Local Government

Local Prosecutor Named Assistant D.A.

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow wasted little time in naming a replacement for his retiring Assistant D.A. Lee Cunningham, promoting a prosecutor in his office as the new second in command.

D.A. Dow announced Dec. 27 that he had appointed Deputy District Attorney Eric J. Dobroth to be the next ADA effective Jan. 1. He got the job over a half dozen of his colleagues.

“While Lee leaves big shoes to fill,” D.A. Dow said, “our office is blessed with a number of exceptionally talented prosecutors who are well qualified to take on this important role. I am grateful for each of the six internal candidates who expressed a strong desire to help lead this office into the future as we deal with the challenges of increasing crime and a more complex criminal justice system.”

Dep. Dobroth has worked more than 12 years as a prosecutor in SLO County and is currently the team leader for the Consumer and Environmental Protection/Major Fraud Prosecution Team.

He was also a prosecutor in the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office from 1998-05, according to a news release. “There, he conducted numerous misdemeanor and felony jury trials, prosecuted major crimes and complex white collar fraud cases, and was recognized as Prosecutor of the Year in 2003.”

D.A. Dow said, “Eric Dobroth has earned the admiration and respect of his peers, the defense bar, and the Judges of the Superior Court because of his strong work ethic, his legal acumen, and his sound judgment. I am confident that he will be an outstanding Assistant District Attorney.”

Dobroth is the chairman of the San Luis Obispo County Environmental Enforcement Group and is liaison to the California Department of Fish & Wildlife and local, State, and Federal regulatory agencies.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in geology and environmental science from Oregon State University in 1995 and a Juris Doctorate with emphasis in natural resource law from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College in 1998.

Among Dobroth’s big cases are: the murder trial of Jesse Baker-Riley and Ryan Johnson, that involved the July 2009 death of their accomplice, Kelsey Alvarez, who died during a botched home invasion robbery in Los Osos, when their intended victim turned the tables and shot Alvarez dead. “After separate trials, Baker-Riley and Johnson were each convicted of first-degree provocative act murder with a firearm for the shooting death of Kelsey Alvarez.”

Both convictions held up under appeal and Baker- Riley got 35-years-to-life and Johnson was sentenced to 26-to-life.

And the attempted murder conviction of Michael D. Simmons who on Feb. 5, 2010, cut the throat of David Stratton with a box cutter during a fight at Mr. Rick’s bar in Avila Beach. Simmons, also a convicted child molester, was sentenced to 24 years in state prison.

He also prosecuted five former Cal Poly football players (People vs. Akins, Brito, Ford, Ivory, and Love) for “the residential robbery with a firearm of a fraternity house near the Cal Poly campus.”

The Poly 5’s sentences ranged from County Jail and probation to 5-years in state prison depending on the culpability of each and the plea deals they made.

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