NATIONAL DISTRICT ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION
Kay Chopard Cohen Executive Director
Kay Chopard Cohen was selected by the Board of Directors of the National District Attorneys Association in March 2014 to become the Executive Director of the organization. Having started her legal career as a local prosecutor, she is keenly familiar with the duties, responsibilities, and obligations of prosecutors, the many challenges they face, and the leadership role that they play in many justice issues. Prior to her appointment to lead NDAA, Ms. Chopard Cohen spent the previous 15 years as a nationally recognized association executive running two national membership organizations with multi-million dollar budgets and providing executive leadership in close working relationships with senior Executive Branch officials and with leaders on Capitol Hill.
Immediately preceding her selection to lead NDAA, she served as the Executive Director for the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group where she was responsible for partnering with the U.S. Department of Commerce and leaders in industry to launch a national nonprofit association whose mission was to implement the White House initiative on “Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.” Her leadership on this national priority included developing and implementing strategic plans, establishing goals, objectives, and association policies, and building infrastructure and internal governance. Ms. Chopard Cohen established funding mechanisms that combined federal grant dollars with private sector contributions developing a multi-million dollar budget and allowing the organization to become self-sustaining in less than a year of incorporation. Her leadership provided vision, inspiration, and energy in a meaningful public-private partnership approach to establish a new model of Internet commerce for the nation.
Ms. Chopard Cohen also has a long track record of consistently increasing the budgets at the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) where she served for more than a decade as the Deputy Executive Director. She created several new training and technical assistance programs that brought millions of dollars in grant funding to the NCJA membership. Prior to her work at NCJA, she was responsible for expanding the budget for state and local prosecution programs at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation from less than $100,000/year to more than $7 million/year. It was in this role where she developed first of-its-kind training curricula and delivered important trial advocacy training programs to thousands of state and local prosecutors across the United States.
Kay Chopard Cohen is a recognized leader on criminal justice issues among national criminal justice leaders and national justice organizations. She has dedicated her 30-year legal career to working on criminal justice topics at the local, state, tribal, and federal levels.
Ms. Chopard Cohen graduated cum laude from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, and received her J.D. from the University Of Iowa College Of Law. She served as an Assistant County Attorney in Johnson County, Iowa, and served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.
Michael Ramos President
NDAA President 2016–2017
As top prosecutor of the largest county in the United States, District Attorney Michael Ramos has fought corruption and made victims' rights, public safety, and anti-gang programs the cornerstone of his office. Ramos started his career with the District Attorney’s Office in June 1989, as a Deputy District Attorney where he prosecuted over 125 jury trials. In addition to his work in general prosecution and the narcotics unit, he served with the Major Crimes Unit for four years, until 2002, when he was elected District Attorney of San Bernardino County. Ramos is currently serving his fourth term.
Ramos was born and raised in Redlands, California. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of California in Riverside in 1980 and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Citrus Belt Law School in Riverside in 1988.
Among other positions, Ramos is the former President of the California District Attorneys Association and he currently serves as the President-elect of the National District Attorneys Association. He is also one of three members appointed by the Governor to the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board.
In 2005, DA Ramos formed the Hardcore Gang Prosecution Unit to wage a hard-fought battle against gangs across the county. Since that time, there have been 5,000-plus state prison commitments secured for a total of 40,250 years plus 250 life terms in state prison.
“The rise of criminal street gangs in this county is a real threat to our communities, but I refuse to allow these local terrorists to determine how we live our daily lives,” said Ramos. “I’ve said it before and I will continue to say that coming down hard on gang crime and keeping our communities safe will always be an important mission of this office.”
In 2009, Ramos responded to this problem of human trafficking in San Bernardino County and created the county’s Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE). The coalition brought together a partnership of more than ten county departments. Most recently, DA Ramos formed a countywide Human Trafficking Joint Investigative Task Force to address the commercial sexual exploitation of minors. To date, Task Force members have made 200-plus arrests and 20 predators have been sent to state prison for a total of 128 years and two life terms.
During his tenure, Ramos has added a Public Integrity Unit to handle political corruption and a Lifer Parole Hearing Unit to ensure that violent prisoners serve their maximum prison terms.
Ramos has also created a Major Crimes Against Children Unit and an Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit to handle those cases involving our most defenseless and vulnerable crime victims and a Crimes Against Peace Officers Unit (CAPO).
A longtime advocate for victims and victims' rights, Ramos is continually trying to find innovative ways to serve victims. He has expanded the Family Violence Unit with attorneys who are cross-trained in elder abuse, domestic violence and crimes against children and has utilized technology and social media to effectively ensure that victims have access to case information. He has also worked behind the scenes to prevent future criminals by implementing various prevention and intervention programs such as Camp Good Grief, Let’s End Truancy (LETS) and the Gang Resistance Intervention Program (GRIP).
“Most adult criminals started by getting into trouble as juveniles and eventually dropping out of school,” said Ramos. “It is in those early years when we have the best chance of steering them back on course.”
In October 2014 Mike Ramos announced his intention to run for California State Attorney General in 2018.