Very few people go out on their own terms, but there’s no doubt that Karyn Sinunu-Towery finished on top. The prosecutor wrapped up a 30-year career in the District Attorney’s office by successfully sending former county supervisor George Shirakawa Jr. to jail in her final case, and she handed off what seems to be a strong case involving Shirakawa and political mail fraud. Last week, colleagues honored her accomplishments with a cash bar fiesta at the De Anza Hotel, where junior and senior attorneys clinked cocktails as equals for minutes at a time. DA Jeff Rosen beamed as he talked about Sinunu-Towery as well as an infusion of new talent in his office. Just three years after winning election, Rosen said, nearly a third of the DA’s staff has come aboard, creating a dramatic cultural shift from predecessor Dolores Carr. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren headlined guests who came out to honor Sinunu-Towery, who colleagues respected for her acumen and diligence—but not necessarily for her patience. One young attorney recalled being told early in his time at the DA’s office, “Be prepared when you meet Karyn Sinunu-Towery, because she will gut you like a fish.” That rep seems unlikely to carry over to all of her future endeavors. In addition to continuing to reconstruct her family tree, Sinunu-Towery said, she plans to carry out international aid missions with the San Jose Rotary Club as well as volunteer on The Innocence Project for inmates outside the county.
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