Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney Aron DeFerrari is the California’s 2021 Outstanding Prosecutor of the Year.

County district attorney Diana Becton nominated DeFerrari in March 2022 in a letter sent to the California District Attorneys Association, who bestows the honor on attorneys who achieve excellence on complex and challenging cases throughout their careers.

“In the pandemic year, Aron DeFerrari faced challenges in and out of the courtroom,” Becton said, in a statement. “Despite COVID restrictions, Aron spent 103 days prosecuting three separate homicide trials against a total of five defendants. Most impressively, he convicted all five men of murder.”

According to the DA’s office, in the case of People v. Simons, Ortega and Porter-Kelly, DeFerrari used a novel felony murder doctrine to get second-degree murder convictions for aiding and abetting a defendant in 2016. That defendant was charged and convicted in the racially motivated killing of William Sims at the Capri Club bar in El Sobrante.

DeFerrari also successfully prosecuted a member of Oakland’s Ghost Town Gang in People v. William Edwards for the 2018 killing of Taison Calderon-Lopez. Using wiretap and circumstantial evidence, DeFerrari convicted Edwards of conspiracy to commit murder, murder, and special circumstances.

The DA’s office said “DeFerrari has long distinguished himself as a trial attorney by prosecuting 72 jury and 16 homicide trials in his 18-year career. In 2010, he was the first prosecutor in Contra Costa County to utilize a dual jury in a quadruple homicide case where all three defendants were convicted.”

In 2017, DeFerrari got a conviction of 174 years to life for James “Spyder” Joseph Jr., who was involved in a national human sex trafficking ring. Becton said DeFerrari’s “standard of excellence at the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office merits this award — an award he has truly earned.”