Out of all the prosecutors who have left the Office over the past two years, for some reason, John's leaving has kind of brought about a melancholy feeling for me. I couldn't be happier for him as he heads to the Federal side of the street, and I know that he'll be happy there. But John is like a brother to me, and seeing him leave that place for good almost feels like losing family.
John and I interviewed for the job of Assistant District Attorney on the same day back in the summer of 1999. We'd never met before, and we didn't actually meet that day either. I remember seeing him waiting for his interview with the hiring committee, though. A few weeks later, on August 16th, we both started on the same day as prosecutors.
I was sent to the Justice of the Peace Division and he went the Juvenile route. We didn't really get to know each other until we all returned to the Misdemeanor Division around November of that year. John was a little bit older than the rest of us in Misdemeanor and he was clearly more sophisticated than folks like myself, Summerlin, Exley, and certainly DeLeef. (Just kidding, Peter).
John was polished, more mature, and smart. He was the very picture of what you would think of as a prosecutor. He was ethical, reasonable, yet unafraid of trial.
And more importantly, John was family.
When I left the D.A.'s Office at the end of 2008, the thing that I knew I would miss the most was the sense of that family in my co-workers. Nobody seemed to understand and exemplify that to me as much as John did.
He and I "grew up" in the Office together -- although some may make the argument that John was already grown up, and I never quite achieved that.
We became Misdemeanor Twos, Felony Threes, Misdemeanor Chiefs, Felony Twos, and ultimately Felony Chiefs together. Often times on the exact same day.
When I got married in Mexico, John and his lovely wife, Betsy were the first to say they were hopping a plane and coming down for the reception. The next year, John and I went to a book signing together. I'll never forget that day -- because about an hour earlier, I had just found out I was going to be a Dad.
John was always there for all of his friends and the good times. But more importantly, he was there in the bad times too. If a friend had lost a loved one, got a divorce, or was just going through a tough time, John would come by their Office just to make sure that they were doing okay. His concern and care for his friends was since -- and appreciated.
It was those qualities that made him a leader within the Office. In addition to being a damn good prosecutor, he actually truly cared about those he worked with.
And although I always worked with John at the same level when I was at the Office, I would have worked for him without question.
John Jocher is the kind of leader that should be running the D.A.'s Office -- not leaving it.
John, my brother, that place won't be the same without you. It is really the end of our era, I think.
There will be a party congratulating John on his move to the Feds tomorrow (Thursday, December 2nd) at Bubba's on Washington and Westcott starting at 5:01 p.m.
I hope to see you there.