Do the Right Thing
A Sacramento County native, Anne Marie Schubert graduated from Saint Mary’s College in 1986 with a B.A. in Government. She was elected as the Sacramento County District Attorney in June 2014.
Why did you want to study law?
I went to law school for all the wrong reasons. I just wanted a job that paid me a lot of money. I was very fortunate to intern during law school at the District Attorney’s office in San Francisco, and it opened my eyes to this fantastic public safety system that we have.
What was it like going to law school at the University of San Francisco?
Law school was very hard. There’s a point in law school when you feel like you’re in a black hole and you’re not going to get out because it’s so much work at the beginning. But by the third year when I got the system down, I really enjoyed it. I felt like I came out of my shell.
What inspired you to run for public office?
I’ve just loved being a district attorney. I think anyone will tell you as a career prosecutor, and I say this every day, that if I won the lottery today, I would show up tomorrow. Most of us in this building are not in this because we’re getting rich, we’re in this because we love what we do. How great is it to know every day that you are going to work to do the right thing?
What was the campaign experience like?
It’s very personally taxing, but there are parts I loved. I love to get out into the community, and I like to talk to people. I consider myself very social now. You become stronger, and you do things you never thought you would have to do. You ask complete strangers for money, and that’s not a comfortable thing. You become the cause, and I’m okay with me being the cause, because I know in my heart of hearts that I’m doing this for the right reasons. I’m not doing it for partisan politics or anything like that, I do it because I’m from this community and I want Sacramento to be a safe place.
I’ve heard that you’ve pioneered cold case prosecutions (unsolved criminal investigations that remain open pending new evidence). What has that been like?
My background for much of my career since the early ’90s has been to try a lot of DNA cases. In 2002, I created a cold case homicide unit here. It’s incredibly satisfying, and a lot of it is just persistence. There are families out there that want answers, and that’s a really important thing. It’s very rewarding to the victims of crime to be able to do that.
What is one of your biggest professional accomplishments?
One of the things I’m proudest of is the truancy program that I started to help reduce truancy in the county. I believe very strongly that public safety is comprised of many different components. People that commit crimes need to be held accountable and suffer the consequences, but I also believe that we are safer as a community if we prevent it in the first place. As D.A.’s we have a role in that.
Why did you decide to go to Saint Mary’s?
My parents were always big on education. It was never a thought that you weren’t going to college. My first year I went to the University of San Diego, but I was very homesick, so I came home to Sacramento for a year and went to Sac State, and then I transferred to Saint Mary’s. It was really great because they had an outreach program here in Sacramento, and I went and met a couple of people that became my best friends from college.
What was your college experience like?
I studied and always worked in college. I also knew at that point that I wanted to go to law school, so I was very focused on my grades. I had a routine down, and I was at the library every day until it closed. I also loved being in a class size that had 10 students. I liked that interaction where your opinion matters.
What is your fondest memory of Saint Mary’s?
Probably the relationships and friendships I built with the people who went to school there. I also feel very fortunate because I feel like I had a great education. The education there was not just simply about learning whatever your subject matter was, but about a broader base of understanding. I think that worked very well for law school, since it wasn’t just memorization.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
I just bought a house in the country, so right now it’s about mowing the lawn and cleaning out the pond. I like outdoors stuff like that. My little 6-year-old son––all he wants is country and horses.
What kind of activities do you like to do with your two sons?
My boys are really into dirt biking and ATV’s, so we do that. We also do a lot of hiking and kayaking. I have a cabin in the Sierras, and you can go way up into the hills where there’s nobody there. The kids love it, and it’s just beautiful.
How would you describe an SMC Gael?
I would probably describe them in terms of their character. To me it’s pretty simple. It’s honesty, integrity, compassion, dedicated to the goodness of human beings. You leave there knowing that you’ve done everything you can to create that quality of character.