Santa Barbara, Ca., district attorney Thomas W. Sneddon, Jr., often is called “Mad Dog,” connoting a reputation for persistence that marks his second attempt in a decade to prosecute the singer Michael Jackson for child molestation, the New York Times says. Jackson surrendered yesterday and is free on a $3 million bond.
“He’s very tenacious, very hard-nosed,” said Steve R. Balash, who worked briefly as a prosecutor with Sneddon before becoming a criminal defense lawyer. “If you wanted to go to central casting to pick out a prosecutor, you’d pick Sneddon. He’s got a lot of power, and when he targets someone, it’s a battle.”
Jackson, the subject of a similar investigation by Sneddon in 1993, calling the prosecutor Dom Sheldon. The National District Attorneys Association, of which Sneddon, 63, is a vice president, describes him on its Web site as “the only D.A. in the nation to have an angry song written about him by pop megastar Michael Jackson,” a distinction that “he could do without.”
Sneddon, a father of nine children, is in his sixth four-year term as district attorney of Santa Barbara County, an elective office that he will leave in 2006.