Tony Rackauckas is grateful for the privilege to have spent his life serving the public. Called “a tough, no-nonsense DA” by national television talk show hosts, colleagues, and citizens.
His maternal grandparents Alejandro and Carolina Limón immigrated to Arizona from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, around 1921. In the late1930s, Maria Socorro Limón met and married Anthony Joseph Rackauckas, whose family emigrated from Lithuania. Tony was born on March 18, 1943, the second of six children, and primarily spoke Spanish for the first three years of his life.
Tony’s father Anthony spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy, rising to the rank of Chief. Inspired by his father, Tony, then-19, enlisted in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). He served on active duty from 1962 to 1964 and remained in the U.S. Army Reserve for four more years before receiving an honorable discharge.
After his military service, Tony studied political science at California State University, Long Beach. “I was grateful to work nights as a security guard. It allowed me to take classes during the day and support my young, growing family.” He went on to earn his juris doctor from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles in 1971.
His passion and motivation for his job stem from the patriotism and philanthropy he learned as a child growing up in a military family in East Los Angeles.
From 1968 to 1972, Tony worked as a social worker in the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services, where he was selected as one of four social workers to implement and run a pilot program to assist unemployed fathers of families receiving welfare in gaining employment. The program continues to be successful and utilized statewide.
In 1972, Tony joined the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) as a deputy district attorney. Over the next 15 years, he conducted over 40 homicide jury trials and over 100 felony jury trials including rape, robbery, arson, assault, burglary, fraud, narcotics, and child molestation.
In 1982, Tony took an unpaid leave of absence from the OCDA to lead a statewide campaign to remove three rogue California Supreme Court Justices in order to uphold the death penalty, enforce the law as written, and restore integrity to the state judiciary.
After briefly working in private practice, he was appointed in 1990 as a municipal court judge by Governor George Deukmejian. Three years later, Governor Pete Wilson appointed Tony to the superior court, and he was named Presiding Judge of its Appellate Department in 1996.
In June 1998, Tony ran for District Attorney and was overwhelmingly elected by the citizens of Orange County by 23 percentage points over his opponent, becoming the first person from outside the OCDA to be elected District Attorney in more than 40 years. Tony has since been re-elected four times, in 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014, twice running unopposed.