DA received the Edwin L. Miller Leadership Award; Harold Boscovich the Victim Advocate of the Year Award

Last week, District Attorney Nancy O’Malley was honored with the Edwin L. Miller Leadership Award by the California District Attorney’s Association, the highest honor paid to an elected district attorney.

Harold Boscovich was also presented with the first-annual Victim Advocate of the Year Award. It will from now on be named the Harold Boscovich Victim Advocate of the Year Award, in honor of his life’s work helping victims.

The Edwin L. Miller Leadership Award recognizes and acknowledges the leadership Mr. Miller brought to the prosecutorial profession in California and on a national basis. Mr. Miller served six consecutive terms as San Diego County District Attorney, and his career exemplified a dedication to the highest ideals and integrity of the criminal justice system.

DA O’Malley’s contributions to improving the criminal justice system throughout her 38-year-career with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office makes her the ideal recipient.

Besides her years as a trial attorney prosecuting felony cases for 15 years, DA O’Malley developed an interest in protecting the rights and interests of victims. In 2005, she created the Alameda County Family Justice Center, only the second one in the U.S. In 2009, she became the first female DA of Alameda County. In 2010, DA O’Malley established HEAT Watch, a nationally-recognized program to combat human trafficking. She also continued her fight for victims in a nationwide effort to end the backlog of previously untested sexual assault kits.

“Bosco” began his career as an Oakland Police Officer in the 1960s and later joined our office as an inspector. Under the direction of former DA Lowell Jensen in the 70s, Bosco conducted a survey of victims, seeking to understand why they weren’t interested in attending court or engaging with prosecution. The survey found victims didn’t feel included, informed or weren’t being treated with compassion or sensitivity. DA Jensen famously declared “I am sick of victims being treated like pieces of evidence.” He then created the first-ever Victim Witness Assistance Program in the country, with Bosco as a project manager. As the division grew, Bosco was named its first director, a position he held until his retirement in 1994.

But even in retirement, his commitment to victims didn’t end. He was a founder of the National Organization of Victim Advocates (NOVA), which has trained hundreds of thousands of victim advocates throughout the country. He became an advisor to our own Victim Witness Assistance Division, helped create the Alameda County Family Justice Center, and helped advance legislation to protect victims’ rights.

Congratulations to the two honorees and their lifetime contributions to both criminal justice and victims’ rights!