2016 CACJ/CPDA's Capital Case Defense Seminar: Register On-Site- Spaces
Join CACJ at the largest criminal defense seminar this year. This year's
CCDS will include sessions addressing murder and felony charges in addition
to capital cases.
On-Site Registration will be open on:
Friday. February 12th, from 12:00pm-5:00pm &
Saturday, February 13th, from 8:00am-5:00pm
Earn up to 18.75 hours of MCLE.
ccdseminar.com for more information.
IN THE PRESS: Gov. Brown releases the initiative language on The Public
Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016.
"Authorizes parole consideration for nonviolent inmates who complete
the full sentence for their primary offense. Allows inmates to earn credits
for good behavior, education and rehabilitative achievement. Requires
judges rather than prosecutors to decide whether juveniles as young as
14-years-old should be tried as adults.
California’s prisons are under a court-ordered population cap, the
prison population is expected to grow, and there are almost 5,000 inmates
housed in out-of-state prisons. Without further action, the court will
order the release of prisoners. This initiative—through its nonviolent
parole and earned-credit provisions—will help ensure that any release
of rehabilitated inmates is consistent with public safety.
Currently, prosecutors often must decide within 48 hours whether a juvenile
should be charged as an adult. The initiative will require a judge, instead
of a prosecutor, to carefully review all of the circumstances and make
IN THE NEWS: CACJ Speaks Out on Peremptory Challenges
Gov. Brown recently released a budget that included a reduction in peremptory
challenges in misdemeanor trials from 10 to 6. The California Judges Association
and the California Judicial Council support Brown’s proposal, stating
that it’s necessary for "court efficiency", saving personal
resources of jurors, and that 47 other states offer 6 or less peremptory
challenges and still uphold due process.
CACJ has long fought proposals to reduce peremptory challenges, including
a bill last year. CACJ President Matt Guerrero was interviewed by the
Daily Journal for the story.
Jeff Adachi, San Francisco’s elected Public Defender, also spoke
out against both the proposed reduction and comments from the parties
in favor, arguing peremptory challenges proposals have failed numerous
times in the Legislature and that it “attacks the diversity of jurors
and usurps trial lawyers’ ability to choose unbiased juries.”
Read Daily Journal article
The U.S. Supreme Court Makes Retroactive the Ban on Juvenile Life-Without-Parole Sentences
In 2012, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling in
Miller v. Alabama, which holds that life-without-parole sentences for all children under
18 convicted of homicide are unconstitutional. Before this ruling, juveniles
convicted of homicide could be sentenced to life without the possibility
of parole, but the recognition that kids are less culpable than adults
because of their immaturity and impulsiveness, and that they have a higher
likeliness of rehabilitation, caused the Supreme Court to issue the ruling
against this cruel and unusual punishment.
Although most States applied Miller v. Alabama retroactively, several did
not. However, "[the] decision in
Montgomery v. Louisiana now requires all states to apply
Miller retroactively, which means that in Louisiana, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Michigan,
Minnesota, and Colorado, hundreds of people who were sentenced to die
in prison for crimes when they were children are now entitled to new sentencing
See full article
NEWS OUTLET: California Death Penalty Poll Shows Dropping Support
A field poll released on Friday shows 47 percent of voters favor replacing
the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole,
an increase from a poll taken in 2014, while support for accelerating
the process has dropped since last year. Though there is a clear tossup
between both measures, there is a consensus among the public that the
system is broken and a decision on either doing away with the death penalty
or speeding up the process is necessary.
Michael Cherry, the Executive Director of Death Penalty Focus, who is
pushing for the measure to abolish capital punishment, says "We are
confident that when Californians learn the facts they will vote to end
this failed experiment with the death penalty and replace it with justice
According to both campaigns, if both measures are approved in November,
the one with the most votes would settle the death penalty question in
California for now.
Sacramento Hearing on Lethal Injection
The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) and the California Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will be holding a hearing about
the state's new lethal injection rules.
Notice of proposed regulations
If you'd like to attend the meeting, please email David Crawford, the
Director of Community Outreach and Education for Death Penalty Focus,
to get details about the event:
If you cannot make hearing in Sacramento, you can submit a comment online
Date and Time: January 22, 2016 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Place: Department of Health Care Services
East End Complex - The Auditorium
1500 Capitol Avenue Sacramento, CA 95814
Governor Brown Announces Mary McComb as State Public Defender
Mary McComb, 58, of Davis, has been appointed state public defender in
the Office of the State Public Defender, where she has served as supervising
deputy state public defender since 2010 and was deputy state public defender
from 1992 to 2010. McComb was an associate at Kelman Loria from 1990 to
1991, an attorney at the Community Law Center from 1987 to 1990 and a
teacher at the Commonwealth High School from 1983 to 1984. She earned
a Juris Doctor degree from Stanford Law School. This position requires
Senate confirmation and the compensation is $153,953.88. McComb is a Democrat.
Panel Releases Review on O.C. D.A. Office
After a six-month investigation, a committee of legal experts, hand-picked
by Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, releases a report
that states there are “serious deficiencies” in supervision
and training in the District Attorney’s Office, leading to a “win-at-all-cost”
mentality among some prosecutors.
The committee goes on to recommend specific changes to the operations of
the DA's office which includes, "no longer embedding gang prosecutors
with special police units."
CACJ has been fighting against prosecutorial misconduct and sponsored
AB 1328 by Assemblymember Shirley Weber (San Diego), in response to the OC jailhouse
informant scandal. The bill, which went into effect this year on January
1, 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.
Read more from the OC Register
Article in SFGate pays homage to Lou Katz
Louis Katz, a criminal defense and civil rights lawyer whose clients in
five decades of practice included folk singer Pete Seeger and a defendant
in the last death penalty case tried in San Francisco, died Dec. 2 at
his home in Oakland, his family said. He was 92.
Read more from the
Founding CACJ member, and its fourth President, Lou Katz, died last week.
He was 92. For many, Lou was a mentor, inspiration, and friend. He was
a leader. He was the shining example of how to be a standup criminal defense
attorney and defender of civil liberty.
Lou accomplished so much in his life that those details will have to await
for another forum. But of all his accomplishments, Lou was proudest of
helping to found CACJ in 1973. He helped CACJ fill a huge vacuum in criminal
justice and was a leader in making the organization effective in teaching
young trial lawyers trial skills and, on the larger scale, in its pursuit
of legislative advocacy. That is why CACJ has been the defense voice in
the ongoing justice dialogue.
Lou was active in CACJ until the very end. He helped with the very latest
edition of the Contempt Manual. Best known for his years of work in San
Diego, Lou moved to San Francisco to take over Charlie Garry’s practice
after he died.
Just five years ago in December of 2010, CACJ awarded Lou its Lifetime
Achievement Award for all that he contributed to the defense of the accused
as the organization. We shall miss our friend and fellow warrior.
by Chuck Sevilla, CACJ Past President
Death Penalty Initiative 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