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Apparently unhappy with how his boss, District Attorney Terence Hallinan, has treated him, top San Francisco prosecutor Alfred Giannini is leaving for a new job in San Mateo. After 24 years in the San Francisco district attorney’s office, Giannini now will be a deputy district attorney in San Mateo — with a $18,000-a-year pay cut. Giannini won’t discuss his reasons for leaving the San Francisco DA’s office, but colleagues and friends said he was unhappy with his current assignment. Long a key member of the office’s high-profile homicide group, Giannini was transferred about a year ago to gangs. The prosecutor and the DA also never personally hit it off. Giannini was a supporter of prosecutor-turned-defense-attorney Bill Fazio, who has twice run unsuccessfully against Hallinan for the DA’s job. While Hallinan has swept many Fazio supporters from the office, he kept Giannini on, recognizing his exceptional prosecutorial skills, insiders said. But the two never were a good fit. “He was aloof to me,” the district attorney said. “He didn’t come and talk to me like other deputies. I would always hear his opinions second-hand.” Hallinan downplayed the idea that politics played a role in Giannini’s assignments — or departure. “Others are still in this office who supported Fazio,” Hallinan said. He said Giannini’s transfer from homicide to gangs was part of the office rotation. “We put him in gangs, but he was still doing homicides,” Hallinan said. “But he wasn’t satisfied.” A Hall of Justice source said Giannini was assigned difficult cases that others didn’t want. He also felt “micromanaged.” Fazio also discounted the idea that politics played a part in Giannini’s demotion or his reason for leaving. “I think Al realized [San Mateo] made him a sweet offer and it was a more professionally run office,” said Fazio, a former homicide prosecutor. Giannini would only say that his new job will be closer to his Peninsula home and will cut down on his commute. But it will cost him money. His current San Francisco salary is $149,000 a year, he said, but his pay will drop to $131,000 in San Mateo. Hallinan said Giannini is eligible for a pension from San Francisco, which could pay him up to 50 percent of his current annual salary. He said that would make up the difference in the lower San Mateo pay. But Giannini said he will continue to participate in the pension system rather than drawing benefits now. Giannini is a well-respected prosecutor who has handled more than 50 homicide cases, as well as other violent and serious felonies. “He’s the best trial attorney in the office,” said Superior Court Judge Lenard Louie, a former fellow prosecutor with Giannini. “This is a major loss to the city.” The judge said Giannini’s advantage was that he was able to “anticipate what an opponent would do. � He could read the mind of the defense attorney.” Veteran criminal defense attorney James Collins said Giannini was “quick and facile” on his feet. “He was also likable, and when a jury likes you that’s a big plus for a trial attorney, ” Collins said. To diversify his homicide team, Hallinan has hired Sheila Ross, who comes from the Fulton County, Ga., district attorney’s office, where she was a frontline murder prosecutor. “I felt there definitely should be a woman in the homicide unit,” the DA said. “We couldn’t find anyone in the office who wanted the job.”

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