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Veteran prosecutor seeks to unseat local district attorney

MADERA COUNTY — The prosecutor who won the conviction of Yosemite Lakes Park arsonists has her sights set on the job of Madera County’s chief law enforcement officer.

Sally Moreno, a former Madera County supervising deputy district attorney, has announced her 2018 bid for the job of district attorney.

“Madera County is a big enough county that it needs a professional, experienced prosecutor leading the prosecutor’s office,” says Moreno. “I have the experience it takes with all facets of law enforcement, particularly prosecution.”

Moreno graduated from San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno in 1985, then went on to earn a degree in history from University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1990.

During her undergraduate years, she was involved in ROTC, and was commissioned an officer in the Army Military Police Corps in 1988. She is also a veteran who was called up for service during Desert Storm.

Moreno worked as a police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department, and was activated as an Army Reservist in 1991. She returned to the Valley and graduated from San Joaquin School of Law in 1995. She began her career as a prosecutor in Merced in 1996, took time off to have her children, and came to the Madera County District Attorney Office in 2011.

Moreno was the supervising deputy district attorney in Madera when she left to join the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office in July of 2015.

Having first moved to the Madera Ranchos in the late 1990s, Moreno said, she fell in love with the community. Although she left to follow career goals, she returned several years ago and is raising her children there. She and husband Sergio have been married for 23 years and have four kids, ages 19, 16, 12 and 10.

“I want to contribute to making the community safer,” says Moreno. “I have the skill set and experience to run the prosecutor’s office the way it needs to be run to keep the Madera community safe.”

Moreno is perhaps best known for her work prosecuting the string of arson fires in the Yosemite Lakes Park area in 2013. Though she says the defense rushed the case and pressed her throughout the process, she pored over the 4,000-plus pages of discovery, dealt with hundreds of exhibits and dozens of witnesses to win a conviction that resulted in the couple responsible being sentenced to a combined 41 years in prison. The case went to the jury before the anniversary of the first arson fire.

Moreno said that having someone who is an experienced prosecutor in the position of district attorney is critical.

“The ethical obligations of the prosecution are very different from the obligations that other attorneys have,” she says. “Someone with experience with prosecution is an absolute necessity at the helm if the office is going to run well.”

Moreno says that Madera County has been “voting against someone” for district attorney for a long time, and it’s time they have the opportunity to vote for someone, “someone serious, who has common sense and can handle the job.”


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