"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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 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 2014

"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 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 Vice-President

"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 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

"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

"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

“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

"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

"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

"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

"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 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

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 Secretary

"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, Past President 2015

"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

"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


Registration Open: 43rd Annual Criminal Defense Seminar & Awards Luncheon

December 9th & 10th, 2016
Hyatt Regency
San Francisco

Friday, December 9th, 2016
Charles R. Garry Memorial Lecture: 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Reception- 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Saturday, December 10th, 2016:
Registration and Check-in: 7:30am - 8:30am
Seminar Sessions: 8:30am - 5:00pm
Awards Luncheon: 12:00pm -1:30pm


In the News: Ruling Issued Yesterday RequiringProbable Cause before a Search

The Supreme Court issued a ruling on Monday in a 2012 case against a bicyclist who was found to have child pornography in his phone after being pulled over by police in a traffic stop. The ruling stated the search violated the Fourth Amendment and that police officers can only search a person following a traffic stop if they believe there is probable cause that a crime has been committed.

The case was ultimately dismissed after it was returned to a state appellate court in which the court was instructed to suppress all information extracted from the phone. The Supreme Court stated that the only lawful actionthe officers could have done when pulling over the bicyclist was give him a traffic ticket.

Read more here.


Governor Jerry Brown announced Xavier Becerra (D-CA) will be the new Attorney General of California to replace Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Governor Jerry Brown announced U.S. Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA) will be California’s next Attorney General, to replace Attorney General Kamala Harris, who was recently elected to the U.S. Senate.

“Xavier has been an outstanding public servant – in the State Legislature, the U.S. Congress and as a deputy attorney general,” said Governor Brown. “I'm confident he will be a champion for all Californians and help our state aggressively combat climate change.”

Rep. Becerra, 58, of Los Angeles, has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1992, most recently as the first Latino member of the Committee on Ways And Means, ranking member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security and chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. The congressman is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which he chaired from 1997 to 1998, and the Executive Committee of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. In 2010, Rep. Becerra served on the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. Becerra served in the California State Assembly as representative for the 59th Assembly District in Los Angeles County from 1990 to 1992. He served as a deputy attorney general in the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General from 1987 to 1990. The congressman began his legal career in 1984, advocating for and representing individuals with mental illness.

Rep. Becerra earned a Juris Doctor degree from Stanford Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Stanford University. Rep. Becerra is the son of working-class parents and was the first in his family to graduate from college with a four-year degree. His mother was born in Jalisco, Mexico and immigrated to the United States after marrying his father. Rep. Becerra is married to Dr. Carolina Reyes. They are the proud parents of three daughters: Clarisa, Olivia and Natalia.

See full press release here.

SF Chronicle: We don’t want to jail people for being poor

In an opinion article in the SF Chronicle, Scott Sugarman, a past president of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, explains how jailing those unable to pay fines is "at odds not only with the law and the Constitution, but also with the values accepted by most individuals in our community."

Article Link


CACJ and the NCTAC Committee would like to congratulate the winner of the 2016 National Criminal Trial Advocacy Competition

1st Place Whittier Law School

Coaches: Dale Durham, Elizabeth Karsokas, Gautam Sood
Students: Kellen Davis, Talia Gallo, Rhoneil Pascual, Kyle Tang

Find the rest of the participants and winners here.


CACJ's legislation to fight prosecutorial misconduct continues to make headlines since obtaining Gov. Brown’s signature

CACJ Sponsored bill AB 1909, which now makes it a felony for a prosecutor to intentionally withhold exculpatory evidence, makes headlines once again. CACJ President Matthew Guerrero comments to the LA Times about the passage of the bill and how the OC jail-house informant scandal “really invigorated our organization to recognize that there’s a problem. The prosecution in that situation seemed to be acting with impunity, so we wanted to send a strong signal that the criminal justice system needs to do the right thing in the right way.” Obie Anthony, an advocate and exoneree who has worked alongside CACJ on this issue, stated, “I’m glad the governor decided to put his foot down,” “I went to talk to [Legislators] about how those bad-acting prosecutors took 17 years of my life.”

Read LA Times article here.

Here are some articles highlighting this groundbreaking new law:


SF Public Defender's Story: Bad Guys by Jeff Adachi

Last week, Jeff Adachi and a fellow Public Defender in San Francisco noticed a sign-up sheet being distributed around the courtroom using the label of "Bad Guy" to describe the defendants. When this was brought to the judge’s attention, he dismissed it as a joke, saying that “it says the same thing, the defendant is the accused. The “bad guy”, it is a semantics thing.”

If you are labeled as the “bad guy”, especially in a document circulated in the courthouse where it can be seen by witnesses and family members of the accused, it strips away their presumption of innocence, and “attacks the credibility of a system that promises to be fair,” explains Adachi.


Read the story here.

Current Issue is now on-line!

Donate

Upcoming Events


43rd Annual Criminal Defense Seminar
December 9-10, 2016
Hyatt Regency
San Francisco, CA


CACJ/CPDA Capital Case Defense Seminar
February 17-20, 2017
Hilton Bayfront
San Diego, CA


CACJ Calendar


Visit Us:

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.

Powered by Scorpion Design