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Legal Resources

The California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ) is a nonprofit association of criminal defense attorneys and allied professionals established to improve the criminal justice system and provide continuing education of the criminal defense bar. CACJ is not a state agency – nor are there attorneys in our office to provide legal assistance, and we are not equipped to provide referrals on individual cases.

Depending on the nature of your case/problem or issue you may want to contact one of the following offices:

CACJ Member Search

Check our Find an Attorney resource, and view our member attorneys by name or area.

My Prop 47

On November 4, 2014, California voters passed Proposition 47, a law that changed certain low-level crimes from potential felonies to misdemeanors. The savings from reduced incarceration costs will be invested into drug and mental health treatment, programs for at-risk students in K-12 schools, and victim services.

Changing Your Felony

Individuals who are currently incarcerated for offenses committed in the state of California that are impacted by Proposition 47 can seek to be resentenced and released (this is known as resentencing).

Individuals who have been previously convicted of these felonies for crimes committed in the state of California can apply to have them changed on their record to misdemeanors (this is known as reclassification). Removal of a felony record can reduce immigration consequences and help remove barriers to jobs, housing and stability.

The CA State Bar Referral Program

For a recorded message that can provide you with phone numbers of such services in your county, call 866-44-CA-LAW (866-442-2529). If you are out of state, you can call 415-538-2250 to hear the same recorded message.

For referrals please visit

Law Help helps people of low and moderate incomes find free legal information and legal aid programs in their communities

Pro Bono Project

Mission: Since its founding in 1986, Pro Bono Project has been dedicated to representing clients of limited means and improving access to justice. Pro Bono Project utilizes talented and caring attorneys who volunteer their time and energy to work on full and limited scope pro bono cases in family law, domestic violence, and consumer law. “Justice for all” is not a vague concept, but our mission.

Prison Law Office

The Prison Law Office provides free legal services to California state prisoners and occasionally to California state parolees. They represent individual prisoners, engage in class action and other impact-litigation, and educate the public about prison conditions. They also provide self-help and informational materials to prisoners, including a habeas corpus manual, parolee rights manual and personal injury lawsuit packet, as well as material regarding administrative remedies, divorce, guard brutality, immigration, loss of personal property, plea bargains, release dates, workers’ compensation and work-time credits.

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Their publications include:
THE CALIFORNIA STATE PRISONERS HANDBOOK, THIRD EDITION (2001) & 2006 Supplement by Steven Fama, Heather MacKay, Michael R. Snedeker, James F. Smith and The Prison Law Office.

The California State Prisoners Handbook is a valuable resource for prisoners, and their attorneys and advocates. The Handbook discusses in detail the laws governing prisoner rights and the policies and practices of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The 1,000-page Third Edition is now joined by a 320-page 2006 Supplement. Includes court forms and model pleadings! 17 completely updated chapters cover topics such as: administrative appeals, rights of prisoners, classification and transfers, determinate sentences, time credits and release dates, life prisoners, disciplinary and segregation rules, medical and mental health care, detainers and extradition, early and temporary releases and special prison programs, parole, MDO and SVP commitments, workers compensation and other benefits, the non-citizen and the INS, writs of habeas corpus and mandate, federal civil rights and state law actions, and direct appeals of convictions.

Additional publications available from the Prison Law Office:

• State Habeas Corpus Manual (11/05)

• Parolee Rights Manual (2/05)

• How to file an Administrative Appeal (7/07)

• Requesting Investigations of Staff Misconduct and Conditions of Confinement Problems (12/06)

• Rights Regarding Prison Disciplinary Proceedings (4/03)

• Calculating Release Dates (3/05); and Credit Miscalculation Issues (3/08)

• Proposition 83/Jessica's Law Information for Sex Offenders (9/07)

• Blakely/Cunningham/Black/Sandoval Sentencing Decisions (7/07)

• Information on Out-of-State Transfers (7/07)

• HIV in Prison Manual (12/99)

• Federal Habeas Corpus Manual (11/03)

California Appellate Project

The California Appellate Project in San Francisco (CAP-SF) is a non-profit corporation established by the State Bar of California in 1983 as a legal resource center to implement the constitutional right to counsel for indigent persons facing execution. CAP serves the largest population of condemned individuals in the country and is funded primarily by a contract with the Judicial Council of California.

101 Second Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, California 94105
Telephone: 415.495.0500

CAP-SF assists private counsel appointed by the California Supreme Court to represent indigent defendants in capital cases challenging their convictions and sentences on direct appeal and through habeas corpus proceedings, and provides them with professional training and litigation resource materials. In addition, CAP-SF assists unrepresented death row inmates by collecting and preserving evidence for their post-conviction claims, and by providing advocacy as needed during the period of incarceration before counsel is appointed. CAP-SF also consults, at the request of the judiciary, on policy matters regarding indigent defense representation in capital cases.

Inmates seeking appellate assistance in non-capital appeals or habeas corpus should contact the Court of Appeal appointed counsel project serving the county in which the trial occurred, or the Office of the Federal Defender within the federal district serving that county, for federal habeas corpus proceedings.

The five projects which serve the six Appellate Districts are First District Appellate Project; California Appellate Project Los Angeles, Central California Appellate Program, Appellate Defenders Inc., and the Sixth District Appellate Project (Central California Appellate Program in Sacramento serves both the 3rd and 5th districts.) CAP’s office in Los Angeles (CAP-LA) contracts to serve the Second Appellate District for non-capital appeals only. CAP-LA does not deal with any capital cases, and neither do any of the other Court of Appeal projects. The CAP-SF office assists only in capital appeals.

First District Appellate Project
730 Harrison Street, Suite 201
San Francisco, CA 94107
Phone: (415) 495-3119
Central California Appellate Program (CCAP)
2407 J Street, Suite 301
Sacramento, CA 95816-4736
Phone: (916) 441-3792
California Appellate Project – LA
520 S. Grand Avenue, 4th Floor
Los Angeles CA 90071
Phone: (213) 243-0300
Appellate Defenders Inc.
555 West Beech St, Ste 300
San Diego CA 92101
Phone: (619) 696-0282
Sixth District Appellate Project
100 N. Winchester Blvd, Suite 310
Santa Clara CA 95050
Phone: (408) 241-6171

Office of the State Public Defender

The Office of the State Public Defender was created to represent indigent criminal defendants on appeal. Over the years, the mission of the agency has changed and now focuses its resources on post-conviction appellate representation in death penalty cases.

There are two offices in California:

Office of the State Public Defender
221 Main Street, 10th Floor
San Francisco CA 94105
Phone: (415) 904-5600
Office of the State Public Defender
801 K St., Suite 1100
Sacramento CA 95814
Phone: (916) 322-2676

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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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