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County's District attorney, criminal courts moving to Dublin next year

$147.7 million East County Hall of Justice will replace Pleasanton courthouse on Stoneridge Drive

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley seemed quite neighborly last week when she asked local Realtors for their help in looking for suddenly deteriorating housing and weird traffic patterns.

And with good reason. She'll soon be in our neighborhood, too, when she moves next year with her staff from Oakland into the $147.7 million East County Hall of Justice now under construction next to the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

The new court building will house the county's criminal courts in a five-story courthouse with 13 courtrooms, which will replace the leased Gale/Schenone Hall of Justice at 5672 Stoneridge Drive in Pleasanton.

O'Malley's offices and the county's Public Defender and Probation departments will be located in an adjacent two-story county building with a shared lobby and easy access to the criminal courts building. Civil courts will remain in Oakland with most family courts moving to Hayward. Jury duty, for the most part, will shift to the new Dublin courthouse when it opens in June 2017, although residents in the Tri-Valley could still be called into Oakland for civil cases.

For O'Malley, it's back where she started after earning a law degree from Stanford University and joining a law firm in San Ramon. Her successful legal work on cases involving the Blackhawk Automotive Museum led to an opportunity to move into the county's DA's Office and notable courtroom experiences.

O'Malley said the larger space in Dublin will help her accommodate her 1,200-member staff that includes police officers recruited from city forces who serve as investigators. They're the ones who do all of the investigations of real estate cases as well as environmental, consumer and insurance fraud.

Speaking to members of the Valley Real Estate Network, O'Malley asked them to join her investigators to be on the lookout for graffiti, unusual nighttime traffic, broken windows that aren't repaired and other conditions in otherwise good neighborhoods. Those are signs of unwanted changes, she said.

"We're both looking for signs of deterioration in neighborhoods that could bring the value of houses down and possibly impair the safety of those who live there," she told Realtors.

O'Malley said real estate agents can help her office spot situations of elderly abuse, where mortgage scammers or untrustworthy caregivers are stealing life savings from victims.

"If you go into an older person's house that is up for sale and see no food in the refrigerator or other signs of possible abuse, let us know," O'Malley said. "We're seeing many cases where someone is going into a senior's checkbook and bank account and taking their money away. You can help us find out about these crimes before something catastrophic happens."

She said that often it's an elder's child that's doing this, including selling a home the parent has lived in for half a century or more and had appreciated in value. But when the culprit is identified as a member of the family, the victim hesitates to file charges.

"So we've set up a special court just for elders who are mostly being abused by family members," O'Malley said. "This is helping us protect the elder without making them feel that they are putting their child in prison."

"We do a lot of work with people like you who know neighborhoods and the people who live there and can tell us if they are not being taken care of," she added.

The Alameda County DA's Office can be contacted by mail at its current address: 1225 Fallon St., Suite 900, Oakland, CA 94612, by telephone at (510) 272-6222 or by email at info@alcoda.org.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Budget Watcher
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Apr 9, 2016 at 8:44 pm

This seems weird= they've got lots of courtrooms in Oakland, so it seems like an unnecessary expense to move them out to Dublin - and if people are called for jury duty, they need to go all the way out to the southeast of the county, when most people live in the northwest? Seems very inconvenient for most of the people in the county, but easier for the people in the affluent burbs - maybe that will mean more of them end up on juries?


Like this comment
Posted by Surf56
a resident of Stoneridge
on Apr 9, 2016 at 9:24 pm

I completely agree, what is the real reason for a new court house?!?! On top of it they are trying to bring media attention to Pleasanton by bringing the green glove bandit case here. Just because you bring a high profile case here, doesn’t mean we’ll forget about all the money the county is wasting!


8 people like this
Posted by Eric
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 9, 2016 at 9:40 pm

Criminal court next to the County Jail makes complete sense. Eliminate the cost of security and the cost of transportation to the court house numerous times for those in Santa Rita. Probably will have more and free parking to boot. I cringe when I get jury duty noticed and have to deal with Oaktown as a whole.


1 person likes this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Apr 9, 2016 at 11:34 pm

@Budget Watcher :"Seems very inconvenient for most of the people in the county, but easier for the people in the affluent burbs - maybe that will mean more of them end up on juries?"

That may already be the case. I was seated on a criminal trial last year at the downtown Oakland courthouse. Of the 12 jurors, 5 of us were from Pleasanton. Honest. No joke. Pleasanton's population is about 5% that of Alameda county, so the odds of random pool of 12 people from Alameda county having at least 5 people from Pleasanton is very, very low. Of course, jury selection is not a completely random process and many people are eliminated during jury selection for one reason or another, but still it was a pretty remarkable finding.


2 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 10, 2016 at 7:15 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

I am pleased that the criminal courts will now be in this area. I too disliked driving into Oakland, pay to park only to be told nine out of ten cases, that my service has been completed without ever sitting on a jury panel. I get summoned every twelve months or so.


4 people like this
Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 10, 2016 at 5:39 pm

Flightops is a registered user.

HOORAY for the new courthouse!! Won't miss driving to Oakland, won't mind so much doing my civic duty if it's a little closer to home and you are a little less likely to get mugged or have your car ripped off, sorry Oakland, I spent a lot of time there in the old days and it's just not the same anymore. Maybe more people that are picked will have less excuses to get out of jury duty.


1 person likes this
Posted by Zenmonkan
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2016 at 8:06 pm

Here come da judge!!!


2 people like this
Posted by Stacy
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 11, 2016 at 3:05 pm

Looking forward to not visiting Oakland. In six years I've been on 3 juries. The last had, including the judge, 4 people from Pleasanton, and one from Livermore. One day someone stole my parking money out of the machine and I received a parking ticket for not paying. Even though it was known that the cash was easy to remove from the slots, I was still told I had to pay the ticket since I didn't have a receipt (which those machines didn't provide).


1 person likes this
Posted by FrequentWalkerMiles
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2016 at 5:44 pm

FrequentWalkerMiles is a registered user.

Seems like a good place to be, much more convenient for us but not actually in Pleasanton. Seems like a win-win.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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