Alan Jackson, a veteran Los Angeles County prosecutor whose bid to become district attorney ended in defeat in November, is leaving the district attorney’s office to join a private, downtown firm that practices civil law.
Jackson, 47, said his last day in the office he sought to lead will be Feb. 15. He will pursue a career as a civil litigator with Palmer, Lombardi and Donohue, whose three partners were political supporters of his election campaign.
The move comes a month after Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, who beat him in the November runoff, reassigned Jackson from the prestigious major crimes division to a post where he is no longer in court but instead supervises prosecutors handling less high-profile cases. Jackson previously described the reassignment as a backward step for his career.
“There are more opportunities outside the office than inside at this point,” Jackson said about his decision to leave.
Jackson, a deputy district attorney for 18 years, said the decision to leave was a difficult one. He said he plans to continue to play a role in the criminal justice system through his volunteer work with rehabilitation and education programs for youngsters, such as the San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps.
Jackson was one of two prosecutors who won the conviction of famed music producer Phil Spector in 2009, marking the office’s first victory in a celebrity murder trial in more than 40 years. He also won a conviction in the cold case murders of motor racing legend Mickey Thompson and his wife. In 2010, the county’s bar association named him “prosecutor of the year.”
Lacey, a registered Democrat who had the backing of incumbent Steve Cooley, beat Jackson, a registered Republican, in the Nov. 6 runoff by 55% to 45%. The nonpartisan campaign grew testy at times, with Jackson running a television commercial in which he referred to conflicting testimony Lacey gave at employee grievance hearings and accused her of being “dishonest under oath to protect her boss,” Cooley.
Lacey’s spokeswoman, Jean Guccione, thanked Jackson for his “excellent trial work” and wished him well.
Jackson said he had no regrets about running for the office but has no immediate plans to seek election in the future. He said he wished Lacey the best in her new job and harbors no hard feelings toward her.
“I gave my best effort and it’s time to look in a different direction, but I don’t close any doors,” he said. “It was an amazing honor to run for D.A.”