FAIRFIELD — Deputy District Attorney Krishna A. Abrams raised her right hand at 5:01 p.m. Friday and took an oath of office that officially dropped the word “deputy” from her job title, making her Solano County’s 28th district attorney.
The event held some minor notable elements for local history followers.
Abrams is the first woman to hold the top law enforcement job in Solano County. Her election victory to beat her boss and predecessor Donald A. du Bain leaves du Bain as the only district attorney in the county not to be elected by their fellow Solanoans to a second term of office since 1900.
For some of her legal peers, taking the helm of a legal office with about 120 staff could be the most important day of their life. Not for Abrams.
“The most important day of my life was the birth day of my son,” Abrams said shortly after finishing her oath of office.
Abrams for years has been balancing a demanding workload with family and parenthood. She has no illusions that challenge will continue, especially in the upcoming weeks when du Bain’s resignation greatly shrunk a learning curve from months to just weeks for the new job.
Born in San Francisco, the die-hard Giants fan has had her fair share of new work duties since she became an attorney in 1993.
She has worked as a court-appointed criminal defense attorney in the hardscrabble communities surrounding Fresno and she has also worked for the Public Defenders Office in Solano County.
Abrams started with the District Attorney’s Office in 2000 and has steadily worked her way up the pecking order of increasingly complex and challenging prosecution. She in recent years has typically had a caseload of the most challenging and heinous criminals.
Against a backdrop of finding justice and locking up evildoers, Abrams has balanced her personal world.
Back in 2004, Abrams spent part of a Friday making sure a convicted sex offender went to prison for seven years. The next day she spent part of her Saturday going into labor and giving birth to her son.
“I’ve had defense attorneys ask me again and again if this is going to mellow me out. No. I don’t think so,” Abrams said the day before she gave birth.
It would be difficult to find anyone at the courthouse who would dispute Abrams’ forecast about her prosecutorial temperament.
She acknowledges a competitive streak that helps fuel the adversarial system in the courtroom. She credits part of her competitive streak on having a brother a year and a half older than she is. They remain very close and Abrams was visiting him Friday night just a few hours after taking office.
Abrams grew up the daughter of a prosecutor. Her father, who has since retired from the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office, spent a lot of his time and a bit of his money this spring helping his daughter win the June election.
She has run three marathons and used to compete in extreme sports featuring a mix of running, kayaking and cycling.
The extreme sports have given way to other sports, particularly her son’s. She has coached his soccer team and she spent one year coaching his Little League team, the only female coach in her community that season.
The competitive streak and her commitment to hard work were rewarded in 2012 with the California Deputy District Attorneys’ Association last year naming Abrams the top prosecutor in the state for the year. All Abrams had to do to garner the achievement was spend hundreds of hours in a series of challenging and complex jury trials, getting guilty verdicts against several killers.
That, along with thousands of hours of preparation.
Only one other prosecutor in Solano County has received similar recognition: George Williamson, long recognized throughout the state as one of the best prosecutors, received the award in 2003.
The achievement did not temper change her priorities.
“My top priority is my child and my family,” Abrams said. “My son has been with me through the highs and lows.”
Even during her hard-fought election campaign, her first, in which things sometimes turned ugly, her son was there to help.
“Just seeing and hearing things through his perspective during the race was heartening and refreshing,” Abrams said. “It helped so much.”
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.