January 3, 2023
Sacramento County residents have a new district attorney in nearly a decade after Thien Ho swore in Tuesday.
Formerly the assistant chief deputy district attorney under his predecessor Anne Marie Schubert, Ho is the first person of color to lead the agency.
Ho has worked in the District Attorney’s office since 2004, and in June won the election for one of the highest law enforcement offices in the region. He is known for prosecuting the Golden State Killer, Joseph DeAngelo. Also known as the East Area rapist, DeAngelo murdered more than a dozen people across California in the 1970s and ‘80s.
A Vietnamese immigrant, Thien Ho is one of a few Asian American elected district attorneys in the nation. Ho said he plans to create an advisory council to the district attorney made up of representatives from diverse communities.
“I know that there are some communities that view the District Attorney's office and law enforcement with distrust and distaste,” Ho said at his swearing-in ceremony. “And it is incumbent upon us to build that bridge and reach out to them. And not only build that bridge, but be that bridge.”
Ho has described the advisory council in previous interviews with CapRadio, including on Insight with Vicki Gonzalez. The council would include representatives from smaller committees with different perspectives and interests, Ho said. His office might form committees for Asian, Black, LGBT and business communities, he said Tuesday.
In 2019, there were eight Asian Americans out of 2,396 elected prosecutors in the United States, according to a report by the American Bar Foundation. Ho, who was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the US as a refugee, has said he hopes to build trust with marginalized communities.
Carlton Davis, a judge for the Superior Court of Sacramento County who previously worked in the district attorney’s office, praised Ho’s accomplishments and background.
“He didn’t grow up with a silver spoon at dinnertime,” Davis said during the ceremony. “He didn’t have a rich uncle who could bankroll him through life. He didn’t even have the relative who could describe to him how to fill out a college application.”