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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

George Gascón Now Western State Law School's Most Famous Alum

Posted By on Tue, Jan 11, 2011 at 12:37 PM

George Gascón has made his alma mater very proud...
  • George Gascón has made his alma mater very proud...

It seems safe to say that, for whatever reasons erstwhile Mayor Gavin Newsom selected George Gascón to be district attorney, it wasn't for his lawyerin' skills. The former police chief -- who will be deciding whether or not to apply the death penalty -- has never tried a case.

He is, however, enshrined in the "Hall of Fame" of his alma mater -- Western State University College of Law in Fullerton. Bill Adams, Western State's dean, acknowledges that Gascón is already his school's most prominent alum. But "We have over 100 judges, so I don't want to insult any of them."

Western State only received its accreditation from the American Bar Association in 2009 -- its graduates can now take the bar in all 50 states. Prior to that -- and, certainly, when Gascón graduated in 1986 -- the school was only accredited by the California Committee of Bar Examiners. So Gascón could not ostensibly be DA in his former roost of Mesa, Ariz. But he's fine here.

Gascón's old stamping ground...
  • Gascón's old stamping ground...
In fact, several California DAs are Western alums, according to the school's alumni director Tim Mallory. Vern Pierson, the elected DA of El Dorado County, is famously prosecuting Philip Garrido in the Jaycee Dugard case. Jon Alexander -- who went from Western State class president to respected lawyer to homeless meth fiend to public servant -- is the DA in Del Norte County. And Robert Brown is Mariposa County's district attorney.

Gascón, however, is probably the first Western grad to helm a district attorney's office in a county San Francisco's size, says Mallory.

An interesting distinction. Too bad he can't be elected to the school's Hall of Fame twice.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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