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Community Prosecution Unit

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“Restoring our Neighborhoods Together”
 
The Community Prosecution Program taps the creativity of the District Attorney’s Office by placing prosecutors in local communities where they work shoulder to shoulder with local citizens, businesses, as well as county and city agencies to reshape community conditions specific to local crime problems.  By moving prosecutors out of the courthouse and making them actual community stakeholders, the local community benefits by increasing the community capacity to deal with local crime problems. 
 
Our purpose is to improve the quality of life and make
our neighborhoods safe
 
Quality of Life Issues Addressed by the Community Prosecution Unit
  • Youth Crime Prevention
  • Graffiti & Blight
  • Traffic Safety
  • Gang & Drug Problems
  • Building & Code Enforcement
  • School Safety
The District Attorney’s Office working with the Restorative Justice Project has established the role of “Community Prosecutor.”  In this role, the District Attorney leaves the traditional role of investigation and prosecution in a courtroom and downtown offices.  This Community Prosecutor position operates in the Restorative Justice Project area and meets with project staff, community residents, neighborhood associations, and other agency personnel within and outside the justice system.
 
Community Prosecutors review cases generated in their districts and become familiar with crime patterns.  They are quicker to recognize trends, changes, and local concerns.  By becoming familiar with the patterns, they can critically examine the conditions that allow crime to occur.  This requires that prosecutors abandon preconceived notions of routine sanctions of arrest, prosecution, incarceration, and probation and listen carefully to what the community thinks should happen to correct the situation.  Then, in collaboration with other stakeholders in the neighborhood, they can develop problem-solving strategies that can target and change those conditions.  Because the program emphasizes problem solving as close to the source of the problem as possible and focuses on solving local crime problems with local resources, there is a wide range of activities that are encompassed within the Community Prosecutor Program.
 
The Community Prosecutor works with the Community Coordinator, Neighborhood Accountability Boards, and the Police/Sheriff to clean-up blighted areas by assisting residents to identify houses, businesses and other activities that make their community a less desirable place to live and enhance community risk factors.  The Community Prosecutor helps the community attack both criminal elements and community conditions that lend themselves to crime by working in collaboration with other public and private agencies providing services to these communities.  The Community Prosecutor will have knowledge of all criminal filings in the project area.
 
The Community Prosecutor seizes the opportunity to help the community gain some sense of empowerment by demonstrating that they can take collective action to resolve problems.  The Community Prosecutor along with neighbors and association members walk the streets and identifies trouble spots, buildings with possible code violations, vacant lots being used for dumping trash, and all graffiti related offenses.
 
The Community Prosecutor is the head of the Community Protection Team that is comprised of representatives from the law enforcement and social agencies that serve the target area.  The Community Protection Team works to actively involve the community in improving the quality of life in a target area.  The District Attorney’s neighborhood program is called Operation Spotlight.  The Deputy District Attorneys work closely with the Neighborhood Accountability Boards.  These programs are described below:
 
“OPERATION SPOTLIGHT” is a program developed by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office Community Prosecution Unit and the Probation Department’s Restorative Justice Project.  The goal of the program is to build lasting, effective partnerships between a particular neighborhood and its service providers to enhance the community’s quality of life.  The Community prosecutor leads a Technical Team of representatives from City and County agencies servicing an identified neighborhood.  The prosecutor meets with the team on a regular basis to develop and implement strategies to address problems identified by the community that affect the quality of life within that neighborhood.  The District Attorney, in conjunction with the Probation Office’s Community Coordinator and the Technical Team, schedules events, meetings and training in the Spotlighted Area.  The Neighborhood selects Block Captains who act as liaisons between law enforcement and the community, forming relationships that will last beyond the duration of the Spotlight program.
 
"RESTORATIVE JUSTICE” is a project designed to empower the community.  It consists of three prongs:  The Community Protection, Offender Accountability to Victims and the Community and Competency Development.  Each prong is as important as the others.  Law Enforcement cannot protect a community without its support and offenders cannot be rehabilitated without accounting to the community for their actions.  The probation office focuses on Youth offenders.  They have established Neighborhood Accountability Boards (NAB’s) in several communities to bring youthful offenders to review by the neighbors with whom they live.
 
For More Information Please Contact:
 
Marc Buller
Office of the District Attorney
Assistant District Attorney - Supervisor
70 West Hedding Street, West Wing
San Jose, CA 95110
Phone: (408) 792-2770
 
Gilroy Community Justice Office
Stephen Lowney, Supervising Deputy District Attorney
17275 Butterfield Blvd., Suite A
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
Phone: (408) 201-0538
 
Alum Rock, Berryessa, Mayfair, and Milpitas
Johnny Gogo, Deputy District Attorney
70 West Hedding Street, West Wing
San Jose, CA 95110
Email: jgogo@da.sccgov.org
Phone: (408) 792-2632
 
Mountain View & North County
Brian Welch, Supervising Deputy District Attorney
270 Grant Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94306
Phone: (650) 324-6414