2016 Prosecutor of the Year
Katie Gates has tried seven cases in little over a year. Most notably, she has done an incredible job in the most emotionally challenging assignment for any prosecutor – child sexual assault. In the last year Katie tried three 288 cases, all of which require an unbelievable amount of work and personal engagement with victims who have experienced the most horrific violations imaginable. Katie has brought great preparation, skill and commitment to these cases and a deeply personal compassion for what these victims have endured. Her other trials have involved attempted murder, marijuana cultivation, first degree burglary and criminal threats – truly a cross section of the Penal Code.
Outside the office, Katie is an incredible giver as well. In work related to her assignment, Katie has served on the Domestic Violence/ Sexual Assault Response Team, the Campus Advocacy, Resources and Education Board at UC Merced, the Commercially Sexually Exploited Children Steering Committee and the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Board. She also serves the community as a board member of the Merced Athletic Corporation which brought a half marathon to Merced and raised $10k for local high school scholarships. She is active in Merced’s HOW Organization (Helping One Woman) which assists local women in need. Despite Katie’s demanding responsibilities, she still found time with several other members of our office to meet on a weekly basis with local high school students to coach them in Merced County’s first Mock Trial competition.
Katie is the consummate team player as well, always one of the first to volunteer for any duty and a consistent attendee at nearly every office function and event, especially those celebrating the accomplishments of her colleagues. She is the local girl (Golden Valley High School) who continues to work tirelessly to improve lives in her home county
2016 Investigator of the Year
Steve Brown has had a distinguished career serving law enforcement in Merced County for over 32 years. He began his career as a correction officer with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department in September of 1984. After a year in the jail (he was able to come and go freely!), he recognized his better calling was patrol work and joined the Livingston Police Department as a reserve officer before becoming a full-time member of LPD in 1989. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1990. Over the next eight years Steve worked with distinction in detectives, as a Field Training Officer and background investigator.
Looking for a new challenge in investigative work, Steve joined the District Attorney’s office in 1997 and has ably and honorably served as a DA Investigator for two decades. He has worked in both the Merced and Los Banos offices in felony assignments throughout his tenure with the DA’s office.
Steve has been instrumental in the investigation of numerous significant cases in our office, including the very difficult case of excessive force filed against a police officer in another agency. It is never easy or popular for one law enforcement officer to investigate another but Steve conducted himself with characteristic integrity and professionalism. We all know Steve to be the investigator we turn to when we absolutely, positively HAVE to locate someone who can’t or doesn’t want to be found. He has earned a reputation for legendary tenacity in tracking down elusive suspects and witnesses.
Steve has served the people of Merced County for more than three decades with skill and honor and is richly deserving of this year’s award.