Contra Costa County seal

Twelve applicants are vying to fill the Contra Costa County District Attorney position left vacant by Chief Prosecutor Mark Peterson’s resignation on June 14. Unsurprisingly, the field is heavily weighted with current and former prosecutors. You can read their applications (a 170 page pdf) and check out the short profiles in this East Bay Times article.

Board of Supervisors Chair Federal Glover says the Board is “committed to an open and transparent process during the selection period” and that it’s important for the public to have “ample opportunity to provide input as we make this very important decision.”  

Let’s hold them to that! There’s much we can do to highlight progressive positions about racial and juvenile justice, mass incarceration of people of color, bail reform, and more, during the selection process. Attend the Board of Supervisors’ upcoming meetings and forum, and submit questions and comments:

  • At its regular public meeting on Tuesday August 1 at 9:00 am, the Board will review all applications and narrow the field to 3-5 finalists.
  • At the Board’s public forum on Tuesday August 15 at 6:00 pm the finalists will participate in a discussion moderated by former County Clerk Steve Weir.  
  • Submit public comments and/or questions to be posed to the finalists at the August 15 forum.
  • After the forum the Board will interview the final applicants at its September 12 public meeting. The Board could make the appointment that day or at the September 19 meeting.  
  • Give input to your Supervisor by email, phone, or online.
  • Board meetings are held at the County Administration Building, 651 Pine Street, Martinez, and are streamed and broadcast on Contra Costa Television.

Can’t think of questions? Post these suggested questions, or use them to spark your own:

  • What have you done in your work that has impacted the number of people in our county jails and state prisons?
  • How would you reduce racial disparities in the criminal justice system?
  • What would you do to reduce the negative impact of prosecutions on immigrant communities?
  • What’s an example of an action you’ve taken in your current job that indicates what you’d do to reform practices in the DA’s office?
  • Describe specific approaches and programs you’ve adopted or worked with that have reduced crime without increasing incarceration.

The applicants are:  

  • Diana Becton (Contra Costa Superior Court judge),
  • David G. Brown (former Contra Costa deputy DA),
  • John Delgado (San Francisco assistant DA),
  • Danielle Douglas (Contra Costa Superior Court judge),
  • Paul J. Graves (senior Contra Costa deputy DA),
  • William H. Green (director of the criminal conflict program of the Contra Costa Bar Association),
  • Thomas J. Kensok (Contra Costa assistant DA),
  • Richard A. Madsen (owner of Madsen Law Firm),
  • Michael Martin Menesini (San Francisco assistant DA),
  • Brad J. Nix (Stanislaus County deputy DA),
  • Michael James Roemer (former Alameda County deputy DA),
  • Patrick Vanier (Santa Clara County deputy DA).

If we learn of any public forums to meet and question the candidates we’ll post them on our Facebook page. Know of any? Please post in the comments or on FB.

By Heidi Rand

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