|"Our Mission is to bring justice and safety to our community by aggressively
and fairly prosecuting crime and protecting the rights of crime victims."
THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
District Attorney Gerald Shea is an elected official supervising an office of 95 employees. The office is located in the County Courthouse Annex Building at 1035 Palm Street in the city of San Luis Obispo.
The District Attorney has the mandated responsibility, under Government Code Section 26500, to investigate, evaluate and prosecute criminal violations committed within the county, to provide legal assistance to criminal investigations conducted by law enforcement agencies operating within the county, and to advise the Grand Jury.
Typically, the Criminal Division receives information in the form of police reports from law enforcement officers who suspect that a California criminal law has been violated. The police reports ultimately are processed and given to Deputy District Attorneys within the office for review and for consideration of the filing of criminal charges. In some cases, when deemed appropriate, the matter is also assigned to an investigator within the District Attorney’s Office.
An Assistant District Attorney, Chief Deputy District Attorney, Chief District Attorney Investigator and several division managers supervise the daily operations of the office. A staff of 31 Deputy District Attorneys prosecutes felonies (serious offenses where a state prison sentence is possible), misdemeanors (offenses punishable by fine or county jail sentence), juvenile and certain limited civil cases. All felony cases are prosecuted in the county seat of San Luis Obispo. Misdemeanor cases may be prosecuted in the San Luis Obispo and Grover Beach branch courts.
The Felony Team “vertically prosecutes” all cases with an assigned Deputy District Attorney managing all aspects of the case from initial appearance of the defendant to sentencing of the defendant. A significant portion of the caseload handled by felony prosecutors are mental health cases involving prisoners at Atascadero State Hospital. The County of San Luis Obispo is responsible for civil commitment proceedings regarding Sexually Violent Predators who committed their offenses within San Luis Obispo County. Further, the office prosecutes civil commitment hearings for all Mentally Disordered Offenders housed at the State Hospital regardless of where their crime was committed amongst the 58 counties in the State of California.
Certain types of cases are assigned to units staffed by Deputy District Attorneys with specialized training and experience:
The operations of the 15-member Investigations Unit, 6-member Economic Crime Unit and 17-member Victim/Witness Assistance Division are described elsewhere on this website.
The support staff of approximately 40 legal clerks, paralegals, administrative assistants and account clerks provide the necessary support and resources for the attorneys and investigators to successfully fulfill their case preparation and prosecution duties. The office prosecutes on an annual basis approximately:
- 2,000 felonies
- 15,000 misdemeanors
- 750 juvenile criminal cases
- 450 mental health cases
The Economic Crime Unit collected approximately $450,000 for victims of non-sufficient funds checks issued within the county (July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006). During this same period, the Victim/Witness Assistance Division provided services to 3,500 victims and assisted recipients of 11,000 subpoenas.