Vern PiersonDistrict AttorneyCounty of El Dorado, California
In January of 2007, Vern became El Dorado County’s District Attorney. He has personally prosecuted numerous, significant cases such as the murder of C.H.P Officer Scott Russell and Phil and Nancy Garrido for the 1991 abduction of Jaycee Lee Dugard. He created a highly successful Cold Homicide Task Force and developed one of the first paperless prosecutor’s offices in California. For more than five years he has also served as the county’s Chief Technology Officer. Vern serves on the Board of Directors for the California District Attorneys Association and is the co-chair of the Association’s Ethics and Insurance Fraud Committees. He continues to instruct law enforcement and prosecutors including recent presentations of the Paperless Prosecutors Office for CDAA and Creating the Virtual Crime Scene using Drone Technology for CDAIA. He is currently developing an update for his book, the California Evidence Pocketbook that is published by the California District Attorneys Association and used daily by prosecutors throughout the state. Vern also serves on CDAA’s Legislative Committee wherein others seek his opinion on proposed and newly introduced legislation effecting public safety, most recently drone technology. Vern was instrumental in the passage of several pieces of legislation including drafting AB 141 (Cohn), which expands the use of propensity evidence in child abuse and domestic violence cases. After learning a teacher charged with child molestation was seeking to retain his teaching credentials, Vern drafted SB 2005, carried by then Senator Tim Leslie, which forever barred convicted sex offenders from working in our classrooms. From 1999 until 2012, he served as part of the Committee that provides the annual legal update for Peace Officers Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) and many thousands of California’s front line law enforcement officers. He contributed to the Field Guide used by thousands of police officers throughout the state. During his career, Vern has prosecuted countless cases ranging in seriousness from misdemeanor violations to prosecutions of violent and sophisticated career criminals, sex offenders and murder. He has personally prosecuted approximately 100 cases through jury trial and has been assigned as a vertical prosecutor for domestic violence and sexual assault. In addition to being a county prosecutor, Vern served for several years with the California Department of Justice as Deputy Attorney General in the Appeals, Writs and Trial Division.
Shortly after high school, Vern enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the 101st Airborne (Air Assault). He attained the rank of Sergeant and is a graduate of the Army’s Airborne and Air Assault schools. The recipient of the Army Commendation and Army Achievement Medals, Vern attended the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy (P.L.D.C.) in Ansbach, Germany, and graduated with the rare distinction of simultaneously being designated the Honor Graduate and recipient of the Leadership Award. Vern also represented USAREUR in a combat marksmanship team and served with 1/18 Long Range Surveillance Detachment (LRSD) Airborne.
Vern’s experience in the military and his strong work ethic were instrumental in his successfully earning his way through college and then law school. Upon graduation, Vern was near the top of his class, with honors including the American Jurisprudence Award for scholarship and excellence in Constitutional Law.
Vern and Cyndee, his wife of 26 years, continue to be actively involved in supporting at-risk children and military veterans. An example of this would be the annual Snowball Event. This December marked the 8th anniversary of this event where annually more than 180 at-risk children go Christmas shopping with members of law enforcement, fire service and Big Brothers/Big Sisters mentors. As a result of an effort founded and supported by Vern and Cyndee, more than one thousand children have directly benefited, receiving more than a quarter of a million dollars in much needed necessities, and the community has benefited by the building of a bond between first responders and at-risk children. Vern formed a 5-member team to compete in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March as a fundraiser for veterans. He and his team raised thousands of dollars and completed the full marathon carrying more than 35 pounds each, winning the civilian heavy category.
Vern and Cyndee regard their three children as their greatest accomplishments. Their sons, Sam and Chad, have served with the 82nd Airborne. Their daughter Ilyse is in college with the goal of being a public school teacher.
Elected as County of El Dorado District Attorney in 2007.
We dedicate ourselves, while recognizing the dignity of all individuals, to objectively and effectively investigate and prosecute matters under the Law to achieve justice and to minimize trauma to victims
Goals, Beliefs and Values
•We always seek the truth.
•We uphold public trust with unwavering integrity.
•We believe in personal responsibility and accountability.
•We are committed to fair and equitable justice for all.
•We work cohesively with our law enforcement partners, our communities and each other to achieve justice.
•We have the courage to pursue innovation in everything we do.
•We value open communication and an informed citizenry.
•We acknowledge and respect the diverse views and contributions of all in the criminal justice system and in our communities.
El Dorado County DAs ~ Past & Present
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