"For over 30 years CACJ has provided me with access to the leading criminal defense practitioners in California, and the opportunity to know about and respond to pending legislation - which I otherwise would not have had."

Michael Millman

"Being a member of CACJ is belonging to dedicated, professional community that has a very tangible effect on the lives of our clients and the public who benefit from our efforts to keep the government accountable and works together to ensure that the citizen's privacy rights, due process and concepts of fundamental fairness are protected and strengthened. Training, outreach and legislative advocacy are cornerstones of CACJ's 40 years."

Matthew Guerrero

"CACJ is like a beacon in the distance through the fog and heavy mist.  It is where we will strive to meet and find our finest selves, where we will become the best lawyers we can be, and where we will work together to change the world and make it a better place for ourselves, our children, and most importantly, our clients."

John Crouch

"CACJ is important to the criminal defense bar and to the personal rights and liberties of everyone in California. CACJ's presence in Sacramento is unmatched and often is the only voice to promote or defeat bills before the State Legislature.  CACJ provides the highest quality Seminars and Webinars to educate practitioners and to give them a sense of community. CACJ also conducts the National Trial Advocacy Competition which attracts teams from law schools all over the country."

Robert Sanger

"CACJ is an essential state-wide organization for all criminal defense attorneys.  The seminars, seminar materials, and Forum magazine are outstanding, addressing the latest issues and developments in criminal law, procedure and evidence.  All of the committees are accomplished and hardworking. The Legislative Committee and Ignacio is a prime example: an important and respected voice in the legislature continually achieving impressive results."

Robert Boyce

"CACJ continues to succeed in derailing harmful legislation through our tremendous lobbying efforts of Ignacio Hernandez and the dedicated attorneys of the Legislative Committee.  CACJ has a meaningful voice around the State through our Amicus Committee and the briefs they file.  It is humbling to work along side such a rich pool of minds dedicated to criminal defense in California."

Mara Fieger

"Strength comes from unity.  CACJ is a great criminal defense organization of public and private defense attorneys who are joined for self-education, mutual support, making our collective voices known, and continuing the historic, continuing struggle for justice for the accused."

Chuck Sevilla

"CACJ has represented the interests of the defense bar and our clients for almost 40 years. Our legislative efforts, educational programs, amicus support, publications, just to mention a few, have been invaluable to my practice, to our members, and for all those who represent people accused of crime"

Alex Landon

"As criminal defense attorneys we regularly make difference in our individual clients’ lives. However, standing alone, our efforts only go that far. In order to bring about a real change to the criminal justice system, we must work together as a team. CACJ provides the framework for that cooperation. As Helen Keller once said: “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

Orchid Vaghti

"CACJ is a family of criminal defense lawyers. We share knowledge, experience and affection. It is a mirror in which we bond with others like us to experience the best in law and lawyers. It is a message that we are not alone."

Ephraim Margolin

"There are countless pieces of catastrophic legislation dead on the floor of the legislature as the direct result of the dedicated, articulate and dogged work, over the years, of the CACJ Legislative Committee and our lobbyists."

Jefferey R. Stein

"CACJ's great contribution to criminal justice is our work in the Legislature. As a member of the Legislative Committee since 1984, I have seen our organization become a real power for justice in the Legislature. CACJ is now a sought-after voice in the Legislature and our view on bills is given serious weight by Legislators and their staff. Yes, a lot of bad bills have become bad law. But brother, you should see the stuff CACJ has stopped. And many times, CACJ was the only organized opposition to these terrible, terrible bills. "

Steve Rease

"There is nothing better that I could do to advance the interests of the clients and the criminal defense bar than by being an active member of CACJ. "

Jefferey R. Stein

“We are the gladiators fighting to protect the liberty of the citizens who are investigated or accused of crimes. While most of us are sole practitioners, CACJ makes us into a powerful Criminal Defense law firm with the resources to even the playing field against the government. Whether it is the connections you make at the great seminars, the Brief Bank, the legislative updates and lobbying or what you learn at the seminars, it makes you a better warrior and therefore, helps your clients.”

David S. Kestenbaum

"Defense attorneys are warriors - for our clients and in defense of their constitutional rights.  We fight more effectively and successfully when we band together, when we support each other through out membership in, and commitment to, CACJ.  We gain strength in our often lonely fights for our clients from the men and women who are engaged in similar struggles for other defendants.  CACJ is a vital means to support one another."

Scott Sugarman

"CACJ is the organization that is pushing back against unreasonable laws and unjust treatment for people accused of crimes. Because of the state of the law, criminal defense work is a tough, Sisyphean endeavor. My colleagues at CACJ give me the inspiration and strength I need to zealously push that boulder up a hill over and over again. Because of them, I remember that there is strength in numbers and solace in camaraderie."

Cris Lamb

"For 40 years, CACJ has been a powerful voice for criminal defense attorneys and their clients. It has impacted laws that protect the rights of the convicted and accused and provided defense attorneys with education, advocacy  and community. CACJ's strength, purpose and longevity make it a cornerstone of criminal justice in California."

Laurel Headley

"CACJ has been the key guide to my becoming a more effective and inventive advocate for the clients I serve, by offering the great minds and strategists of our craft as inspiring mentors."

Jefferey R. Stein

"California Attorneys for Criminal Justice is the home for those attorneys in California who understand and truly appreciate the liberties and freedoms recognized by our Founding Fathers and embodied in the United States Constitution. More importantly, these women and men of the bar recognize that these inalienable rights enunciated in the Constitution will be ignored, belittled and ultimately stolen from us by the state without champions taking a stand -- this is who we are -- this is who YOU are!"

Jonathan Willis

"I have always been inspired and assisted by my colleagues in CACJ. I first got involved in CACJ by testifying and help refining the first California DNA laws almost 25 years ago, and was so moved that CACJ had taken the lead in the legislative testimony on the proposed DNA Act, I became actively involved. Our legislative and amicus presence, as well as our FORUM magazine, have only become stronger over time. I am more impressed than ever that a private organization like ours is generally the strongest voice, and often the only voice, on issues crucial to criminal defense."

Jeff Thoma

"It has been my pleasure to serve as President of CACJ. In that capacity I have met and worked with many people who are truly committed to the defense of others and the idea that there can and should be equal justice for all. Thank you for the opportunity."

Christopher Chaney

"It is an exciting time to be a part of CACJ in this changing landscape of criminal justice . The resulting sea-change is the result of budgetary woes from inflated prison sentences. I am inspired every time I attend a meeting and learn of the efforts members make on behalf of the accused without compensation or commendation to put "rehabilitation" back into the system which for so long just sought to warehouse those society deemed unsuitable. I am particularly hopeful that I can address the problems of elderly prisoners seeking compassionate release. No one should die in prison."

Oliver Cleary

Advocates for the defense for over 40 years!


Join us tonight in the Bamboo Garden, from 6-8pm, for a complementary cocktail reception. Troy Slaten will kick off festivities which will include a raffle with a seminar waiver to Rules of the Road XVII.

Onsite registration is available; registration will open at 8 am and the first session starts at 8:30 am – arrive early and have coffee and muffins and check out exhibitors.

Click here for more information.

Governor Brown signed one of CACJ's co-sponsored bills, SB 1310. SB 1310 changes the maximum misdemeanor sentence from 365 days to 364 days. By changing California's misdemeanor definition to a maximum sentence of 364 days, non-citizens will avoid automatic deportation for certain misdemeanor offense. The bill goes into effect on January 1, 2015.

CACJ and our allies led the drafting of the bill, CACJ was the lead co-sponsor working directly with the author's office on every step, and Hernadez Strategy handled the discussions with the governor's office. Thank you to the Legislative Committee for all their help, from drafting the bill language, sending their thoughts/opinions, and being available for any other requests.

Breaking News:

Federal judge rules California death penalty is unconstitutional

"The “random few” who will be executed “will have languished for so long on Death Row that their execution will serve no retributive or deterrent purpose and will be arbitrary,” Carney said."

"Natasha Minsker, a director of the ACLU of Northern California, said Wednesday’s ruling marked the first time that a federal judge had found the state’s current system unconstitutional. She said it was also “the first time any judge has ruled systemic delay creates an arbitrary system that serves no legitimate purpose and is therefore unconstitutional.”"

Read more from the LA Times article

Copy of Order is located here

Nomination Deadline Extended: July 25 th, 2014

Awards Presented at CACJ's December Annual Criminal Defense Seminar

Significant Contributions to Criminal Justice: Recognizes the lifetime of commitment to individual rights and liberties of the recipient as demonstrated through their work and life at the bar or on the bench.
Skip Glenn: Recognizes the extraordinary achievements of a young attorney.

To nominate someone please email gjones@cacj.org the following information:

  • Name, email and phone of nominee
  • Why you are nominating them
  • Your contact information for follow-up as needed

CACJ's ListServ is LIVE

A listserv is the fastest way to communicate with hundreds of hundreds of members and receive responses back for a variety of positions. It is accessed through your personal email account, with no additional program or software to install or learn. This is the best way to build communication and professional relationships, as you have contact to members that you would not see day to day, or communicate with otherwise. This allows you to expand your network and benefit from the knowledge of other members in the group.

Sign-up now!

Supreme Court Marks Passing of Michael Millman

Executive Director of California Appellate Project; Pillar of the Capital Defense Bar

SAN FRANCISCO—The Supreme Court of California marks with sadness the passing of Michael Millman, long-time Executive Director of the California Appellate Project (CAP). Mr. Millman succumbed to pancreatic cancer on Saturday, May 31. To read more click here.

Please send us any stories or photos you have of Michael to gjones@cacj.org

View more Press Releases, and learn more, visit our Legislative Page

California Senate Votes to Correct Disparities in Sentencing for Crack and Powder Cocaine

Advancement of SB 1010 shows readiness to move toward more effective and fair sentencing laws

May 28th - SACRAMENTO, CA- Today, the California State Senate advanced the California Fair Sentencing Act (SB 1010), authored by Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles). SB 1010 corrects the groundless disparity in sentencing, probation and asset forfeiture guidelines for crack cocaine versus powder cocaine that has resulted in a pattern of racial discrimination in sentencing and incarceration in California.

Botched Execution Should be a Lesson on the Dangers of Carrying out Government Sanctioned Killings

April 30th- Sacramento, CA- Scott Sugarman, President of the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ), responds to the death of inmate Clayton Lockett after the botched execution effort in Oklahoma: “The Death Penalty is a complicated and largely defective process that simply cannot be carried out without significant risk of inhumane government-sanctioned torture and violations of constitutional guarantees. Mr. Lockett suffered a horrible death that should serve as a lesson - it is time to pursue other options for penalties that do not result in intentional or unintentional torture.”

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