Gil Garcetti

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Gil Garcetti
Gil Garcetti 2010.jpg
Garcetti in 2010
40th District Attorney of Los Angeles County
In office
December 7, 1992 – December 4, 2000
Preceded byIra Reiner
Succeeded bySteve Cooley
Personal details
Gilbert Salvador Iberri Garcetti

(1941-08-05) August 5, 1941 (age 79)
Los Angeles, California
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Sukey Roth
Children2, including Eric
EducationUniversity of Southern California (BA)
University of California, Los Angeles (JD)

Gilbert Salvador Iberri Garcetti (born August 5, 1941) is an American politician and attorney. He served as Los Angeles County's 40th district attorney for two terms, from 1992 until November 7, 2000. He is the father of current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Early life and education[edit]

Garcetti was born in Los Angeles, the son of Salvador Garcetti and Juanita Iberri. His father was born in Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico, and brought to the United States as a child after his own father, Massimo Garcetti, a judge and immigrant to Mexico from Italy, was hanged during the Mexican Revolution. Gil's mother was born in Arizona, one of nineteen children born to a father whose parents were from Sonora, Mexico, and a mother born in Arizona, to Mexican parents.[1]

In 1959 Garcetti graduated from George Washington High School in South Los Angeles. The school has since become Washington Preparatory High School.

Garcetti received a bachelor's degree in management from the University of Southern California and a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Los Angeles.


Before becoming Los Angeles County District Attorney, Garcetti served within the office for over twenty years, from trial prosecutor to managerial positions and eventually becoming chief deputy district attorney for his predecessor, Ira Reiner (district attorney from 1984 to 1992). Reiner demoted Garcetti shortly after his 1988 re-election. [2]

Garcetti decided to challenge his former mentor in the 1992 election. The campaign featured both candidates saying their opponent was corrupt. Reiner said Garcetti was a "secretive" person and "(was) not to be trusted in a position of power."[2] Garcetti bested Reiner in the non-partisan June primary (where the top two candidates would advance should no candidate win an absolute majority), taking 34 percent to Reiner's 25, outpacing the incumbent by more than 100,000 votes.[3] In September 1992, just two months before the general election, Reiner announced that he was suspending his campaign, saying he could not stomach the negative tactics he felt that were needed to win.[2] California law allowed candidates to be removed from the ballot only if they died more than 59 days before the election, so Reiner remained on the ballot.[2] Garcetti won the general election with more than 81 percent of the vote.[4]

Los Angeles District Attorney[edit]

Entering the 1992 elections, Los Angeles County, California was still recovering from the aftermath of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. His first term was dominated by his office's prosecution of the O. J. Simpson murder case. The long, costly criminal trial ended with a "not guilty" verdict on October 3, 1995. Despite the setback, Garcetti won re-election in 1996, narrowly defeating challenger John Lynch.[5][6]

Garcetti focused both his terms working to solve a number of issues including domestic violence, hate crimes, welfare fraud and combating LA's street gangs. In late 1999 the LAPD's Rampart scandal erupted with allegations of extreme police misconduct from the city's Rampart Division which likely contributed to Garcetti's defeat in the 2000 election.

Garcetti was challenged for re-election in 2000 by Steve Cooley, a veteran of the L.A. County D.A.'s office. In a situation much like Garcetti's demotion in 1988 that led him to challenge Reiner in 1992, Cooley was demoted by Garcetti after Garcetti's 1996 re-election after Cooley supported Garcetti's opponent, John Lynch.[7]

Garcetti came in second in a competitive three-person primary, taking 37 percent of the vote to Cooley's 39.[8] In the two-person runoff, Garcetti lost overwhelmingly, losing by a margin of approximately 64 to 36 percent.[7]

Other activities[edit]


The 2000 election ended Garcetti's 32-year career with the LA County district attorney's office. In 2002, Los Angeles City Council president Alex Padilla appointed Garcetti to the Los Angeles city ethics commission for a five-year term. In the fall of 2002, Garcetti was a fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He has been developing a foundation to help Latino and African-American students complete their high school education. He is currently a strong proponent of Proposition 34, an initiative that will replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole. Garcetti has argued that the death penalty is broken beyond repair, that it is "horrendously expensive" and that it carries the risk of executing an innocent person.[9]


Garcetti has always been an avid urban photographer. During his time as district attorney he would carry a small camera with him at all times. After leaving the DA's office, Garcetti focused on art photography, initially producing two collections on the Walt Disney Concert Hall: Iron: Erecting the Walt Disney Concert Hall (Balcony Press 2002), focusing on the ironworkers who constructed the landmark, and Frozen Music (Balcony Press 2003), focusing on the finished building itself. Photos from these works were featured in an exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. and at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. His most recent exhibition, Dance in Cuba: Photographs by Gil Garcetti (Balcony Press 2005), was featured at the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History in Spring 2006.[10] Water is Key: A Better Future for Africa (Balcony Press 2007) was published via a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to the Pacific Institute as a benefit to NGOs supporting clean water projects in Africa.[11]


Garcetti made a presentation of his photographs of West Africa to an L.A. women's group, and the group's leader, Barbara Goldberg, was so moved by the images and Garcetti's impassioned description of the water crisis that she formed a nonprofit organization dedicated to drilling wells to bring safe water to West Africa. Garcetti's involvement with bringing safe water to the people of West Africa began in January 2001, when he visited West Africa as the guest of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. He made four subsequent trips to West Africa and from the photographs he took, a book was born: "Water Is Key". Since 2006, he has worked tirelessly and successfully to raise awareness and funds to drill wells in West Africa. His life goal is to continue to fund wells to save lives with safe water. Garcetti is special advisor to the Wells Bring Hope board of directors. [12] Garcetti was also an award presenter during a fundraiser held on September 27, 2015 at the estate of businessman Stanley Black.

The Closer[edit]

Gil Garcetti served as a consulting producer on the TNT series The Closer from its debut in 2005 and Major Crimes from its debut in 2012.

His son, Los Angeles City Councilmember, later Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti, appeared as the fictional Los Angeles Mayor Ramon Quintero, in two episodes each of both series.[13] In his first appearance, father and son appeared together onscreen, with Gil playing the LAPD Chief of Police.

Personal life[edit]

Garcetti was married to Sukey Roth, who is of Russian Jewish descent.[1][14]

Gil and Sukey Garcetti have one son, Eric, who was elected to the LA City Council three times (2001, 2005, 2009), and is the current mayor of Los Angeles,[15] and one daughter, Dana Garcetti-Boldt, a former deputy district attorney in Garcetti's office,[16] who is now an acupuncturist.[17]

Garcetti was portrayed by Bruce Greenwood in the 2016 miniseries The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story and by Mark Moses in the 2017 miniseries Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders .

Electoral history[edit]

Los Angeles County District Attorney primary election, 1992[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Non-partisan Gil Garcetti 488,985 34.01
Non-partisan Ira Reiner (incumbent) 367,984 25.59
Non-partisan Robert K. Tanenbaum 272,841 18.97
Non-partisan Sterling E. Morris 198,125 13.78
Non-partisan Howard Johnson 109,742 7.63
Los Angeles County District Attorney election, 1992[4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Non-partisan Gil Garcetti 2,061,218 81.64
Non-partisan Ira Reiner (incumbent) 463,247 18.35
Los Angeles County District Attorney primary election, 1996[18]
Party Candidate Votes %
Non-partisan Gil Garcetti (incumbent) 436,240 37.35
Non-partisan John F. Lynch 251,590 21.54
Non-partisan Malcolm Jordan 196,488 16.82
Non-partisan Harold Greenberg 172,591 14.78
Non-partisan Sterling E. Morris 83,220 7.12
Non-partisan Steve S. Zand 27,595 2.36
Los Angeles County District Attorney election, 1996[19]
Party Candidate Votes %
Non-partisan Gil Garcetti (incumbent) 1,124,631 50.1
Non-partisan John F. Lynch 1,119,865 49.89
Los Angeles County District Attorney primary election, 2000[20]
Party Candidate Votes %
Non-partisan Steve Cooley 573,236 38.31
Non-partisan Gil Garcetti (incumbent) 558,066 37.3
Non-partisan Barry Groveman 364,902 24.39
Los Angeles County District Attorney election, 2000[21]
Party Candidate Votes %
Non-partisan Steve Cooley 1,448,418 63.77
Non-partisan Gil Garcetti (incumbent) 822,846 36.23

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Finnegan, Michael (January 2, 2013). "Eric Garcetti invokes Latino-Jewish ancestry in mayor's race". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Sheryl Stolberg (September 18, 1992). "Reiner, in Surprise Move, Drops Out of Race for D.A." The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Official Election Returns June 2, 1992 Primary Election" (PDF). Los Angeles County Department of Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Official Election Returns November 3, 1992 General Election" (PDF). Los Angeles County Department of Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  5. ^ "Prosecutor Garcetti Apparently Re-elected". Chicago Tribune. November 21, 1996.
  6. ^ Abrahamson, Alan (November 22, 1996). "Garcetti Is Named Winner Over Lynch". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ a b Mitchell Landsberg and Twila Decker (November 8, 2000). "Cooley Beats Garcetti by Wide Margin". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  8. ^ "D.A.'s Race Shapes Up as a Bitter Fight to the Finish". The Los Angeles Times. March 8, 2000. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  9. ^ "Gil Garcetti". SAFE California. Archived from the original on 2012-06-20. Retrieved 2016-03-07.
  10. ^ Abarbanel, Stacey (March 2, 2006). "'Dance in Cuba: Photographs by Gil Garcetti' Opens at the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History April 22" (Press release). University of California, Los Angeles. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  11. ^ Gleick, Peter (October 7, 2011). "Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Water for Africa, and the Nobel Peace Prize". Forbes. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  12. ^ "Wells Bring Hope". Wells Bring Hope. Retrieved 2016-03-07.
  13. ^ "Eric Garcetti". Retrieved 2016-03-07.
  14. ^ Rex Weiner, Jewish Daily Forward: "Jews and Latinos Seek Common Ground In Los Angeles, It's a Hunt for Political 'Kosher Burrito'",, October 7, 2011
  15. ^ Nottingham, William (June 30, 2013). "Eric Garcetti is sworn in as 42nd mayor of Los Angeles". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
  16. ^ Belgum, Deborah (February 11, 1997). "D.A.'s Daughter Makes Own Way". Los Angeles Times.
  17. ^ "Deputy District Attorney Turned Acupuncturist - December 2008". Retrieved 2016-03-07.
  18. ^ "Official Election Returns March 26, 1996 Primary Election" (PDF). Los Angeles County Department of Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  19. ^ "Official Election Returns November 5, 1996 General Election" (PDF). Los Angeles County Department of Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  20. ^ "Official Election Returns March 7, 2000 Primary Election" (PDF). Los Angeles County Department of Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  21. ^ "Official Election Returns November 7, 2000 General Election" (PDF). Los Angeles County Department of Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. Retrieved December 1, 2018.

Additional sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Ira Reiner
Los Angeles County District Attorney
Succeeded by
Steve Cooley