"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 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"

"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 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

"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

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.

"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

"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

"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."

"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. "

"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!"

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.

"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

"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

"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

"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 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

ADVOCATES FOR THE DEFENSE for over 40 years!

Apri 8th 2014- Four bills by State Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez were approved today in the Assembly Committee on Public Safety, passing with unanimous support. AB 2603 clarifies the state laws related to prescription medicines, specifically protecting the ability of authorized representatives – such as a family member or caregiver -- to legally pick up and transport a prescription medication on behalf of the prescription holder. This protects access to prescription medications for the ill, infirm, elderly, and those in rural/remote areas who rely on others to access the medications they need. The bill is sponsored by California Attorneys for Criminal Justice.

Read the full Press Release for AB 2603 here.

March 17th 2014- Senator Holly J. Mitchell (D-South Los Angeles) has introduced SB 1010, co-sponsored by the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ), to set the same penalties for sale of crack cocaine as now apply to the equally illegal sale of powder cocaine. In current California law, sentences for intent-to-sell crack convictions range from three to five years, but for powder only two to four years. Because crack cocaine is cheaper than the powdered version, there are more crack convictions in low income and minority communities. Senator Mitchell’s bill would correct the unjustified disparity in sentencing, probation and asset forfeiture guidelines for low level crack and powder cocaine offenses. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates millions of dollars in savings for state and local governments if SB 1010 becomes law.

Read the full Press Release for SB 1010 here.
Read the Amendments here.
Read the Fact Sheet here.

On April 1, various members of the CACJ legislative committee arrived in Sacramento for its annual lobby day. CACJ members participated in various activities such as testifying in committee, meeting with the chief consultant for Assembly public safety, and discussing CACJ's 2014 legislative priorities with multiple legislators.

Learn more and see photos from the event here.

CACJ mentioned by the Supreme Court Chief Justice

CACJ was mentioned by name in Chief Justice's dissent in the opinion for Kaley vs US. He referenced the Amicus Curiae Brief filed by CACJ on Jul 3 2013, by John Owens, a team from Munger Tolles in Los Angeles, and they were joined by Amicus Chair John Philipsborn.

Read the Dissent by the Chief Justice Roberts
Read the Amicus brief by John T. Philipsborn and John B. Owens, et all.


Since its founding in 1973, the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice has become one of the country's largest statewide organizations of criminal defense lawyers and allied professionals dedicated to preserve due process and equal protection in the courtroom and the legislature as guaranteed by the Constitution.

Learn more about the 40th Anniversary Luncheon and Awards Ceremony here.


CACJ's Public Policy Director, Ignacio Hernandez, of Hernandez Strategy Group, http://www.hernandezstrategy.com provides continuous and aggressive representation on criminal defense legislation at the Capitol. CACJ's Legislative Committee meets weekly to review current legislation and establish strategies to effectively engage policy makers in passing, amending or defeating legislation through committee testimony and direct lobbying.

Legislative News can be read here, and Legislative Updates can be accessed by members here.


CACJ has established a New Lawyers Division (NLD) to assist new attorneys in the beginning of their practice with the help of the best practitioners and legal scholars in our state. CACJ is the only private resource available that can effectively and consistently assist young attorneys in developing their knowledge and skills necessary to be effective advocates.

More information on the New Lawyers Division can be found here.
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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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