Profile of the Ghost Ship trial prosecutors

The two Alameda County prosecutors who are trying the Ghost Ship case are Casey Bates and Autrey James.

James has been a prosecutor since 2005. He has handled everything from murder trials to white-collar crimes to unfair competition cases.

James joined the DAs office after making a big career switch. 

In a 1994 interview with KTVU, Autrey is wearing a police uniform. He told KTVU back then, "We just want anybody who's heard anything, saw anything to come forward, let us know," 

That's because James spent 20 years as a San Leandro police officer, rising to the level of sergeant. At the department he investigated murders, drug and juvenile crime and was a patrol supervisor.

James was San Leandro police Lt. Robert McManus' first training officer.

"Autrey, for his entire career, both here in San Leandro and now at the Alameda County district attorney's office, he is a man who has sought justice for the victims that he represents," McManus said.

James has been on the Ghost Ship case since Day One. 

But fellow DA Casey Bates was brought into the case after the sudden departure of prosecutor David Lim, who left the DA's office right before jury selection. Lim is now a criminal defense and land-use attorney. Lim declined to comment about why he left when he did.

Bates was a prosecutor in San Francisco for several years before crossing the bay in 2000.

He has handled a variety of cases, including murder child sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking. 

"Casey Bates is a very dynamic charismatic person, very good speaker, understands the law, really good advocate," said criminal defense attorney Darryl Stallworth, a former Alameda County prosecutor.

Off-duty, Bates and James are friends. In court together, those who know them say they are a force to be reckoned with. 

"They're both very well prepared. They're gonna put in a good trial," said criminal defense attorney Ernie Castillo. "They're both class acts in the courtroom, and I expect them to be that way in this trial."

Castillo says both prosecutors have shown their skills while grilling defense witnesses.

"On cross examination specifically, they're going to be cool and calm and very deliberate, and their questions are going to be very substantive, and I think everybody's going to be hanging on every word that they ask," Castillo said.

The prosecutors have declined to discuss this case outside court, which is standard practice for the Alameda County DA's office. But in the end, it will be the jury's verdict that will matter the most.