Ontario, Calif., April 21, 2009 – Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley to Serve as Keynote Speaker at 2009 La Verne College of Law Commencement

Since first being elected Los Angeles County District Attorney in 2000, Steve Cooley has overseen a large-scale reorganization of the nation’s largest prosecutorial agency. His efforts have resulted in the creation of the Justice System Integrity Division, the Forensic Science Section, the Public Integrity Division and the Victim Impact Program. Through it all, he has charged his staff to “Show no fear in pursuing the criminal element, but also be fearless in the pursuit of justice.”

On Sunday, May 17, Cooley will serve as keynote speaker for the 2009 University of La Verne College of Law Commencement Ceremony. Scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., the event will be held in the Sports Science & Athletics Pavilion on the university’s main campus in La Verne.

In this year’s commencement, 75 students have qualified to receive degrees from Inland Southern California’s only American Bar Association-approved law school. Due to space restrictions, entry to the 2009 ULV College of Law Commencement is limited to participants and invited guests. Parking information, maps and directions to the campus are available at http://law.laverne.edu.

In 2008, Cooley became the first L.A. County District Attorney in 70 years to be re-elected to a third consecutive term. His office, with an operational budget topping $352 million, is comprised of more than 1,000 prosecutors, 300 investigators and 800 clerical, technical and support personnel. He has said his assembled team, which annually prosecutes 60,000 felonies and 200,000 misdemeanors, is equally capable of fighting crime in the streets and in the corridors of power.

Major criminal convictions during Cooley’s tenure include those of former Symbionese Liberation Army member Kathleen Soliah (aka Sara Jane Olson), the so-called “Angel of Death” Efrem Saldivar, and most recently music producer Phil Spector for the 2003 shooting of Lana Clarkson .

As D.A., Cooley has emphasized training for law enforcement officers and prosecutors in areas including DNA testing and evidence, gang operations and violence, and high-tech crime. He helped create the Los Angeles County Prosecutors Association and remains actively involved in the Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles County.

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Over the years Cooley has been honored by a wide variety of organizations. He was named “Champion of the People” by the National Black Prosecutors Association, “Crime Victims Star of the Year” by Justice for Homicide Victims, and “2001 Prosecutor of the Year” by the Century City Bar Association. The California NAACP has presented him its “Community Justice Award,” the Irish American Bar Association bestowed on him its “Daniel O’Connell Award” and the Encino Chamber of Commerce gave him its “Leaders in Public Service Award.”

A native of Los Angeles, Cooley earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Los Angeles, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Southern California Law Center. A reserve officer with the Los Angeles Police Department in the early 1970s, he joined the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office as a senior law clerk in 1973. He quickly moved up through the ranks and by the time of his first campaign in 2000 he was recognized as an accomplished prosecutor.

Cooley and his wife, Jana, have lived in Toluca Lake for more than 30 years. They have two grown children, son Michael and daughter Shannon.

Located in a 65,000-square-foot facility on its seven-acre campus in downtown Ontario, the University of La Verne College of Law serves over four million people in San Bernardino and Riverside counties and an additional 2.2 million people in the San Gabriel Valley and Eastern Los Angeles County. For additional information on the College of Law, please call (909) 460-2001 or visit the Web at http://law.laverne.edu.

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The University of La Verne College of Law has been provisionally approved by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association since 2006. The Section of Legal Education may be contacted at 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, Ill., 60610 or by phone at (312) 988-6738.

Media Note – Reporters, photographers and camera operators are welcome to attend the University of La Verne College of Law 2009 Commencement Ceremony. Due to seating and space limitations, all attending media are asked to contact the university’s Public Relations Office prior to the event date so arrangements can be made. You can contact Public Relations Director Charles Bentley at (909) 593-3511 ext. 4688 or by
e-mail at cbentley@laverne.edu.

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About the University of La Verne College of Law
Located in Ontario, Calif., the University of La Verne College of Law serves over 4 million people as the only ABA-approved law school in Inland Southern California and an additional 2.2 million people in San Gabriel Valley and Eastern Los Angeles County. For more information about the College of Law, please call (909) 460-2001 or visit the Web at http://law.laverne.edu.

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The University of La Verne College of Law has been provisionally approved by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association since 2006. The Section of Legal Education may be contacted at 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60610 or by phone at (312) 988-6738.

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