Meet the DA
Michael Hestrin was elected as Riverside County District Attorney in June 2014 and was sworn in as the District Attorney on Jan. 5, 2015.
Hestrin was born in the Coachella Valley and he graduated in 1993 from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in history. After college, he spent a year living in Mexico with relatives working as a reporter for a small newspaper based in Guadalajara. He then returned to the United States to begin his legal studies at Stanford University. Hestrin graduated from Stanford in 1997, with both a Juris Doctorate in Law and a master’s degree in Latin American studies.
Upon finishing his studies, Hestrin returned to Riverside County to begin his legal career. He started as a volunteer law clerk in 1997 with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office and was hired by then-District Attorney Grover Trask as a Deputy District Attorney the following year.
Before being elected as District Attorney, Hestrin spent 18 years as a line prosecutor in the DA’s Office. During his years as a prosecutor, he had the honor to represent the people of Riverside County in some of the most difficult and challenging cases. He has completed more than 100 jury trials during his career. As Trial Team Leader for the District Attorney’s Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit, he prosecuted those who target and abuse children. For most of his last 10 years with the DA’s Office prior to becoming District Attorney, Hestrin was assigned to the Homicide Unit where he conducted more than 30 murder trials including seven successful death penalty cases. For his last 10 years as a prosecutor, Hestrin served on the District Attorney’s homicide roll-out team, responding to homicide scenes and officer-involved shootings to provide legal assistance to police and sheriff’s departments. He responded to more than 100 crime scenes during his years on the roll-out team.
Hestrin has been very fortunate to be recognized for his achievements during his legal career. In 1999, he was named Riverside County’s Misdemeanor Prosecutor of the Year. The following year he was recognized as Riverside County’s Felony Prosecutor of the Year. In 2003, 2005, and again in 2010, he was named Countywide Prosecutor of the Year. Hestrin was chosen by the legal publication, The Daily Journal, as one of 2008’s “Top Twenty Lawyers Under Forty” for all of California. In 2009, he was honored as the Statewide Prosecutor of the Year by the California District Attorney Investigators Association. In 2010, the California District Attorneys Association recognized him as California’s Outstanding Prosecutor.
In addition to prosecuting cases, Hestrin conducted trainings for prosecutors, paralegals, law enforcement officers, Riverside County Bar Association members, and social workers in ethics, trial advocacy, sex offender prosecution, homicide prosecution, and capital case litigation. He has also been an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University for the last 10 years teaching American Government, Introduction to Criminal Law and Procedure and Latin American History. Hestrin also teaches Constitutional Law at California Southern Law School in Riverside.
Throughout the 18 years Hestrin has worked as a prosecutor in the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, it has been his great honor to represent the people of Riverside County and to play a part in keeping them safe. During his career as a Deputy District Attorney he has emulated the example and tradition of public service taught to him by his mother and father and his grandfather. His father, Jerry Hestrin, proudly served his country during the Vietnam War and later patrolled the streets of this county as a police officer. His grandfather, Michael Hestrin Sr., a long- time resident of Hemet, proudly served his country in the Pacific theatre during World War II and is buried at Riverside National Cemetery.
Hestrin’s father was a police officer in Palm Springs and his mother moved to Palm Springs from Mexico in her teens, graduating from Palm Springs High School. His father previously was a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, then became a Palm Springs police officer in the late 1960s, and retired as a detective. During his tenure as a Palm Springs police officer, Hestrin’s father worked private security for Frank Sinatra and became the first school resource officer in the history of the Palm Springs Police Department before going on to become a Wyoming Marshal. He is currently retired.
Hestrin’s mother, who came to the United States to learn English as a teenager, eventually became a state social worker and devoted her career to working with abandoned and abused children. During the last years of her career, she became an expert in the field and began testifying in child-custody proceedings on behalf of the state. She is currently retired and working part-time as a Spanish language interpreter at a Children’s Hospital.
Hestrin currently lives in Temecula with his wife. They attend mass and are active members of Blessed Theresa of Calcutta Catholic Church.