Yook trounces Singer in DA race

Brenna Swift, The Union Democrat /

Barbara Yook will remain Calaveras County's district attorney for at least another four years, beating challenger David Singer in Tuesday's election.

Yook, the incumbent, won about 65 percent of the votes cast for Calaveras County DA on Tuesday night, while Singer, a San Andreas attorney, got slightly more than 34 percent.

Yook, 45, was appointed as DA by the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors in 2010 following the death of DA Jeff Tuttle.

"I'm very honored that the voters have put their confidence in me," Yook said. "I'm going to do my very best to live up to the confidence and the privilege that they've given me."

The DA represents the public in prosecuting criminal cases. Calaveras County's DA oversees a staff of 11 full-time employees and four part-timers, including attorneys, peace officers and support staff.

Yook said she is looking forward to spending more time on crime-reducing initiatives, including a partnership with the Calaveras County Office of Education to reduce truancy.

"I'm so excited to have the election behind me now so that I can focus on my projects," she said.

She identified budget cuts and the controversial state bill AB 109 as major challenges facing the DA's office. She does not plan to change procedures for charging offenders with crimes in light of AB 109, which shifted responsibility from the state to counties for monitoring and locking up low-level criminals.

"We're still going to hold people accountable to the extent we can, given the new structure of the law," Yook said. "So much has changed with the sentencing laws."

Yook has spent her entire 14-year legal career in Calaveras County, first as deputy district attorney from 1997 to 2003 and then as assistant district attorney from 2003 to 2010.

She was educated at San Francisco State University and the University of California's Hastings School of Law.

Singer, 53, has a private practice focusing primarily on criminal law and works for San Andreas-based attorney Ken Foley. He is also under contract as an alternate public defender in Amador County.

He could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

During his campaign, Singer said he would improve what he described as low conviction rates for Yook's office.

Singer had criticized Yook for not accepting a plea deal from James Livezey, who was sentenced March 19 for a manslaughter conviction in an attack that left Valley Springs resident Marvin Brown dead. Foley was Livezey's attorney.

He argued that he could be a more objective district attorney than Yook because Yook is married to Calaveras County Sheriff's Detective Alan Serpa.

"It's not a conflict of interest and I don't think it was important to the campaign," Yook said.

On the issue of Livezey, Yook said that release from prison was a condition of the plea deal that she was not willing to accept. She added that she would have made the same decision today.

Yook also said her office's conviction rates for felony filings have been in line with the state average.

Contact Brenna Swift at bswift@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4529.

The Union Democrat
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