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Administrative Services is responsible for assisting prosecutors, investigators and support staff in fulfilling the mission of the District Attorney's Office to promote justice and protect the citizens of Ventura County. Overseen by a chief deputy district attorney, this division provides a wide range of services to support the operational needs of the District Attorney's Office. Administrative Services includes the Information Technology Unit; Clerical Support Services; and the Fiscal, Administrative and Legislative Services Unit. The dedicated men and women in these units work behind the scenes to accomplish the critical functions that keep the office running. The division meets the computer and networking needs of the largest law office in the county, provides the clerical support necessary to handle more than 15,000 criminal cases each year, administers the operating budget, and provides human resources support to approximately 250 employees. In addition, Administrative Services manages facilities in seven locations, administers numerous grant and revenue programs, and serves as the primary liaison to the County Executive Office, Human Resources and Labor Relations Offices, and the Auditor-Controller's Office.
A designated prosecutor within the Sexual Assault Family Protection Unit works with law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute crimes perpetrated against elders in our communities. These crimes may include physical and emotional abuse, neglect, identity theft, and financial abuse. The unit focuses on elderly victims of crime, which by statute is defined as someone 65 years of age or older, so as to accommodate their needs and concerns. The assigned deputy district attorney works closely with Adult Protective Services, Area Agency on Aging, police departments and senior community groups to raise awareness of crimes against elders and assist in the recognition, investigation and prosecution of offenders. This attorney also presents to local senior groups to raise awareness of these crimes and address related issues that may affect elders in our community.
Law enforcement agencies in Ventura County have joined the District Attorney's Office in our joint effort to thoroughly investigate and prosecute all crimes of domestic violence. In accordance with our protocol, police are trained in proper methods for investigating these cases so that all available evidence is gathered in a timely manner. This may include obtaining recorded statements of witnesses, photographs, documentation of all injuries, and securing other evidence. Due to the challenging nature of proving domestic violence charges in court, these cases are assigned to and handled vertically by deputy district attorneys in the Sexual Assault/Family Protection Unit.
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Fiscal Services is responsible for administering the fiduciary responsibilities of the District Attorney's Office by providing professional fiscal oversight and monitoring of the department's budget. Fiscal staff manages budget preparation and monitoring, payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, timely deposit of revenue and coordination of fiscal audits. Additionally, staff maintains accurate financial records and internal fiscal controls to ensure compliance with generally accepted accounting principles, policies and procedures, collect and analyze financial information, and prepare periodic accounting and financial reports. Lastly, staff provides technical advice and assistance regarding fiscal matters as well as ensuring compliance with purchasing procedures and serve as the liaison to the County's Auditor/Controller's Office and Purchasing Department.
Grants Administration is responsible for administering and collecting revenue in the form of federal, state and local grants as well as special programs averaging $15 million annually. Many of these grants are funded from federal and state programs designed to augment the District Attorney's Office with the resources needed to investigate and prosecute specialized crimes. Grants and dedicated program revenues greatly improve our ability to address the needs of vulnerable populations susceptible to being harmed by crimes involving elder abuse, real estate fraud, workers' compensation insurance fraud, welfare fraud, and gang violence. Grants administration staff assist with the preparation and submittal of grant progress reports, routine grant renewal applications, program audits and Board of Supervisors agenda items and letters.
Human Resources is responsible for administering human resources, employee benefits administration, risk management, labor relations, workers' compensation benefits, and various other administrative duties for the approximately 250 staff members of the District Attorney's Office. Staff ensure the consistent interpretation and application of applicable Memoranda of Agreement between the County and various unions, labor laws and the County's Personnel Rules and Regulations. Employee and witness travel arrangements are also handled by the unit which involves out of county, out of state and, occasionally, out of country travel. Additionally, staff serve as the office liaison with County HR/Benefits, Labor Relations, Risk Management, and various other county agencies as well as outside vendors.
For those interested in employment with the District Attorney's Office, please visit the county's web site at www.ventura.org/hr for a listing of current job opportunities.
The vast majority of the criminal prosecutions of misdemeanor offenses are handled within the Misdemeanor Unit. These crimes include driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, theft, being under the influence of controlled substances, battery, resisting arrest and many others. Over 10,000 cases a year are prosecuted by the Misdemeanor Unit. Misdemeanor cases are typically submitted by local law enforcement agencies for review by prosecutors who then file charges as appropriate. At the initial court date for arraignment, copies of the complaint and police reports will be available to defense counsel or a defendant without an attorney and a calendar deputy district attorney will inform defense counsel of the recommended disposition. Once a misdemeanor case is set for trial, it is assigned to a deputy district attorney. Questions about cases should be directed to the assigned attorney, since calendar attorneys generally do not depart from recommended case dispositions. The name and telephone number of the assigned attorney may be obtained by calling the misdemeanor records desk at 805-654-3118
Crimes involving sexual assault, whether by fear, force or other means, are among the most serious cases handled by the District Attorney's Office. Such crimes include statutory rape, child molestation and numerous forcible and other sex crimes that may be punishable by lengthy prison sentences. The Sexual Assault/Family Protection Unit handles all misdemeanor and felony sexual assault, physical child abuse, elder abuse, victims with disabilities, sexual offender registrants, and domestic violence cases.
Cases involving sexual assault and domestic violence crimes are assigned by the unit supervisor in a vertical prosecution format. This means an individual deputy district attorney is assigned to each case from the point when law enforcement completes their investigation through all hearings, trial and sentencing. Unit attorneys receive specialized training to reduce the anxiety and uncertainty crime victims, especially children, have about the criminal justice process.
In this unit, deputy district attorneys work as a team with an investigator and a victim advocate. The investigator ensures all evidence is obtained and assists attorneys with properly preparing witnesses for trial. The victim advocate is the primary liaison between the victim and the prosecution team, keeping the victim informed of the progress of the case and pending court dates. As part of this process, assigned deputy district attorneys are available to meet with victims of crime. The prosecution team seeks to make the court experience more understandable and tolerable for each victim. The assigned deputy district attorney is ultimately responsible for presenting the case in court after assessing legal issues which may impact the likelihood of obtaining a conviction.