Michelle Ialeggio is a 15-year San Diego Deputy District Attorney who has dedicated her career to standing up for the most vulnerable in our society, children. She has strong trial experience with over 70 jury trials, including murder, child molestation, stalking, domestic violence, strangulation, elder abuse and violent crimes. Michelle is a litigator who is in the courtroom every single day. As a trial attorney and supervisor in the Family Protection Unit of the San Diego District Attorney’s office, Michelle oversaw a team of attorneys while also prosecuting many high-profile cases covered in the local news. In 2015 Michelle was awarded the outstanding achievement award from the San Diego Deputy District Attorney’s Association for her trial accomplishments and for bringing justice to victims in San Diego. One of Michelle’s most cherished belongings is a picture hanging in her office of a 6-year-old molest victim hugging a court service dog, who along with Michelle, gave the child the courage to testify against her abuser in court.
As a prosecutor, Michelle has handled and evaluated over one thousand criminal cases, learning how to make issuing decisions to ensure cases are issued and charged in an ethical manner and that alternatives to prison are in place when appropriate. In 2018, Michelle was appointed the San Diego District Attorneys Ethics Advisor, where she leads over 300 Deputy District Attorney’s in the area of office-wide ethics.
Michelle has experience working collaboratively in the community. From 2016 to 2018 she served as a liaison at San Diego’s Family Justice Center where she worked directly with sexual assault and domestic violence victims and shared in an interdisciplinary approach to crimes involving domestic violence. In 2014, Michelle was one of the founding members of the Human Trafficking Task Force and worked side-by-side with community leaders, elected officials, and Deputy Public Defenders to raise awareness of the growing and overwhelming problem of human trafficking in San Diego. Michelle has earned respect from judges and the criminal defense bar as well as the San Diego legal community, where she served on the board of directors for Lawyers Club of San Diego and currently is the First-Vice President of California Women Lawyers.
Michelle has remained active in the field of legal education by teaching lawyers, social workers, victim advocates, paralegals, doctors, and law enforcement at the national and international level. Michelle has also volunteered as a teacher for the youngest members of our community at Porter Elementary School and through project LEAD. She currently teaches for the California District Attorneys Association and the San Diego Regional Police Academy, and is an adjunct professor at her alma mater, the University of San Diego School of Law. Michelle obtained dual Bachelor of Arts degrees, graduating magna cum laude from the University of Southern California in 2001.
Outside of her career, Michelle is an avid runner and has completed over 25 marathons and half-marathons. She is married and resides in the city of San Diego with her husband and two small children. Most weekends you can find them playing sports and enjoying the perfect San Diego weather.
San Diego District Attorney’s Office-Deputy District Attorney 2005 – Current
- Years in Practice: 14
- Ethics Advisor: Oversees and handles all allegations of office-wide misconduct and chairs and oversees ethics committee comprised of deputy district attorneys, 2018 – Current.
- Family Protection Division, Team Leader: Child Abuse, Molest and Domestic Violence Crimes 2010- 2018
- Previous Assignments:
- Misdemeanor Trial Deputy Vista Superior Court 2005
- Preliminary Hearing Deputy San Diego Superior Court 2006
- Juvenile Branch 2007
- Superior Court Felony Trial Team 2007-2010
- Trial Experience Overview:
- Over 60 jury trials to verdict, including murder, vehicular manslaughter, torture, mayhem, child abuse, child molest and violent crimes like residential burglary, robbery, and elder abuse.
- Over 15 jury trials to verdict with life sentences for cases involving murder, sexual assault, and the abuse of children.
University of San Diego School of Law – Adjunct Professor-Experiential Advocacy trial skills course
Bar Memberships, Activities and Awards
- 2018 San Diego Bar Association Service by a Public Attorney Award.
- 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award: San Diego District Attorney’s Office.
- 2013 Top Attorney in San Diego-Daily Transcript.
- 2012 Top Attorney in San Diego-Daily Transcript.
- 2019 California Women Lawyers – First Vice-President, District 9 Governor. Executive Board Member and prior Chair of CWL Annual Conference 2017
- Lawyers Club Board of Directors
- Judicial Evaluations Committee Chair, 2017-2018.
- Fund for Justice Co-Chair, 2014-2016. Awarded over $75,000 to non-profits protecting women and children in San Diego.
- Director, 2011-2014.
- Vice President of Public Relations and Media 2013-2014.
- Editor Lawyers Club News and Chair of Newsletter committee 2010-2013.
- Founding Member-San Diego Women Prosecutors 2016.
- San Diego County District Attorney Legal Training and Advisory Committee.
- Nominated position Finalist Red Bourdreau Trial Award 2010 for a lawyer who demonstrates a strong commitment to the administration of justice and who demonstrates significant service to the legal profession.
- California District Attorneys Association 2005-Present.
- State Bar of California, 2004-Present.
- San Diego County Bar Association 2005-Present.
- San Diego Deputy District Attorneys Association 2005.
- Present American Inns of Court 2005-2006.
- 2008 Top Young Attorney Nominee-Daily Transcript.
- Prosecutor for victim awarded Citizen of Courage 2009 People v. Aaron Taylor.
- Founding Member Lawyers Club Human Trafficking Collaborative 2014.
- Founding Member/Prior Board Member University of Southern California Women’s Club of San Diego.
- Certificate of Appreciation Presiding Judge Einhorn service to San Diego Superior Court 2004. Certificate of Appreciation Laura Chick, councilmember, service to Los Angeles County 2000.
- USD Moot Court Judge 2007-2013.
- Editor Lawyers Club Newsletter 2010-2012 and contributing writer for the Young New Lawyer’s Division Newsletter.
- Porter Elementary School Reading with a lawyer program 2008-2012.
- Coach Constitutional Rights Foundation Moot Court Valhalla High School 2006-2007.
- Angeles Foster Family Luncheon October 2011 Prosecutor Award for People v. Elizabeth Sanders.
- PALSD Community Service& Mentoring Crawford High School Academy of Law 2017.
- Girls on the Run San Diego mentorship participant 2015-current.
- California District Attorney’s Association Instructor 2015-current.
- Adjunct Instructor at the San Diego Regional Police Academy Fall 2018 (116th class).
- University of San Diego School of Law Teaching Professor: Post-Graduate Trial Advocacy Skills Fall 2012.
- 28th San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment: Guest Presenter Project Lead volunteer and teacher-Diversity Awareness-2008-2011.
- San Diego District Attorney’s Office Training Instructor for Internship Program and New Deputy training 2009-Present.
- University of San Diego School of Law, Criminal Law and Criminal Clinic Guest lecturer preliminary hearings, arraignments, motions and sentencing 2008-Present.
- San Diego Police Department Crime Laboratory Training Instructor DNA March 2008 Read Across America February 2009.
- Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team Presenter September 2011-2018.
- Guest Lecturer San Diego Superior Court Internship Program 2006-Present.
- San Diego State University Hands that Don’t Hurt Guest Lecturer April 2012.
- Kids in Court 2010-2018.
- J.D., University of San Diego 2004, with honors.
- Vice-President Women’s Law Caucus.
- B.A., University of Southern California 2001, double major Print Journalism and Political Science. Magna Cum Laude, Order of Omega.
Trials of Note
- People v. Elizabeth Sanders, Felony Child Abuse-convicted 8/9/11- Honorable Joan Weber, media case
- People v. Abdul Selhari, Lewd act on a Child-convicted 12/9/2010 Honorable Kerry Wells, life top case
- People v. Ricardo Pena, Residential Burglary, Robbery and Stabbing-convicted 10/21/2010, Honorable Frank Brown, media case
- People v. Amier Rocky Issa, Stabbing and Criminal Threats-convicted 10/6/2010, Honorable Joseph Brannigan, media case
- People v. Joseph Buck, sexual assault, convicted 1/6/2010 Honorable John Thompson, media case
- People v. Michael Gonzales, Murder/NGI-convicted and found sane, 3/5/09 Honorable Melinda Lasater, media case
- People v. Juan Castro Ramirez, Vehicular Manslaughter-convicted 11/3/09 Honorable Theodore Weathers,
- People v. Thomas Taylor, Murder and four strikes, convicted 4/25/2010 Honorable Charles Gill, media case
- People v. Aaron Taylor, Torture and Mayhem, convicted 9/22/08, Judge Jeffrey Fraser victim awarded Citizen of Courage
- People v. Gilberto Hernandez, life top molest, convicted 8/17/11, Honorable Melinda Lasater
- People v. Darius Butler, convicted 11/12/2012, Honorable Charles Gill, Kidnapping for Rape and Attempted Murder
- People v. Lee and Jessica Trahan, convicted 2/20/15, Honorable Harry Elias for Assault Causing Death of a Child
- People v. Luis Arcasi, convicted 5/1/2018, Honorable Amelia Meza for over ten charges of child molestation
- People v. Roderick Harris, convicted domestic violence murder and child abuse for shooting the mother of his baby while she was holding the baby in her arms, Honorable Eugenia Eyherabide
- People v. Anthony Simenou, convicted voluntary manslaughter, cold-case murder, Honorable Daniel Goldstein