of DA employees, what inspired them to pursue a career in public service and their contributions at the DA’s Office.

Meet Legal Support Manager Gina Peralta, who works in multiple divisions, including Economic Crimes, Insurance Fraud and Workplace Justice and Victim Services. She provides support and assistance in the day-to-day operations to all Deputy DAs, DA Investigators, Paralegals and clerical staff. She provides guidance, training, and counseling (when needed) to all clerical staff and motivate them to do well in their various assignments. As an LSM, she takes care of various service and purchasing requests, processing, and submitting new hire LAN accounts, transfers of DA employees as well as outside agency to the IT Department, handling problem resolution and difficult personnel issues. Gina has been with the DA’s Office since 1999. Read more about what inspired Gina to pursue career in law enforcement at the DA’s Office, below.

What inspired you to pursue a career in law enforcement/ at the DA’s Office?
“I believe that our office plays an integral part in keeping the community safe. I’m honored to be part of an organization that protects the innocent and helps the victims gets justice. I’m proud of what our office does and will always support the values and service we give to the San Diego community.”

Why is AAPI Month important to you?
“I’m thankful that our office celebrates AAPI month by recognizing the contribution of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the society. I wish that more people will take the time to learn about our culture and heritage through our traditions, beliefs, music, food, and different languages. I hope that it will encourage everyone to embrace all our differences and promote understanding and respect. Everyone deserves to be valued as a person.”

Meet Legal Support Supervisor Solomon Bautista

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which is observed throughout the month of May, we are featuring stories of DA employees, what inspired them to pursue a career in public service and their contributions at the DA’s Office.

Meet Legal Support Supervisor Solomon Bautista, who works in the Family Protection Division. He has been with the office for nine years. He started his career with the DA’s office in 2015 as a Departmental Clerk in the Superior Court Records division. He currently co-supervises a team of 10 support staff consisting of Legal Support Assistants, Criminal Legal Secretaries, and Student Workers. Some of his work duties include training and evaluating the work of support staff, creating, and implementing procedures, preparing reports, purchasing supplies, paying for miscellaneous expenses, creating service tickets and maintenance requests, and responding to CMS assistance inquiries. Read more about what inspired Solomon to pursue career in law enforcement at the DA’s Office, below.

What inspired you to pursue a career in law enforcement/ at the DA’s Office?

“I chose a career with the DA’s office because I felt a connection with our mission to serve the public and pursue a fair and equal justice for all. In addition, I really enjoy working with my co-workers and the work environment. I have had the chance to work with and meet a lot of amazing people. As a Legal Support Supervisor, I have the opportunity to work with and train a lot of new employees who are just getting started with their careers. I love this part of my job because I get the chance to see the members of our team grow. The work I perform is more behind the scenes but seeing our attorneys, investigators, paralegals, victim advocates and staff’s passion for their work and commitment to victims of crime, also inspires me to do my job to the best of my ability.”

Why is AAPI Month important to you?

“As a Filipino American, AAPI month is important to me because it gives us an opportunity to celebrate and recognize the achievements of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and their cultures. Being born and raised in the United States, it was important to me to learn about Filipino culture and where my parents and grandparents were originally from. I also made an effort to learn the language since I have many relatives in the Philippines and wanted to be able to communicate with everyone when I visit them. For me, I find it interesting being multilingual or multicultural since I believe it changes the way you think and behave. The norms, values, beliefs, and expectations can differ from one culture to another but this is also why I think it is very important to know more about other cultures so we can learn, understand and be empathetic to one another and continue to grow.”

Meet Deputy District Attorney Justine Santiago

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which is observed throughout the month of May, we are featuring stories of DA employees, what inspired them to pursue a career in public service and their contributions at the DA’s Office.

Meet Deputy District Attorney Justine Santiago, who began her career as a Graduate Law Clerk in 2011 and was hired as a Deputy DA in November of 2012. She is currently the Family Protection Team Leader in the South Bay Branch, where she leads the team responsible for prosecuting all Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, and Elder Abuse cases in South Bay. Read more about what inspired Justine to pursue career in law enforcement at the DA’s Office, below.

What inspired you to pursue a career in law enforcement/ at the DA’s Office?

“I have always known that I wanted to help others and pursue justice for victims who are unable to fight for themselves. I went to law school with this goal in mind and was extremely fortunate to find this office that shares in my ideals of ethical prosecution and protection of the community. I am extremely proud to be working at the San Diego DA’s Office, and I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as a voice for victims in our community.”

Why is AAPI Month important to you?

AAPI Month provides me, a Second Generation American, with a unique opportunity to reflect on where I came from, and the sacrifices made by my parents that have allowed me to become successful. AAPI Month celebrates the diversity and culture that we contribute to society and positively highlights an oftentimes overlooked community.”

Meet Supervising I.T. Engineer Arvin Viernes

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which is observed throughout the month of May, we are featuring stories of DA employees, what inspired them to pursue a career in public service and their contributions at the DA’s Office.

Meet Supervising I.T. Engineer Arvin Viernes. His ITD network and infrastructure team are the caretakers of the DA’s datacenter which provides connectivity between the I. T. devices used within the office and branch sites. They manage the central storage for all DA files and take care of the servers that allow staff access to the Wi-Fi, DA criminal applications, internet, and email among other resources.  Arvin has been with the DA’s office since 2006 and prior to joining the DA, worked as Sr. I.T. Systems Administrator for the Coast Community College District in Huntington Beach. Read more about what inspired Arvin to pursue career in law enforcement at the DA’s Office, below.

What inspired you to pursue a career in law enforcement/ at the DA’s Office?

“Although my career path was not in law enforcement, I.T. service in the DA’s office translates to service to my hometown. I’ve lived in San Diego since my early childhood after immigrating to the Unites States from the Philippines. Although I really enjoyed working in Huntington Beach, I always knew that San Diego was/is home and is where I wanted to raise a family. When the opportunity became available to serve my home community through the DA’s office, I was 100% on board and fortunate to be accepted into the DA family.”

Why is AAPI Month important to you?

“I think AAPI Heritage Month is a great opportunity for the United States to showcase what this country is all about. The ideas, ideals, and cultural contributions offered by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders help shape the face of San Diego along with the many other communities across the country. I believe that cultural celebrations like AAPI Month greatly help to highlighting the diversity of this nation, promote greater understanding, and encourage acceptance of all cultures as Americans.”

 

Meet Paralegal Supervisor Jennifer Samaniego

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which is observed throughout the month of May, we are featuring stories of DA employees, what inspired them to pursue a career in public service and their contributions at the DA’s Office.

Meet Paralegal Supervisor Jennifer Samaniego. She supervises 11 paralegals in three divisions: two paralegals in the Major Narcotics Division, four paralegals in the Gang Prosecution Division, and five paralegals in the Special Operations Division.  In this role, she works with the chiefs and assistant chiefs of each division on all issues related to paralegal staff, including coordination of workloads and telework schedules. She evaluates the performance of her paralegal staff and works with them on any areas needing improvement or development. She also interviews paralegal applicants to fill vacancies in paralegal positions, paralegal intern positions, and student worker positions.  She says her favorite part of the job is interacting with staff and providing advice and guidance. Read more about what inspired Jennifer to pursue career in law enforcement at the DA’s Office, below.

What inspired you to pursue a career in law enforcement/ at the DA’s Office?

“While attending USD, I worked part-time in a law office for a criminal defense attorney. The justice process intrigued me, so I applied for a position in the DA’s Office. Once I experienced the teamwork and dedication to the mission of bringing justice to victims, I knew this is where I would spend my career.”

Why is AAPI Month important to you?

“AAPI month is important to me because it’s a time to recognize the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to our community. In the current climate of hate crimes against AAPI, it’s a reminder that diversity is the strength of our country.”

Meet the Chief of the Insurance Fraud and Workplace Justice Division Victor Ou

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which is observed throughout the month of May, we are featuring stories of DA employees, what inspired them to pursue a career in public service and their contributions at the DA’s Office.

Meet the Chief of the Insurance Fraud and Workplace Justice Division Victor Ou, who has been a Deputy District Attorney for the San Diego County DA’s Office since 2002. As Chief of the Insurance and Workplace Justice Division, Victor supervises a group of over 50 Deputy DAs, DA Investigators, paralegals and support staff and work with several partnering agencies to fight insurance fraud, complex auto theft, wage theft, and labor trafficking.  The California Insurance Code and Vehicle Code require the collection of certain fees to be set aside to support the investigation and prosecution of these types of cases, and the Insurance Fraud and Workplace Justice Division manages the San Diego County DA’s Office’s allotment of such funds and directs those resources towards the effective prosecution of all forms of insurance fraud to protect workers, victims of auto theft and auto insurance fraud, and promote fair competition in the workplace. Read more about what inspired Victor to pursue career in law enforcement at the DA’s Office, below.

What inspired you to pursue a career in law enforcement/ at the DA’s Office?

“As with most people, my personal beliefs and values have been shaped by my upbringing and personal experiences. When I was very young, my parents immigrated to the US, and they opened a small restaurant. Their dedication to making an honest living taught me the virtues of hard work and integrity. They were robbed multiple times at gunpoint, and the restaurant was burglarized; however, they worked with local law enforcement, installed various burglar alarms and cameras, and they were resilient, continuing to work hard to support the family and teach their kids the importance of education and hard work. After law school, I initially joined the DA’s Office to get some trial experience, and as I handled cases and worked with crime victims, I immediately found that pursuit of justice and helping victims meshed with my own personal values. Prosecutors have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable persons in society and to do so fairly and ethically, and I have cherished the opportunity to serve the community in this role for the past 22 years.”

Why is AAPI Month important to you?

“San Diego is a wonderfully diverse community, and in our cases, there are times when victims and witnesses better communicate and identify with people from similar backgrounds and cultures. This is why diversity is important in the legal community and it is certainly valued within the DA’s Office. AAPI Month holds a profound significance for me as a Taiwanese American who grew up in a small town in California that, in the late 70’s and 80’s, could not be described as ‘diverse’ in the slightest. Having to navigate this intersection of my heritage and upbringing has given me a unique perspective and has deepened my appreciation of the diverse cultural tapestry that AAPI month celebrates. It is a time to reflect on the contributions and sacrifices of AAPI individuals who have helped shape the legal landscape and the broader society. This month is not just a personal celebration of heritage; it’s a powerful reminder of the resilience and strength that diversity brings to our communities and the justice system. It reinforces my commitment to equity and justice, honoring the legacy of those who paved the way and inspiring a more inclusive future for all.”