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Dudley Sworn In as Santa Barbara County District Attorney

After a divisive campaign, county officials express the desire to forge a spirit of unity

Standing at the front of an overflowing Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors chamber Tuesday morning, Joyce Dudley was sworn in by Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa as Santa Barbara County’s new district attorney.

Thanking her supporters for backing her during what has been regarded as a tough campaign, Dudley said she has already begun meeting with fire investigators and other officials to move forward with her mission to focus on providing the most effective law enforcement possible for the county.

“As a result of this very rigorous campaign, I’ll be an even stronger district attorney,” said Dudley, adding that despite budget cuts, the office’s attorneys and staff are digging in and handling their caseloads. “I want the District Attorney’s Office to be the voice for those who need justice.”

Asked about the recent dismissal of her opponent in the race — former Senior Deputy District Attorney Josh Lynn — Dudley said she is still not at liberty to discuss personnel issues.

“Acting District Attorney Ann Bramson made the decision [to dismiss Lynn], and I stand by what she did,” Dudley said.

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District Attorney Joyce Dudley is sworn in by Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa. (John Conroy photo /

Bramson released a statement last week citing Lynn’s conversations with the media after what had been described as a nonpunitive suspension as the reason for his ouster.

While the District Attorney’s Office had been divided between the Dudley and Lynn camps, Dudley said she has seen a spirit of unity since the election was decided two weeks ago.

County supervisors expressed optimism about continuing to work with Dudley, a 20-year veteran of the District Attorney’s Office.

“Today, we are a better Santa Barbara County because of Joyce Dudley,” First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal said. “This is a new day, and we move forward together. I look forward to working with [the district attorney’s] office to do all of the healing that takes place.”

Noozhawk staff writer Ben Preston can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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