"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'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

"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 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

"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

"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

"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

“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

"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 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 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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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 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

"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!

California Attorneys for Criminal Justice supports Proposition 47. Proposition 47 will improve the quality of Justice in our State while promoting safe neighborhoods and schools. Please join us at the polls this November and vote for Proposition 47.

Eric H. Schweitzer

California Attorneys for Criminal Justice Board of Governors, Co-Chair Legislative Committee

September 29, 2014

Maintaining the Status Quo on Brady Violations is not a Sufficient Deterrent to Prevent a Growing National "Epidemic" of Prosecutorial Misconduct

The California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, a statewide association of criminal defense attorneys, is disappointed with Governor Jerry Brown's decision to veto Assembly Bill 885.

AB 885, CACJ sponsored bill, would have allowed a court, at its discretion, to read a jury instruction when a prosecutor intentionally or knowingly withheld evidence that may have prove the innocence of a defendant.

In Governor Brown's veto statement, he states that "prosectuorial misconduct should never be tolerated." We agree wholeheartedly. Governor Brown also writes, "under current law, judges have an array of remedies at their disposal if discovery violation comes to light during trial."

CACJ cannot sit back and rely on the status quo. It is clear that many judges do not regularly use whatever remedies the Governor referred to and these remedies are insufficient deterrents. We know prosecutors continue to strategically withhold evidence from the defense because Brady violations persist and innocent individuals are being wrongfully imprisoned in California. Unfortunately, prosecutors face little, if any, consequences.

Prosecutorial misconduct can happen to anyone. The possibility of one more person being wrongfully convicted, such as Obie Anthony, should have tipped the scales in favor of this moderate measure. Mr. Anthony was wrongfully convicted of murder and attempted robbery in 1995. Mr. Anthony was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole and spent 17 years in prison.

CACJ will continue fighting to protect the innocent and ensure justice is served.

New Problem Could Torpedo Guilt Cold-Case Murder Trial

San Jose Mercury News

September 24 th, 2014

A pending case in Santa Clara County, where the DA withheld 10,000 pages of discovery until 2 weeks before jury trial on a homicide, and also failed to disclose that he was having an affair with the lead criminalist in the case who provided the key DNA results in a "cold hit" murder, is threatening to torpedo the trial of two brothers accused of a 25-year-old "cold case" murder.

The evidence issue comes as Gov. Jerry Brown considers whether to sign Assembly Bill 885, sponsored by California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, which would allow judges to tell a jury when a prosecutor has intentionally concealed potentially helpful evidence to the defense.

"Everybody that has ever tried cases," Barry Scheck said, "knows this (prosecutorial misconduct involving withheld evidence) is a problem."

http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_26593015/new-problem-could-torpedo-quilt-cold-case-murder

CONTACT: Mary Bisbee-Beek
bisbee@neverlandpublications.com
September 2014

'WE THE PEOPLE SELFIE AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY' IN SUPPORT OF FINAL WORDS

A NEVERLAND PUBLICATIONS INITIATIVE

Utilizing social media and the recently popularized "selfie" image, We The People Against the Death Penalty brings together an internationally diverse group of people to make a simple yet resounding statement against the continued use of the death penalty. A simple self-portrait featured with the completed statement "I stand against the death penalty because…" allows people all over the world to voice their opposition to the death penalty in both a creative and personal way, and in turn demonstrate their support for the Final Words project. Each image will be uploaded to the final-words.org website and featured as a single collection. For each supporter of the Final Words crowd-funding campaign, their "selfie" and statement against the death penalty will be featured in the traveling exhibition as a testament to the grassroots nature of Final Words.

California reduces deportations for minor crimes

By DON THOMPSON, Associated Press | July 21, 2014

"Amazingly, the fact that it's 364 means it's not an aggravated felony under federal law," said Steven Rease, a criminal defense attorney in Monterey County. "It's a very small change in terms of 365, 364, but it's going to make all the difference in the world to a legal immigrant...whose chances of deportation are greatly reduced."

Rease is co-chairman of the legislative committee of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, which represents defense attorneys and sought the change in state law." See more from the article here.

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