"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

"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, Past President

"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, CACJ Treasurer

"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, Past President

"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

"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

"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."

The Late Michael Millman, Past President

"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

"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

“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, Board Member

"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, CACJ President

"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, Past President

"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, Past President

"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, Board Member

"As defense counsel is the accused's friend in court, CACJ is the accused's friend in the Legislature. By lobbying together for shorter sentences and fewer crimes, we can make our state more just, and our world more free."

Jesse Stout, Board Member

"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, Board Member

"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 Vice-President

"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, Past President & Founding Member

"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 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, CACJ Treasurer

To fight the horrors of class warfare, mass incarceration, and the torture of solitary confinement, we must stand together. We do this through our membership in the CACJ, the single most powerful state-based group of criminal defense lawyers in the nation. Join us. We're making a difference.

Jacqueline Goodman, CACJ Board Member

"The Brady bill is the latest example of CACJ's Leg Comm and Ignacio's group having unlimited creativity to overcome all obstacles and limitless tenacity to keep battling when lesser souls would give up on exhaustion. It is an honor and privilege to be allowed to work with all of you."

Steve Rease, CACJ Secretary

"It is such an honor to be part of CACJ and to watch the heroic efforts of CACJ members fighting to achieve fairness in our legal system.  When I first joined the Board I had no idea about the incredible efforts and success CACJ advocates make on a daily basis throughout our great state.  The collective wisdom of the outstanding attorneys that comprise the CACJ Board is inspiring and makes me a better attorney and citizen.  The efforts and support of CACJ members ensures the protection  of liberty and justice for all."

Deedra Edgar, Board Member

"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, Past President

"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, Past President

Join us in San Francisco for the Holidays, hear from legal experts and earn MCLE credit. Time to register is running out!

Nationally known Brady and informant scandal in Orange Co has implications on a broader variety of cases. Scott Sanders and Denise Gragg discus how this will impact a variety of cases across the state.

The latest on Brady and tips for your cases: Orange County has become the battleground for an historical fight over Brady violations. Stemming from a long-standing practice of withholding information about jailhouse informants, defense attorneys in Orange County have launched a cutting-edge strategy to explore evidentiary issues. Come hear from two of the attorneys at the forefront of the Orange County cases.

Register now for discounted rates.
Prices increase after Friday, December 4th

Reserve your hotel now:

Hotel Nikko
222 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Click here for on-line reservations

Death Penalty Title and Summary Released

The Justice that Works Act of 2016 - Eliminating the Death Penalty
This proposed initiative would prevent a person from being sentenced to death in California. Those currently sentenced to death would have their sentence changed to life without the possibility of parole. In addition, the initiative would require inmates to work in prison and increase the amount of victim restitution that can be removed from wages. See the initiative language here.

The Attorney General recently released the initiative Title and Summary. The AG tagged the initiative as a $150 million savings annually for the state and local government. The proponents have until May 17th to gather enough signatures to officially qualify for the November 2016 ballot. For additional background information, you can see the non-partisan fiscal analysis of the initiative here.

CACJ Calls for a Federal Investigation of the Orange County "Crisis"

CACJ, along with a coalition of national legal organizations, joins Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Irvine School of Law, and John Van de Kamp, former California Attorney General and Los Angeles District Attorney, in calling for a federal investigation of the Orange County District Attorney and Sheriff’s Department for alleged repeated violations of defendants' rights involving jailhouse informants.

CACJ sponsored AB 1328 in response to the Orange County controversy - The measure, authored by Assemblymember Shirley Weber from San Diego, requires prosecutors who intentionally withhold evidence to be reported to the State Bar of California, and strengthens existing law to disqualify an individual prosecutor or an entire office from a case. The bill was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

In the letter sent to the U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s office on Tuesday, the authors declare the criminal justice system in Orange County is “in a state of crisis".

The letter states that it is “critical that a credible, neutral party conduct a thorough investigation of the actions of both the Sheriff’s Department and the OCDA. Otherwise, we will never know how many citizens’ constitutional rights were violated, and the public will not be able to have full confidence in our criminal justice system.”

See full article here.

Read the letter here.

Governor Jerry Brown Announces Judicial Appointments

CACJ wishes to congratulate CACJ members Michael G. Idiart and Stephen P Freccero on their appointments!

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced the appointment of Mark E. Cullers, Mary Dolas and Michael G. Idiart to judgeships in the Fresno County Superior Court.

Idiart, 65, of Fresno, has been an attorney in private practice since 1983. He served in several positions at the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office from 1976 to 1982, including chief deputy district attorney and assistant district attorney. Idiart earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Mary’s College of California. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Carlos A. Cabrera. Idiart is a Democrat.

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced the appointment of Stephen P. Freccero to a judgeship in the Marin County Superior Court.

Freccero, 56, of Larkspur, has been a partner at Morrison and Foerster LLP since 2000, where he was of counsel from 1998 to 2000. Freccero served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California from 1989 to 1998 and as a law clerk for the Honorable Samuel Conti at the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California from 1987 to 1988. He earned a Master of Laws degree from the European University Institute, a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University. Freccero fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Lynn Duryee. He is a Democrat.

See full list of appointments here.

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