"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 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

“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

"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'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

"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 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 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

"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

"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 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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

Advocates for the defense for over 40 years!

Upcoming Events-

Appellate Seminar

San Francisco, CA
September 20th, 2014

Registration is open, check here for more information and to register today.

National Criminal Trial Advocacy Competition

San Francisco, CA
October 16th-19th, 2014

DUI Rules of the Road XVII

Palm Springs, CA
November 1st, 2014

Annual Criminal Defense Seminar

San Francisco, CA
December 12th-13th, 2014

AB 885 Press Release Packet

Bill AB 885 is on the Governor's Desk, and we need your support to get it signed!

Assembly Bill 885, authored by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), addresses instances of intentional or knowing prosecutorial misconduct. This bill is sponsored by the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice.

Specifically, the bill allows a court to read a jury instruction when a prosecutor intentionally or knowingly withholds evidence that may indicate innocence, erode the credibility of a witness, or is otherwise favorable to the defense.

Prosecutorial misconduct is a growing issue in the United States. As recently as December 2013, Ninth Circuit judge Alex Kozinski warned of “an epidemic of Brady violations abroad in the land.” Both the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times have called for discovery reform addressing this “epidemic.” These Brady violations can happen to anyone – from U nited States Senator Ted Stevens to an average citizen like Obie Anthony. Obie has walked the halls of the California state capitol advocating for the passage of AB 885. Instead of being angry at the system which unjustly incarcerated him for 17 years, Obie is working to ensure this injustice never occurs again.

AB 885 passed both houses of the California legislature on August 29, 2014. The bill is now at Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for its final consideration. Governor Brown must sign or veto the bill by September 30, 2014.

Historic Bill on Prosecutorial Misconduct Passes to the Governor's Desk If signed, AB 885 would be the first of its kind in the Country

SACRAMENTO Aug 29 - Today, Assembly Bill 885, authored by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D - San Francisco) passed off the Assembly floor. This bill, which authorizes courts to instruct a jury when a prosecutor has intentionally concealed evidence of innocence, is the first of its kind in the nation. It now awaits the Governor's signature.

PDF for the Full Version

Obie Anthony and AB 885

Northern California Innocence Project: Obie Anthony's Story
Northern California Innocence Project: Obie Anthony's Story
CACJ will be making visits to legislator's offices today and tomorrow with Obie Anthony, a wrongfully convicted person that was incarcerated for 17 years. With the help of Loyola Law School's Project for the Innocent and the Northern California Innocence Project, he was exonerated and released from prison in 2011. With Mr. Anthony's help, we're making an all-out final push to have bill AB 885 signed.

“I thank them for coming to my rescue and giving me life again,” Anthony said of the Northern California Innocence Project.

CACJ Sponsors Assembly Bill 885!!


CACJ is looking to hire a Membership/Marketing Specialist for our Sacramento office. We will be accepting applications between September 5th 2014 through October 5th 2004.
If you think you have the appropriate qualifications and drive, please follow the steps here.

CONTACT: Mary Bisbee-Beek
September 2014



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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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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