International Threat and Stalking Advisor
Ms. Saunders obtained her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law in 1982. She received her BS from Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles. Between 1976-1979, she was Field Representative to California Senator Pro Tem David Roberti.
Ms. Saunders has been a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney for the past 30 years. She retired from the DA’s office in January, 2016 and returned to that office in June, 2017. Her many assignments with the District Attorney’s Office have included the Sexually Violent Predator’s Unit, Stalking and Threat Assessment Team; Organized Crime/Anti-Terrorist Unit; Major Narcotics – Asset Forfeiture Division; HABLIT – Habeas Corpus Litigation Team; Parole Lifer Hearings, Workers Comp Fraud Unit, CT13, Glendale/Pasadena Offices and Night Court.
Prior to her career as a lawyer, she had worked extensively in New York City and Los Angeles in theatre, opera, and film.
Ms. Saunders established S.T.A.T. (Stalking and Threat Assessment Team) for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and the L.A. Stalking Task Force. Some of her many successful stalking and threat prosecutions include convicting Robert Hoskins of stalking and making terrorist threats against the entertainer Madonna; Jonathan Norman of stalking Producer/Director Steven Spielberg; Dante Soiu of stalking actress Gwyneth Paltrow; Marlon Pagtakhan of cyberstalking Star Trek’s Producer Brannon Bragga and actress Jerri Ryan; and Mark Hatten who threatened Anna Nicole Smith and assaulted her elderly neighbor when he came to her defense.
Ms. Saunders is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of stalking, workplace violence, and criminal threats. In April 2017, she presented a lecture on “Stalking: Then and Now” in Dublin, Ireland, Trinity College to AETAP (the Association of European Threat Assessment Professionals); May 2017 – Behavioral Threat Assessment Seminar (Dallas, Texas); May 2017: Los Angeles Chapter ATAP Spring Conference. In 2005, she was invited by the government of Germany to lecture at that country’s first Stalking Symposium, which was held in Kassel, Germany on November 11, 2005, which led to Germany’s first criminal stalking law. She has lectured to prosecutors, law enforcement, civil and criminal law firms, corporations, security associations and victim advocacy groups throughout the world. During 1998 through 2004 she was on the faculty of the United States Secret Service Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) in their training division.
In 1994, she revised California’s Stalking Law Penal Code Section 646.9, so that law enforcement and the courts can now effectively protect victims from this crime; in 1997 she wrote Penal Code Section 646.92, which allows law enforcement to issue emergency restraining orders in stalking and workplace violence cases; and in 2000 she increased the penalties for aggravated stalking. Ms. Saunders is Past- President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP) and Past Vice President of the National Association of Threat Assessment Professionals. Some of the major honors bestowed on her include ATAP’s National Achievement Award and the Woman of Distinction Award by Soroptimist International in recognition of her contributions to combating stalking and workplace violence.
Recent media appearances have included: Discovery Channel – Rebecca Schaeffer (to be aired Fall, 2017), “I’m Watching You” – US, Canada, Europe) (to be aired Winter -2017/2018), The Kennedys, Crime Watch, Inside Edition, The Ricki Lake Show, Good Morning America, 360 With Anderson Cooper, The Joy Behar show, The Today Show; The Dr. Phil show; CNN – “Issues With Jane Velez Mitchell”, CNN – “ Nancy Grace Show”, Extra; CBS News – Katy Couric; Court TV, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood; Showtime Cable’s “The Making of the Fan”; E-Entertainment Network Documentary “The Stalking and Killing of Rebecca Schaeffer”; Eclipse Productions: a twelve part documentary on stalking airing in Europe; MSNBC; and BBC’s “Stalking the Stalker”. She is also specially featured in the DVD reissue of “Misery”. She has starred in Court TVs reality production of “Reasonable Fear” and “The Investigators, based on eleven of Ms. Saunders stalking prosecutions. She was also featured on the Discovery Channel’s weekly network series, Stalked: Someone’s Watching. Her website, www.stalkingalert.com has reached nearly 60,000 people.
Ms. Saunders has published articles on stalking and workplace violence in the Entertainment edition of the L. A. Lawyer Magazine, and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department monthly magazine Star News. Her chapter, “Stalking From A Legal Perspective,” appears in the book, The Psychology of Stalking, edited by Dr. J. Reid Meloy, published by Academic Press (May, 1998). In July, 2008, her chapter, “Psychological Issues Involved in the Prosecution of Celebrity Stalking Cases,” was published in Stalking, Threats and Attacks Against Public Figures, edited by J.R. Meloy, L. Sheridan, and J. Hoffman, Oxford University Press. Ms. Saunders book, “Whisper of Fear” (Penguin Press 2008) has been published in both hard cover and paperback, selling thousands of copies here, Canada and Europe. “Stalkers”, a two hour Lifetime Movie of the Week, based on her book “Whisper of Fear” was aired in 2013