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John McKinney

John McKinney grew up in Passaic, New Jersey, a high-crime, working-class city. By the time he was five years old, John’s parents had passed away and he was being raised by his older sister, who had three children of her own. As a teenager, John lived through the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980’s and saw his friends die from drug use or go to jail for selling.

John credits the values and discipline instilled in him by his sister for enabling him to avoid falling victim to the easy money of drug dealing and instead enrolling in college. But, after only one year, John dropped out and entered the working world, doing everything from fast-food prep to hammering steel into truck springs as a blacksmith.

Eventually, John realized that the road to his success would be through education. He graduated from Rutgers University and ultimately from UCLA Law School which landed him in Los Angeles. In 1998, John was hired by the LA County DA’s Office.

"Prosecutors are the gatekeepers of the criminal justice system.  We must approach our duties in a reasonable way that represents and protects all people.


For the past 15 years, John has been assigned to the elite Major Crimes Unit, handling jury trials involving a broad array of violent crimes, including child and adult sex crimes, child and elder abuse, and gang murders - many with national media attention.  Most recently, he was lead prosecutor in the Nipsey Hussle murder case.

John was one of the first Deputy District Attorney’s in the office to have the courage to publicly criticize George Gascon’s policies and has been an outspoken advocate for the recall effort.
From growing up in a rough city in New Jersey to serving as a trusted, high-profile prosecutor in one of America’s largest cities, John learned up close the importance of accountability for criminal behavior and the need for proportional justice.




Deputy District Attorney John McKinney teaching a 5th grade class at Murchison Street Elementary School in Los Angeles.


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