Terry Wiley's Story

In 1967, Terry Wiley, an identical twin and the youngest of twelve kids, sat on his bed looking at his twin brother Jerry trying to make sense of the news that had everyone in the house sobbing.  His family had just received word that his father Frank Wiley had died.  Overnight his mother became the family’s anchor as they all faced the future with great uncertainty with the passing of his father.

In 1968 Terry’s family moved from East Palo Alto to San Jose.  One reality that Terry and his siblings were continually reminded of was education was the road to success in life.  From an early age Terry took his education seriously and was known for his willingness to help fellow classmates who were struggling with the class work.  Terry and his brother Jerry began to display athletic abilities in football and track and field. 

Terry had a successful high school football career despite suffering a knee injury in his Senior year costing him a football scholarship.  Despite the setback, he was accepted into UC Berkeley based on his academic excellence at Santa Teresa High School in San Jose.  Terry walked on to the football team and by sheer determination and perseverance, Terry was named the starting running back as a sophomore for the UC Berkeley football team.  He also was a sprinter on the UC Berkeley track and field team.

In 1990, Terry began his career with the District Attorney’s Office.  Terry is an Assistant II District Attorney and the No. 3 ranking prosecutor in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.  Terry is a strong advocate for criminal justice reform and fighting inequalities in the adult and juvenile justice systems.  Terry has vast criminal law experience having served in most significant assignments in the District Attorney’s Office.

Terry is a highly skilled trial attorney and has a reputation for standing steadfast for justice regardless of the person committing the crime.  Terry demonstrated this in the police corruption case against four Oakland police officers who called themselves “the Riders.” Terry sought justice for the individuals who fell prey to the rogue police officers.  Terry faced this challenge despite its unpopularity and ramifications to his long-term career.

Wiley has served Alameda County in a number of leadership positions.  As head of the Felony Trial Team, prosecutors, led by Wiley had a 93% conviction rate.  Wiley also led the nationally recognized Juvenile Division, where he addressed ethnic disparities of juveniles in custody and worked with the probation department to cut incarceration rates by two thirds. In 2015, Wiley helped create the “Know Your Rights, It Can Save Your Life” program that provided Middle School students, High School students and College students with information about interacting with law enforcement and how to survive the interaction.

As the first African American to head the Recruiting and Attorney Development Division, Wiley increased diversity within the prosecutor’s office.  In Wiley’s current role as Director of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, he has developed a model training program to recognize and root out implicit bias of prosecutors. He led the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office partnership with the NAACP Expungement Program which has cleared the records of hundreds of people in Alameda County. Wiley also currently serves as the Director of Human Resources at the DA’s office.

In November 2020, Terry was promoted to Assistant II District Attorney and appointed Director of the new groundbreaking Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  Terry has been instrumental in the creation of several programs and collaborative courts that offer alternatives to incarceration, providing individuals charged with crimes the opportunity to gain insight, to build skills, to complete their education, and to move beyond the criminal justice system.

Terry has also distinguished himself in the greater legal community. He is currently a member of the American Bar Association’s prestigious Criminal Standards Committee, and a past member of the State Bar of California Board of Trustees, past Vice-President of the National Bar Association, past President of the Charles Houston Bar Association, past Chairman of the State Bar of California Criminal Law Section, and past President of the Bay Area Black Prosecutors Association.

Terry was recently honored by the National Bar Association as the first prosecutor in its 97-year history to be awarded the prestigious Heman Sweatt Award for Civil Rights.  Terry was also honored as a National Bar Association “Living Legend” and the youngest honoree in its 97-year history. He speaks at many community events addressing reform of our criminal justice system.  He has mentored countless young lawyers, law students, and college athletes.

Terry and his wife Denise live in Oakland.

NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION

2017 – 2018    Vice President Membership – Responsible for providing substantive services to NBA members; increasing the membership of the Association; and keeping members informed about NBA programs, CLE’s, and activities.

2016 – 2017    Vice President Regions and Affiliates – Responsible for keeping the 12 Regions and Affiliates informed of NBA programs and activities.  Responsible for notifying the Regional Directors and Affiliate Officers of the certification requirements and process for the NBA Election. 

2010 – 2016    Chairperson of Criminal Law Section: Responsible for coordinating criminal law legal education programs at the mid-year conference and annual conference.  Increasing membership of the Criminal Law Section. 

STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA BOARD OF TRUSTEES

2016 – 2017    Trustee – appointed to the State Bar of California Board of Trustees in November 2016.  The State Bar of California is the largest Bar in the Country.  The Board is comprised of 13 Trustees, who oversee the management and discipline of 254,475 lawyers, with an annual budget of 46.1 million dollars.  Other duties included researching and development of policies to be adopted by the board.   The State Bar of California’s mission is to protect the public and includes the primary functions of licensing, regulation and discipline of attorneys; the advancement of the ethical and competent practice of law; and support of efforts for greater access to, and inclusion in, the legal system.

AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION

2016 – Present    ABA Standards Committee – appointed by the President of ABA to Criminal Justice Standards Committee.   The Standards Committee oversees the process by which a set of Standards are developed, adopted, and updated.  The ABA Criminal Justice Standards guide state and federal policymakers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, and other criminal justice practitioners through all stages of the process, from pretrial release to appellate review of sentences.

2015 – 2016   Chairperson Criminal Justice Section – Appointed Chairperson of the Juvenile Justice Committee.  Responsible for setting committee meeting agenda and planning annual conference CLE’s.

BAY AREA BLACK PROSECUTORS ASSOCIATION

2011 – 2015     Past President – Co-Founded the Bay Area Black Prosecutor Association.  Our mission is to ensure that justice is provided for those who enter the criminal justice system through fair and firm prosecutions; to encourage innovative training and a thorough legal education; to provide and promote fellowship, camaraderie and professional development of African American prosecutors.  We stress educating and informing our communities on issues that foster safer communities.

STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA – CRIMINAL LAW SECTION EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

1994 – 1997 -Appointed to three-year term 

1997 – 1998 – Secretary of Executive Committee

1998 – 1999 – Vice-Chairperson of Executive Committee

1999 – 2000 – Chairperson of the Executive Committee

2000 – 2002 – Advisor to the Executive Committee

2011 – 2018 – Re-appointed Advisor to the Executive Committee

CHARLES HOUSTON BAR ASSOCIATION

1996 – 1998 – Legal Services Chair:  Created the “Elder Law Project” which provided free legal services to elderly citizens in Oakland.

2002 – 2003 – President of Charles Houston Bar Association

2015 – Present – Advisor to CHBA Board of Directors

CALIFORNIA DISTRICT ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION

2002 – 2004 – Member of CDAA Board of Directors

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