Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
GANG PROSECUTOR HONORED BY ASSEMBLYMAN MANSOOR WITH “DEFENDER OF JUSTICE AWARD”
WESTMINSTER – Assemblyman Allan Mansoor of the 68th Assembly District honored Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Chrisopoulos today with the Defender of Justice Award for his outstanding work in prosecuting gang cases in the TARGET Unit of the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Office.
Since his assignment to the Garden Grove TARGET Unit a year and a half ago, Chrisopoulos has handled a caseload of over 50 cases involving various gang offenses and he has successfully prosecuted four homicide cases, 12 attempted-murder cases, and six jury trials.
In one of the notable cases, Chrisopoulos successfully prosecuted defendant Ivan Garcia (Case # 09ZF0060) for the attempted murder of a father of five who interrupted Garden Grove Hispanic criminal street gang members writing graffiti on a wall in his neighborhood. The victim and his wife had returned to their home from grocery shopping. The defendant and a fellow gang member were tagging a wall near the entrance of the cul-de-sac where the victim’s house was located by covering up the graffiti of a rival gang with their own. When the victim approached the wall to move his car into his driveway, the defendant shot the victim several times as he tried to escape. The victim suffered permanent paralysis from his injuries. The defendant was arrested after police matched his DNA from a paint can recovered from the scene. Chrisopoulos conducted the jury trial, where the defendant was convicted and sentenced to 40 years to life in state prison.
Chrisopoulos also successfully handled the fourth re-trial of defendant Marco Damian (Case # C-85522) for the murder of a rival gang member. Damian had been driving with his fellow gang members in a rival gang neighborhood and shooting at cars and homes where they believed rivals lived. When a fellow gang member pointed out a rival gang member in an alley, the defendant pulled the car near the alley and an unidentified gang member shot the victim. Damian’s three previous convictions had been overturned on appeals. The prosecution by Chrisopoulos led to the conviction and sentence of 16 years to life in state prison for the defendant.
Chrisopoulos joined the OCDA in April 1997 and started his work in the Special Prosecutions Unit of the District Attorney’s Office. He now has been prosecuting gang crimes within the TARGET Unit for five and a half years.
“Paul has devoted his life to public service, and we are grateful for his exemplar service in prosecuting gang crime in our community,” said Assemblyman Allan Mansoor.