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Assistant DAs give thumbs down to boss
Verber Salazaar

Thirty-five attorneys in the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office have made it clear they have no confidence in their boss, DA Tori Verber Salazar, to effectively manage prosecutions.

The April 7 vote conducted by the District Attorney’s portion of the San Joaquin County Attorney's Association (SJCAA) saw 42 of the members eligible to vote cast no confidence votes.

Seven indicated  they had confidence in Verber Salazar who is up for re-election this year.

The DA’s website lists a staff of 78 attorneys. That means almost half of all attorneys that prosecute criminal and civil cases on behalf of the people of San Joaquín County lack confidence in Verber Salazar’s ability to essentially do her job.

Based on those that cast votes, 83 percent of the attorneys believe Verber Salazar is not effective in her position arguably as the top law enforcement officer for San Joaquin County.

In a memo sent to members from attorney Donald Vaughn who serves as a deputy DA in the homicide unit, it was made clear the  SJCAA board and its membership are not endorsing any political candidate for any political office.  Vaughn added “this vote should not be construed as such.”

“The 83% vote of no confidence is unprecedented in 150 years history of the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office,” noted Ro Freitas who is challenging Verber in the June primary. “The vote was announced by (the) San Joaquin County attorneys’ association president . . . mirrors the vote of no confidence taken by the rank and file against the poster boys for ‘let’s baby criminals just give them a light slap on the wrist’ version of criminal ‘justice’ being practiced by George Gascon in Los Angeles and Chesa Boudin in San Francisco.”

Freitas is referring to efforts underway to reduce efforts to prosecute certain criminals in a manner that would likely could end up in jail or prison if found guilty of crimes.

The DA challenger contends Verber Salazar has often aligned herself with the criminal reform initiatives advanced by Gascon and Boudin.

Verber Salazar has been praised by using such an approach to dealing with the homeless, but her efforts to do the same with other criminal cases has met with mixed reaction from the public and various rank-and-file police officers.

Freitas currently serves as co-chairman of the California District Attorneys Association Gang Violence Suppression Committee, is a Lodi Unified School District trustee and was the San Joaquin County Probation Officers Court Employee of the Year for 2018.

 “In an overwhelming repudiation of District Attorney Tori Verber’s managerial style and abilities, her own employees, the people that know her best,  gave her a ringing no confidence vote and joined local law enforcement and first responders in saying enough is enough and that her ‘soft on crime’ policies and get out of jail free cards have made our county a more dangerous place to live, Freitas added.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email