DA’s expert witness never earned a college degree

Tracy Nix


A woman who has testified in dozens of cases and been offered as an expert witness by the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office does not have a college degree that she has claimed in court.

Tracy Nix, an 18-year DA’s office staffer, has testified in court and written in her resume that she holds a bachelors degree from Cal Poly. The District Attorney’s Office offered her as an expert witness in a sexual abuse case in 2014.

Deputy District Attorney Kelly Maderino asked Judge Jacquelyn H. Duffy to declare Nix an expert. Manderino offered Nix’s resume, which included the claimed college degree, and called Nix to testify about her qualifications.

“Do you have a bachelor’s degree?” Manderino asked Nix, according to the trial transcript.

“I have. I do,” Nix testified.

“And is that from Cal Poly?” Manderino asked.

“It is,” Nix testified.

But Nix never graduated, her Poly profile shows.

District Attorney Dan Dow says Nix’s testimony was not perjured because she “walked.”

“Walking” means a student has participated in the university commencement ceremony. Students wear academic robes and walk across the stage to shake the hand of the university president and college dean.

Dow said that because Nix “walked,” she believed that she had graduated and earned her degree.

“If she believed she had a degree, then she did not commit perjury” Dow said. “It is common at Cal Poly for people to believe they have graduated when they have not.”

District Attorney Dan Dow

Students who have not graduated can walk as long as they agree to finish their degree requirements within two quarters, according to the Cal Poly Registrar’s Office.

During the expert witness hearing and in front of the jury, Nix also testified that she had taught an advanced psychology class at Cal Poly every quarter for five years for Connie Hanretty-Church. Hanretty-Church is a lecturer in the Psychology and Child Development Department.

“Have you taught any classes in the area of child forensic interviewing?” Manderino asked, according to the trial transcript.

“I have,” Nix testified.

“Could you describe that?” Manderino asked.

“For the last, I believe four to five years, I have taught once a quarter at Cal Poly, to the advanced psychology class about recognizing and assessing child abuse as well as very basic interviewing, forensic interviewing techniques,” Nix testified.

Church said in an email that Nix was not a lecturer or a teacher, but a guest speaker at the campus.

“Tracy was a guest speaker several years ago (2014) when I taught an upper division course entitled, “Child Abuse and Neglect,” Hanretty-Church wrote in an email. “She was a regular guest speaker for several years, can’t recall if it two or three years.”

Nix continues to insist she was a guest lecturer at the university, as does Dow.

“I have just spoken with Connie Hanretty Church, the Cal Poly Lecturer who used Ms. Nix as a guest teacher/lecturer in her classes,” Dow wrote in an email. “Ms. Hanretty-Church has confirmed that Ms. Nix indeed taught in her classes regularly over several years.”

Lecturer is a formal academic rank used by universities including Cal Poly.

Nix’s testimony was part of the DA’s case that resulted in Ronald Cowan’s conviction on sodomy, oral copulation and lewd acts with a child. He was sentenced to 65 years to life in state prison.

In Feb. 2017, the state appeals court reversed the decision based on prosecutorial misconduct. Manderino “had told the jury that the presumption of innocence applies only until the charges are read,” according to the appellate court decision.

Ronald Cowan

The Cowan case is schedule to be retried next month in the San Luis Obispo Courthouse. Dow did not respond to questions over whether or not the district attorney’s office plans to have Nix testify at the upcoming trial.

Even though Dow says that Nix did not commit perjury, he has begun to notify attorneys about her lack of a degree.

Under a U.S. Supreme court case (Napue v. Illinois), prosecutors have a responsibility to correct the testimony of witnesses they know to be false. Prosecutors also have an obligation to inform other defendants about issues over the credibility of their witnesses.

“Our office is actively taking steps to notify each defendant’s attorney (in cases where Ms. Nix testified as a witness) of the fact that Ms. Nix did not receive a diploma awarding a bachelor degree,” Dow wrote in an email.  “It will be up to each defendant and their counsel to decide whether it is a significant enough issue in their individual case to warrant filing of a motion with the court.”

While Nix admits she did not graduate from Cal Poly, she stands by a number of other statements she wrote in her resume.

In a 2018 resume, Nix wrote that she worked in Toulumne County in the 90’s as a child forensic interview specialist, a job the human resources department in Toulumne County said does not exist.

In a recent email, Nix wrote that while her job classification was social worker, she was assigned as a child interview specialist in both Toulumne and San Luis Obispo counties.

Until recently, Nix was classified as a social worker IV, a job that currently requires at least a bachelors degree, according to SLO County’s job class specifications. At the time Nix was promoted to social worker IV, the position did not require a college degree.

A few months ago, Dow changed Nix’s job classification to program manager, which does not require a college degree.

During her opening statement in the Cowan case, Manderino referred to Nix as an investigator, a title that was later repeated by the appellate court in a published decision. During the trial, Manderino refers to Nix using several titles, but never social worker.

“Social Worker is a very generic job classification and does not precisely describe or reflect the specific duties that Ms. Nix performs as a child forensic interviewer for our Bureau of Investigations,” Dow wrote in an email. “She is squarely a member of our investigative team who obtains evidence through her expertise as a child forensic interviewer.”

Also in her resume, Nix says she interviewed a child and provided expert testimony and consultation in a case against the Orcutt Unified School District.

But the case recently settled and never went to trial. Clay Hall, the attorney for the school district, hired Nix to work as a consultant and an expert witness, he said.

Tracy Nix

“I don’t believe she interviewed the child,” Hall said. “She did not testify as an expert witness, the case settled.”

In a recent email, Nix confirmed she never provided expert testimony in the Orcutt Unified School District case. She said, however, that she did testify as an expert witness for the county in 2014, as she wrote in her resume.

Tracy Nix and her husband SLO County Sheriff Commander Aaron Nix filed a chapter 13 bankruptcy several years ago. The pair makes approximately $300,000 a year in salary and benefits, according to Transparent California.

For more than four years, Tracy Nix has supported the political campaigns of both District Attorney Dan Dow and Sheriff Ian Parkinson. On Facebook, Tracy Nix has asked her friends to vote for Dow and to contact her in order to get a ball cap promoting Parkinson’s campaign.

Even though Nix has now confirmed she never graduated from Cal Poly, Nix wrote Sunday on Facebook that she is planning to attend grad school, saying she knows much more now than she did while working on her undergrad degree.

Tracy Nix Resume by Cal Coast Times on Scribd


Social Worker Requirements COUNTY OF SAN LUIS OBISPO by Cal Coast Times on Scribd

Copyright Karen Velie

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30 Comments about “DA’s expert witness never earned a college degree”

  1. Darla K says:

    So now we know Dan Dow hired a questionable Private “Eye” to from Ojai, CA to cover up his misdeeds and his relationship with his lady friend (Tracy Nix) whom he hired ?? who is and still is unqualified for any position in the DA’s office.

    She has been caught Lying under oath, lied about her experience and background to be hired by her friend Dan Dow who continues to accept donations for his campaign all while she is in a Bankruptcy ? really you have money to donated to Dow yet can not pay your bills or debts.

    We need a new DA and both Dan Dow and His lady “Tracy Nix” needs to be arrested and charged with both state crimes and federal crimes, as two judges said this morning this matter is “Troubling” and “Serious” time for a Grand Jury Probe with the State DOJ involved NOT DA Dow’s buddies.

    We plea to the honest and ethical members of the SLO Grand Jury and all the Courts Jurists to uphold the rule of law and expose corruption.

  2. KevinRice says:

    The Cowan case was tried and decided over 4 months before Dow was sworn in as DA. Nix had been at the DA’s office for many years before Dow ever got there as a deputy DA. Word on the street is that a prominent local defense attorney knew Nix did not have a degree as many as 14 years ago and sat on the information, only releasing it now as a sort of “middle finger” to Dow for some reason. That is an ethics issue in itself I would think…an attorney sitting on info like that and allowing cases to proceed that Nix was testifying in. Also, Nix’s “job reclassification” a “few months” ago was done by HR, NOT Dow. Word also has it that the information regarding Nix’s lack of a degree only came to Dow’s attention a couple of weeks ago when that defense lawyer finally decided to use the information against her during the recent Julian molestation case…who by the way was convicted without her testifying at all. All of this makes me more than a tad skeptical of the veracity of the “quotes” attributed to Dow in Karen’s article.

    1. Mattie says:

      Mr. Rice,

      I get it you are a Dow supporter and that is fine, but your missing is Mr. Dow knew she is a liar, she committed Perjury, he has and is trying to cover up her many years of deceit. She has also along with her Commander husband committed Federal Fraud and Perjury. As these two make nearly $300,000.00 and yet can not afford to live ?

      They signed a Federal Bankruptcy form under the penalty of perjury on several issues, such as cash on hand, jewelry, guns etc….they deny owning any guns ? Really a Sheriffs Commander whom I know has several guns, as does wife Tracy Nix, ( Who has a CCW) with guns listed on it, including a gun safe etc….

      The article has been vetted and actually investigated by AIM and others it is factual, as for Mr. Dow ongoing lies, the state bar now has the many complaints from the Kelly Manderino lies, Tracy Nix Lies and many more. Why has the District Attorney been meeting secretly with Lawyers, Investigators to help him out of this Criminal Mess.

      Dow has failed our community and is nothing but a “Politician” as not 1 of 13 judges support him for DA, speaks volumes of the courts distaste for his bringing so many false cases, he has the highest 17 B wobbler California penal code.

      NO Dow knew of Tracy Nix’s deceit , lies, fraud, perjury long ago, just recently in a case DDA Chris White was prosecuting a case in which Tracy Nix was involved this was only two months ago, Judge Van Rooyen released Tracy Nix’s partial records all showing she LIED, she COMMITTED PERJURY, altered testimony, records, facts, evidence tampering and more.

      DDA White was fully aware of the DA’s fake unqualified and perjured employee Tracy White had lied and thus he can NOT nor will he call her as a DA witness, why ? because she has NO credibility NO Integrity and she is now a known, Judicial false and perjured person, she can not be used again she is worthless.

      So bottom line is you need to check your facts, and stop listening to Dow in your ear, as of recent days surveillance has been taken of Dow, Dobroth meeting with several local lawyer all about the Nix Scandal in a crude attempt to conceal it up and not have to reopen all cases in which Tracy Nix has continued to lie. Realize the 2nd DCA tossed the conviction out to Prosecution misconduct and Nix and Manderino are the major participants of this big Lie.

      Dow has many internal Covello supporters on his staff and I get it they are leaking out plenty of information to get Dow out, that is wrong but it shows something is seriously wrong in his Office, I will allow the Attorney Generals Office of California and the FBI and the State Bar complete there investigations as well as an independent Investigations done by numerous law firms on this matter , NO ONE is above the Law not even Nix or Dow.

      If the Feds learn of her perjured Bankruptcy then she and her husband have more to worry about that just local lying and perjury. They have placed both their careers into questions on the bankruptcy they subjected themselves to being shaken down by the very thugs they have lied about

    2. Mattie says:

      Why is it Mr. Rice you failed to disclosed that Mr. Dow in a conversation told you the alleged lawyer who supposedly knew of this ( 14 Years Ago) is Illan-Funke Bilu, Esq. who is running for judge, as Mr. Dow is trying to save his election.

      You need to read the Courts order on releasing Ms. Nix false, perjured and lying application to the county and her HR file which is now being questioned on its truthfulness and it was proven she has lied about more than the public knows. Many Criminal Cases are now being reviewed for more of her (NIX) lying, accept the fact whether now or 4 years ago NIX has lied and committed perjury. That is an undeniable fact, she PERJURED herself…….

      She and her-husband are both supporters of Parkinson & Dow donated money that should have gone to pay off the creditors they scammed in their fake and perjured Bankruptcy.

      Next time post the truth as the surveillance has proven you have been speaking and testing Dow and others on what to say….what you allege and say, Big Ears are Listening.

    3. Weelzebub says:

      Why are you posting someone elses words and putting your name on them?

      And you question the “veracity” rich that, lol.

  3. Janice says:

    Some one or many have lied tried to conceal this dishonesty and lying in a Court of Law, Lying in what is now a public Federal Bankruptcy case certainly will come back to unravel this history of lies.

    Tracy D. Nix needs to be suspended and ALL cases she has ever has involvement in be reopened and an outside agency needs to come to town and get tot the bottom of this criminal misconduct.

    1. Steven says:

      I can recall back in 2012 she pretended to be a District Attorney Investigator so much so, she was at the Embassy Suites on 4/26/2012 with her husband Aaron Nix who recommended she get a award, nominated by her Husband.

      ” Tracy Nix” District Attorney Child Interviewer Specialist” it was called a compassion award. The problem is if you get a copy of her talk she Identifies herself as a DA Investigator/Law Enforcement. She lied then and apparently has not learned it is no OK to Lie.

      She has not ever been an Investigator, not a certified Child Abuse Interviewer or specialist as she does not posses the qualifications, degrees or Certifications. She thought she could get away with it until this site exposed her lies, I see she is not a State DOJ, P.O.S.T. qualified or certified, nor does she posses any credentials to do what she is doing.

      She does not have Penal Code section 832 et al certification or training in other words she is a phony and now exposed fabricated and lied. What is even more troubling is the elected District Attorney Daniel Dow knew of this and allowed it to go on, now innocent people may very well be in imprisoned.

      All cases she was affiliated with both Criminal and Civil need to be reexamined and she should be terminated for cause. Perjury is a serious crime and she should be prosecuted.

    2. ArroyoGrande2000 says:

      But Tracy Nix is on the side of law enforcement so it’s okay to lie as long as DA Dow gets count it as a win.

  4. William J Sidis says:

    You folks are assuming that Karen’s article is 100% factual. I heard the DA investigation is not even complete. Let due process run its course. For all we know, and it is beginning to look like it, Karen has a bone to pick with Tracy and now Dan Dow.

    1. Ken says:

      Are you really that dumb, your a Dow Surrogate named Langford using a bogus name and making Bull Shi! unfounded statements. Facts she lied read the court records, read and listen to her testimony and see how the DA made such a B.S. statement ” She Thought she Graduated”

      Then listen to the call to Local Reporter, Matthew Fountain, crying begging please don’t ruin my future do not do the story….what crap, she lied and now the higher courts have already ruled in one case due to lies, perjury, corruption a case was tossed out.

      Now I’m betting this week numerous lawyer will be filing motions all due to this 15 years of Perjury, Lying so fake William J Sidis stop hiding behind a bogus name and come clean with your real name and that you are a big supporter of Dow…. Truth Matter in the real world, oh by the way your fake name whom you have stolen could be used against you in a court of Law.

      As the real William J Sidis, was a well documented nut job, he was known as a messed up Child Prodigy, Mentally ill, used Pseudonyms to conceal who is really is (Sounds Like YOU) he was deeply disturbed died at age 46, due to mental illness so i hope you get some help and do not take your own lies seriously and lived a life of fantasy and deliriousness.

      He or you playing him show the same signs of his mental health, half truths, embellishment, myths, exaggerations . I hope you get the mental health your so desperately need.

      Your infatuation with Dow and Tracy Nix is weird and a little off the hook, are you really thinking your William J Sidis= returned from the dead ?

      WJS 1898-1944 died at age 46 i hope you get some help you certainly need it. Facts are Facts and just because your buddy got caught does not mean you need to spread lies yourself.

      1. William J Sidis says:

        P.S. Yeah, and “Ken” is really revealing about who YOU are. By the way, I never denied the fact that Nix does not have a degree. I am questioning the accuracy of certain details in the story.

    2. Janice says:

      Mr. Sidis,

      I’m not assuming anything, I just happened to know she has a history of misleading and not telling the truth. As she was a runner up years ago in a beauty queen contest which she did not get first place so she tossed a bit of a belligerent person.

      Now 20 year later, she has not changed much, I do know she has lied more than once and her superior Mr.Dow was and is fully aware of this, the story is factual as it was verified to by numerous investigators, Court Staff, HR staff, and Lawyers.

      The investigation was long done, so she was sent to be a program manager to cover the faults , deceits and misleading and now out right perjured testimony. Dr. Dow has s duty to mandate and report the fraud, lies and now perjury yet he choose to conceal it until caught.

      No bones to pick just the truth and facts that have long been concealed I suspect a major investigation at a least the State level will now take place.

    3. Stanley J says:

      Yes, as several independent other investigative reporters and two Private Investigators have confirmed this story is 100% correct and factual as have several lawyers who have current cases pending involving her, now she will no longer be involved in the cases.

      Just read her fake and phony resume, her fake testimony and above all her now fake and possible federal crimes for filing and signing a Bankruptcy that contains damaging details. As it is now under review by the IRS, BOE, FTB and her fake affiliations are being reviewed later this week by the Attorney Generals office and the DA is being looked at by the State Bar for misconduct again.

      She does not have any law enforcement credentials, no teaching credentials, not a certified expert in anything, no formal FBI training, no degrees in anything . She is one thing a liar and now a certified Liar, if you take the time to review her alleged waking at Cal Poly you may find she did not walk at all.

      Tracy Nix cancelled her FB account and all other social media contacts her SLO County email address has now been put on hold ? wonder why, a employee in both SLO HR and the alleged DA’s unit of public integrity is out of the circle as they are recused. ” Nixon should not Investigate Watergate” so the District Attorney Office and the Sheriff Office should not investigate the ” TRACY NIX GATE” growing scandal .

  5. Shenanigan says:

    The is extremely troubling and shame on Dan Dow for protecting a woman who is OBVIOUSLY LYING. I have a couple college degrees. Even I know that “walking at graduation” doesn’t mean anything. Does she or does she not have a COLLEGE DIPLOMA? That should be simple enough of a question to answer. Sounds like Dow was caught off guard and is struggling to cover himself.

  6. Shenanigan says:

    The is extremely troubling and shame on Dan Dow for protecting a woman who is OBVIOUSLY LYING.

    1. ArroyoGrande2000 says:

      And as troubling is she is married to a SLO County Sheriff, a person who is expected to be honest and know the difference between right and wrong, and certainly he knows his wife has lied repeatedly and yet he allows her to continue to do so, so no honesty with this particular Sheriff, thanks for hiring the best Ian Parkinson.

  7. Ken says:

    Tell me this is not really going on ?

    First i learned she is not a Law Enforcement person by any means from a Low Level unaccomplished SLO SW to now a program manager ? and yet she has been caught more than once lying in some very serious alleged cases , she needs to be terminated at once and Rita Neal the county counsel needs to ask the Attorney General to investigate these felonies Perjury is a serious crime.

    Why has this gone on so long and now were hearing how she Tracy Nix tried to get her boss DA-Dow to cover up for her ? now i see she is a Dan Dow supporter along with her Sheriffs Commander Husband.

    How long has the DA or now the courts known of this lying, making up stories doing false and perjured reports ? PJ needs to take action now, so Judge Ginger Garrett your the new Presiding Judge you need to take some serious action.

    Remember when another DA employee lied that is Kelly Manderino and the DA sweep it under the carpet what do people have on him ! what other illegal abuse of office and power has he been involved in that we do not know YET !

    You lost my vote, glad this came out before the elections so we citizens know the truth and can vote for the other guy. Tracy Nix tells a lies, cries to get sympathy not to allow the truth out. Shame on you all.

  8. Jerry Wendall says:

    I checked with the data bases for CCW permits in SLO and this Lying DA employee has a CCW permit ? yet according to the filing of her bankruptcy she owns no weapons ? Smells pretty deceitful to me as well as her husband who says he is a Commander with the Sheriffs Office, he too under perjury says he too own no weapons ?

    How is it that the DA’s office is attempting to cover this Perjured Employee up, i listened to a taped conversation where Tracy Nix called a Reporter begging and crying on the call to the reporter NOT to print or do a story on her Lies, Perjury etc.

    Tomorrow Morning i plan and forwarding the story to the Public Corruption Division of the US DOJ and Assistant US Attorney and the State Attorney General as well as the State Bar as it is most clear the DA too has lied and most likely covered this up.

  9. Jerry Wendall says:

    It appears that the DA’s office has many liars, knowing that you don’t posses a degree and thought you had one is pure B.S.! then to have your boss cover up for your lying and committing Perjury is a very bad thing.

    You Ms. Tracy D. Nix need to be fired immediately and then charged with several crimes, and then someone needs to look at this Bankruptcy you have going on ? that smells to me

  10. ArroyoGrande2000 says:

    First SLO has a drunk coroner messing up autopsies now a “expert” witness who lies. Clean everyone out, Parkinson and Dow for starters.

    1. Jerry Wendall says:

      Sad to say I too have lost all trust and confidence in our District Attorney and his surrogates . I in good conscience can not nor will i vote to reelect either Dan Dow or Sheriff Parkinson. The DA’s office has proven it self to be very dishonest, even to the point of corrupt.

      This so called Tracy Nix is nothing short of a bold faced liar and has indeed committed Perjury which is a serious crime, she was tapped recorded crying to beg certain people not to fire her, suspend her or write anything negative about her.

      Really you LIED, LIED , LIED get that fact in your head once a perjured person always a entrusted and perjured person. Mr. DA you have let us all down and you do not served another term.

  11. CYA says:

    Just reviewed the DOJ, POST, AG’s and many other records

    At NO time was or is this fake Expert Tracy Nix ever been certified by any courts as any Expert in anything, she is NOT Law Enforcement, she does not have even the basic POST certification, she has not even achieved the basic Penal Code Requirements of PC 832, she does not even come close to meeting even the minimal and basic requirements as a Forensics Interviewer, CPS Investigator, Child Abuse or Neglect requirements for any of the States 58 Counties.

    She has never been certified by the FBI or POST, let alone does not even met the bare and basic requirements to even talk to an alleged victim of Child Abuse or Neglect. Her SLO County HR file some how this past week was pulled ?

    I suspect it is being altered, deleted, lost or just missing for the DA to lie on her-behalf tells me a new DA is needed and this fake and phony Tracy Nix needs to be called into question on all cases she ever had any contact with she is NOT Truthful nor can she be trusted. Chris White was right not to call her to the stand as she would have lied again under oath.

    A NCIC, CLETS, AWWS, LEIU, DOJ and now IRS check show some very distributing things about her and her Sheriff Husband, Jim Erb you need to open a in depth investigation into all her county dealings

    1. perk o late says:

      The pretty lady meets perhaps the most important requirements, she’s friends with Parkinson’s wife and that means she’s earned the SLO County good buddy diploma. As for Erb, add him to the list of tax payer rip offs. These guys all know this crap is happening and continue to let it roll.

  12. CYA says:

    I do not know what planet DA Dow is from, but his staff more than once has lied, given false testimony, altered evidence, made false accusations and has out right lied, lied and lied some more. Now i know why not one Judge supports him in his bid to get reelected as DA.

    He and his office can not be trusted, it is simply called Prosecution Misconduct and Perjury. I have seen this former wannabe beauty queen make false statements. She has in fact committed “PERJURY” enough already Mr. Dow she needs to be fired and investigated along with her SLOSO Commander making nearly $300,000.00 and to file bankruptcy making such outrageous claims as they have no cash, no Guns or weapons, no value more than thousand buck’s in jewelry as i read thru the Bankruptcy file i see so much fraud.

    I asked the trustee a question Rojas who admitted the entire case smells but it is up to the United States Bankruptcy Court to investigate. Since both Mrs. Nix and her husband Commander Nix hold positions of sensitive and have access to local and National Data Base computers, evidence and records a in dept investigation into this possible fraudulent bankruptcy need to be investigated.

    As they both are now more subject to “Blackmailing” to see recently so many cases in the DA’s office refuse to call Tracy Nix as an expert now i now why, she is a LIAR and has jeopardized hundreds of cases and tainted the facts of every cases she has had any input, I recently saw a case in which the Prosecutor Chris White would NOT call her in an alleged sex case later we learned he knew she had perjured herself and Dow protected her corruption, it is time she be fired and charged and then we need a new DA.

    According to the FBI, US Attorneys office, State Child abuse qualifications this fake (Tracy Nix) does not even come close to having ANY qualifications of every being a Investigator, she is not PC 832 trained or certified, I checked with POST she does not have a POST Certificate. She does not have the credentials for being a Child sexual abuse Interviewer, nor as a CPS investigator nor does she have any credential training i could find as being an expert in anything.

    Then I see she and her husband state under the Penalty of Perjury they posses any GUNS, WEAPONS etc. so why does she have a CCW Permit ? how can her husband be a Sheriffs Commander with owning any weapons ?

    Then why do they have a gun safe if they own no guns ? Bankruptcy fraud, Perjury, Evidence tampering, altering testimony to fit the agenda , lying and then lying under oath ! There needs to be an immediate suspension of both and investigation into the Perjury. How many Innocent people are in Jail because of her lying ?

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