Otis Bruce Jr., Royl L. Roberts to serve as Chief Assistant DAs
OAKLAND, CA — Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Y. Price announced today her Executive Leadership Team, with a proven record of leading justice reforms, including Chief Assistant District Attorneys Otis Bruce Jr. and Royl L. Roberts.
Mr. Bruce, a career prosecutor, recently retired as Marin County’s Assistant District Attorney, the number two position in the Marin DA’s Office. Mr. Bruce was also the first African-American prosecutor more than 25 years ago when he started in the office. Mr. Roberts will be joining the office after a distinguished career at the Peralta Community College District, most recently as General Counsel and previously as the Director of Operations for the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center.
“It was critical for my chief assistants be people with deep integrity and a record of moving the needle forward for justice reform in their work experience,” said DA Price. “Both Mr. Bruce and Mr. Roberts bring a wealth of understanding and talent that I know will be welcomed in the office.”
“Otis Bruce Jr is an exceptional lawyer and his experience leading a DA’s office includes community engagement, coordinating teams of attorneys and prosecuting high-profile cases,” said DA Price.
Mr. Bruce has specialized in prosecuting serious and violent offenses as well as domestic violence, elder financial abuse, and business fraud. He is also seasoned in managing staff, DA budgets, and grants, developing intern programs, mentoring young lawyers, leading research and investigations. He has also managed victim support programs, training development and worked as the liaison to county departments and criminal justice partners.
“I have worked with Mr. Roberts for years and he is an outstanding manager and brings a depth of knowledge in budget and organizational management to the team,” said DA Price.
Mr. Roberts has expertise in managing administrative and daily office operations. He is also seasoned in managing large-scale operational budgets, payroll, risk management and employer and employee relations.
Joining the DA’s Office as part of her executive cabinet will be Senior Assistant District Attorneys Kwixuan H. Maloof, Simona Farrise and Cynthia Chandler, retired Oakland Police Captain and Chief Inspector Eric Lewis and Director of Communications, Ryan LaLonde.
When creating a team, DA Price assembled experts in their individual fields who will tackle the issues which are key in making needed changes in the office – from training, accountability, community engagement, communications to winning critical cases.
“Each member of the executive cabinet has a track record of work which led to better outcomes for those most impacted by our justice system – from victims, to families, to underserved communities, said DA Price. “They are a fantastic team and I really look at my cabinet as avengers for real justice.”
For more on the executive leadership team:
Otis Bruce Jr., Chief Assistant District Attorney
Most recently, Otis Bruce Jr. retired in 2022 as Assistant District Attorney (No. 2) in the Marin County District Attorney’s Office where he worked to expand the Marin County Social Justice program and supervised the programs and staff who served victims in the community. Mr. Bruce has a law degree from New College of California School of Law and is a graduate of Merritt College in Oakland with a degree in Administration of Justice. He also earned a criminal justice administration degree with a minor in Spanish from San Jose State University. He is a current Board Director for the California District Attorney Association (CDAA) Institute for Education and Research, a former CDAA Board Director, and an advisor to the California Lawyer’s Association Criminal Law Executive Committee. He is also the past President of the Marin County Bar Association and co-founder of the Bay Area Black Prosecutors Association.
Royl L. Roberts, Chief Assistant District Attorney
Mr. Roberts is a graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio with the University of Texas at San Antonio with Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Our Lady of the Lake University with a Master’s in Business Administration, and Golden Gate University School of Law with a Doctor of Jurisprudence and Specialization Certificate in Business Law (with distinction). Mr. Roberts will be joining the office in the coming weeks as he transitions from his position as General Counsel to the Peralta Community College District. He previously served as Chief of Staff to the Chancellor and Director of Employee Relations and Diversity Programs. Mr. Roberts has received both the Rose Elizabeth Bird Award – Professionalism and Integrity and the Paul S. Jordan Achievement Award- Service and Contribution. Mr. Roberts has also completed Doctoral work at Saint Mary’s College of California.
Kwixuan H. Maloof, Senior Assistant District Attorney
Mr. Maloof has a law degree from New College of California School of Law and is a graduate of San Jose State University where he received both his Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Sociology/Criminology. Most recently, Mr. Maloof was in the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office serving as the Head Deputy Public Defender. He had been with the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office since 2001 and has had numerous leadership positions in the office, including Head Attorney in the Homicide Unit, Head Attorney in Complex Litigation Unit, Head Attorney in Career Criminal Unit, Felony Managing Attorney, and Misdemeanor Managing Attorney. He has tried some of the most complex cases to verdict including numerous sex cases, career criminal cases, complex cases and homicides. He has handled thousands of criminal matters throughout his career and consulted in over 500 jury trials. He is a past President of Charles Houston Bar Association, a Region IX Deputy Director and Board Member of the National Bar Association and former President of the California Association of Black Lawyers.
Simona Farrise Best, Senior Assistant District Attorney
Ms. Farrise Best has been an attorney for nearly 30 years since 1994. She holds a LL.M (Master of Laws) from Berkeley Law, a Juris Doctor from Golden Gate University, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Business from DePaul University. She is an accomplished Trial Lawyer who has handled complex multi-party injury and mass impact actions including Toxic exposures leading to cancer deaths, injurious pharmaceutical drugs, employee rights actions involving race & gender discrimination and harassment, medical and nursing home neglect and injury actions. She has been honored and recognized as among the top lawyers in California as a SuperLawyer™ in both Northern and Southern California for many years and nationwide. She has served as a Board member of many organizations including Equal Rights Advocates, The Impact Fund, Consumer Attorneys of California, and more locally, The Charles Houston Bar Association.
Cynthia Chandler, Senior Assistant District Attorney
Ms. Chandler is an attorney, change manager, and social entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience effecting significant criminal justice reform. Ms. Chandler received a JD from Harvard Law School, a Master’s in Philosophy in Criminology from the University of Cambridge, and a BA in Rhetoric from University of California, Berkeley. Ms. Chandler’s innovations include leading numerous successful bipartisan California state criminal justice reform efforts, including creation of the compassionate release process and statutory structure nationally, and creation of a historic reparations program for sterilization abuse in California women’s prisons, and co-founding Critical Resistance and Justice Now, seminal prison reform organizations. Most recently she founded and directed the Bay Area Legal Incubator, a project of the Alameda County Bar Association. She has served as faculty at Berkeley Law, Northeastern University School of Law, and Golden Gate University School of Law. She is the recipient of the prestigious Auburn Lives of Commitment Award Celebrating Women of Moral Courage, the ABA Pro Bono Publico Award, the California Women Lawyers Fay Stender Award, and the inaugural Ford Foundation Leadership for a Changing World Award.
Eric D. Lewis, Chief Inspector
Mr. Lewis enters the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office with 30 years of professional law enforcements experience in in planning and managing complex investigation, training and instructions and tactical field operations. Most recently, Mr. Lewis served as Captain of Police for the Oakland Police Department for the Bureau of Field Operations Area 5. He also previously worked as Acting OPD Captain as Special Operations Division Commander and Criminal Investigations Division Commander as well as Bureau of Field Operations 1 Watch Commander, Internal Affairs Administrative Commander and Patrol Division Watch Commander. He is a graduate of Chabot College with an Associate of Arts in Education, a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Arts in Leadership from St. Mary’s College. Mr. Lewis also has credentialing from a P.O.S.T. Command College, Senior Management Institute for Police and Northwestern University Executive Management Program.
Ryan LaLonde, Director of Communications
Mr. LaLonde is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with focus in design. As part of his concentration, LaLonde focused on culturally responsive design, branding and intergroup dialogue practices. Most recently, Mr. LaLonde ran a communications and design business focusing on culturally responsive design and digital/social content for non-profits, political campaigns and social justice organizations. Before starting his own business, he served as a creative director and brand leader for governmental affairs and public relations/communications focusing on designing and crafting brands and communications around children’s mental health, women’s reproductive health, HIV/AIDS prevention, LGBTQ+ rights, climate change and family farming. Mr. LaLonde has also served for the last seven years as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and an Educational Advocate for youth in the foster care. He has been a member of the National Association of Government Communicators and won numerous Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards.
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Contact: Public Information Officer Angela Ruggiero firstname.lastname@example.org// (510) 919-0081