Dean Flippo

Dean Flippo, photographed in his Monterey office in December 2016.

After nearly 30 years as the top prosecutor in Monterey County, District Attorney Dean Flippo announced Friday, Feb. 16 that he will not seek re-election for an upcoming eighth term in 2018.

Assistant District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni says she plans to run for the open seat this year. 

Flippo, who is 77, started his career 1972 as a prosecutor in Monterey County. In 1990, he was elected as  district attorney, a title he has held for seven terms, which is the record for the longest-serving DA in Monterey County.

“My wife and I have been discussing this for some time. It’s her time now,” Flippo says. “My schedule will allow me to visit my children and grandchildren more.”

In a 2016 interview, Flippo—who has overseen many murder cases, including five that ended with a person sentenced to death row—reflected on his years in office.

“I believe in redemption,” he said, “but there are evil people out there and I believe in accountability. In my view, they are making conscious choices. The law tries to distinguish between those who made conscious decisions to kill, from someone suffering from mental instability.”

One struggle is the lack of public understanding of the complexity of the justice system.

“It’s amazing what we deal with [as far as] the perception of expectation in law enforcement,” he said.

Monterey County will remain home for Flippo. “I love my community and we live in the most beautiful place in the world," he says. "We’re staying here."

He also plans to spend more time outdoors and go on backpacking trips. “I’m a little worried about what to do with my time, but hopefully my phone won’t be ringing in the middle of the night as much.”

Flippo says he will continue to serve with organizations like Monterey Peninsula Foundation, the Community Partnership for Youth and Kiwanis International. 

Staff photojournalist at Monterey County Weekly.

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