Vern Pierson District Attorney El Dorado County, California
In January of 2007, Vern became El Dorado County’s District Attorney. During his career, Vern has prosecuted a countless number of cases ranging from misdemeanor violations to violent and sophisticated career criminals, sex offenders and murderers, including the murder of C.H.P Officer Scott Russell as well as Phil and Nancy Garrido for their 1991 abduction of Jaycee Lee Dugard. In addition, he has personally prosecuted more than 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. Additionally, Vern created a highly successful cold homicide task force and developed one of the first paperless prosecutors offices in California. For more than five years Vern served as the county’s chief technology officer. He also sits 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. Vern continues to instruct law enforcement and prosecutors, which includes 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 was instrumental in the passage of several pieces of legislation including drafting A.B. 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 S.B. 2005, carried by then Senator Tim Leslie, which forever barred convicted sex offenders from working in our classrooms. From 1999 until 2012,Vern 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 also helped create the Field Guide used by thousands of police officers throughout the state.
Vern enlisted in the U.S. Army at the age of eighteen 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 the 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 military experience and strong work ethic were instrumental in helping him earn his way through college and then law school. Upon graduation, Vern ranked near the top of his class, with honors including the American Jurisprudence Award for scholarship and excellence in Constitutional Law. In March of 2017, Vern completed a master’s degree in Homeland Security at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California. In June of 2017, he presented Rethinking the Psychology of Terrorism, at the International Terrorism and Organized Crime Conference in Anaheim, CA.
Vern and Cyndee, his wife of 27 years continue to be actively involved in supporting at-risk children and military veterans. This past December marked their 8th Snowball shopping event, an annual endeavor where 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 this effort both founded and supported by Vern and Cyndee, not only have more than one thousand children directly benefited by receiving more than a quarter of a million dollars in much needed necessities, but the community has as well by building a bond between first responders and at-risk children. Additionally, Vern formed a five-member team to compete in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March as a fundraiser for veterans. In addition to raising thousands, he and his team completed the full marathon carrying more than 35 pounds, winning the civilian heavy category.
Vern and Cyndee regard their three children as their greatest accomplishments. 1st Lt Sam Pierson serves as a mortar platoon leader with the 82nd Airborne. Sgt. Chad Pierson also served with the 82nd Airborne and deployed to Iraq. Their daughter Ilyse is in college with the goal of being a public school teacher.