"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

"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

"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

"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

"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 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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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 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

"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

"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

"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

“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

"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

"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

"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 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

"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

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

"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

"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


Just Released: Gov. Brown signs multiple CACJ supported bills

Governor Brown signs several criminal justice bills into law, including signing three CACJ sponsored bills:

AB 813 (Gonzalez) adds section 1473.7 to the Penal Code to create a vehicle for post-conviction relief in instances of ineffective assistance of counsel that has led to an adverse immigration consequence or where there is new evidence of actual innocence.

SB 1242 (Lara) makes PC 18.5 apply retroactively. In 2014, CACJ's co-sponsored legislation to protect citizens who have committed low-level misdemeanors from being deported by minimizing the maximum misdemeanor sentence from 365 to 364 days.

SB 1389 (Glazer), requires the electronic recording of custodial interrogations for persons suspected of homicide.

CACJ also supported a number of bills signed into law, including:

AB 2298 (Weber) requires the government to notify all Californians, minors as well as those 18 years of age and up, before adding their names to a shared gang database.

AB 2466 (Weber) codifies a recent court ruling on voter eligibility and eliminates residual ambiguity in state law regarding the impact a felony conviction has on voting.

AB 2765 (Weber) extends the time period, until November 4, 2022, for individuals to petition for resentencing of specified felonies pursuant to Proposition 47 of 2014.

SB 1134 (Leno), allows wrongfully convicted persons to prove their innocence when new evidence shows their conviction would likely never have occurred in the first place.

Governor Jerry Brown has 2 days until the end of the month to sign or veto the over 300 bills remaining on his desk.


Three days left for Gov. Brown to sign CACJ bill, we need your voice!

Help urge Gov. Brown to sign AB 1909, CACJ's felony for prosecutorial misconduct bill. If you have a Facebook and/or Twitter account, please follow the steps below to ensure Gov. Brown receives our message.

On Twitter, copy and paste below tweet(s) on your twitter account:

@JerryBrownGov Help stop epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct #SignAB1909 #JusticeOverConvictions

@JerryBrownGov Too many wrongful convictions in CA. 17 exonerations in CA since 2006. #SignAB1909 #Accountability

@JerryBrownGov Bad-acting prosecutors hold 2 much power, withholding evidence without accountability. #JusticeMatters #SignAB1909

@JerryBrownGov 4 days left to #SignAB1909! Help stop wrongful convictions by bad-acting prosecutors who withhold evidence.

On Facebook, copy and paste below post on your FB account, and make sure Gov. Brown is tagged (you may have to retype "@jerrybrown" to ensure he is tagged):

Governor @JerryBrown, help end prosecutorial misconduct and #SignAB1909. AB 1909 makes clear that California will not tolerate prosecutors who intentionally withhold evidence of innocence by providing oversight, accountability, and criminal consequences for those bad-actors. The time to act is now!


SF Gate: Adachi Wants Judge Removed in BART Case, Charging Bias

Jeff Adachi asks SF judge to recuse herself from a case after she prohibited defense attorneys from questioning jurors regarding Black Lives Matters. Adachi is personally defending the man accused of resisting arrest on the BART train in July, citing self-defense from the excessive force initiated by the police as his defense. Bystander cellphone footage shows officers continuing to assault the defendant once he was handcuffed and on the ground.

Read more here.


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.

CACJ's Sponsored or Co-Sponsored bills on the Governor's desk

AB 813, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, is a two-year bill that adds section 1473.7 to the Penal Code to create a vehicle for post-conviction relief in instances of ineffective assistance of counsel that has led to an adverse immigration consequence or where there is new evidence of actual innocence. This bill follows the recommendation of the California Supreme Court in People v. Kim (2009) 45 Cal.4th 1078.

AB 1909, authored by Assemblywoman Patty Lopez, aims to create a felony for prosecuting attorneys who intentionally and in bad faith withhold exculpatory evidence. Last year CACJ-sponsored AB 1328, authored by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, which added Penal Code 1424.5 to require a court to notify the state bar of a knowing and intentional Brady violation. However, even with this accountability tool, many bad-acting prosecutors fail to follow their constitutional duties and do not face any consequences for these intentional actions.

SB 1052, authored by Senator Ricardo Lara, adds section 625.6 to the Welfare and Institutions Code to require that juveniles have access to legal counsel before waiving their Miranda rights during a custodial interrogation.

SB 1242, authored by Senator Ricardo Lara, makes PC 18.5 apply retroactively. In 2014, CACJ's co-sponsored legislation SB 1310, also authored by Senator Lara, protects citizens who have committed low-level misdemeanors from being deported by minimizing the maximum misdemeanor sentence from 365 to 364 days. SB 1310 aligns state and federal law, but solely on a prospective basis.

SB 1389, authored by Senator Steven Glazer, requires the electronic recording of custodial interrogations for persons suspected of homicide. Currently, electronic recordings are required for persons under 18 years of age.

In the News: CACJ’s Felony for DA's Brady violation bill heads to Governor Brown for his signature

CACJ Secretary, Orange County defense attorney Jacqueline Goodman, comments on how AB 1909 can result in fewer wrongful convictions, "Gov. Brown has rightly recognized the profound harm that has resulted from mass incarceration over the last several years. But unlike with other felonies, if signed into law, AB 1909 would hold prosecutors accountable for intentionally withholding evidence of innocence in criminal trials, resulting in fewer wrongful convictions and less severe prison sentences."

CACJ’s sponsored bill AB 1909 focuses on prosecutorial misconduct by creating a felony for bad-acting prosecutors when they are found to be violating their Brady obligation. CACJ has made this a priority in the past few legislative sessions, including last year’s AB 1328 which was signed by Governor Brown and took effect January of this year. It requires judges to report individual prosecutors to the State Bar of California for a knowing and intentional Brady violation, which can lead to disbarment, and can remove a prosecutor, and the entire office, off a case.

Read more from the Los Alamito Patch


CACJ's bill on prosecutorial misconduct featured in the OC Register

In a recent OC Register article, “Prosecutors who falsify or withhold evidence could become felons under proposed state legislation,” CACJ’s long time legislative advocate, Ignacio Hernandez, comments about prosecutorial misconduct and the recent OC jail house informant scandal, “Orange County’s controversy reinforces the need to increase the penalties for prosecutorial misconduct...We’re seeing the problem in many parts of the state, in many counties.”

This year, CACJ is sponsoring AB 1909, authored by Assemblywoman Patty Lopez, which aims to create a felony for prosecuting attorneys who intentionally and in bad faith withhold exculpatory evidence. This bill is in response to the OC scandal and the growing epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.


CACJ's SB 1052 featured in The Chronicle of Social Change

CACJ’s Co-Sponsored SB-1052 Custodial interrogation: juveniles, by Senators Lara and Mitchell, was recently featured in The Chronicle of Social Change. SB 1052 adds section 625.6 to the Welfare and Institutions Code to require that juveniles have access to legal counsel before waiving their Miranda rights during a custodial interrogation. “You don’t let a 10-year-old make any legal decision, let alone one with potentially enormous consequences in waiving a constitutional right,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the UC Irvine School of Law, regarding the Joseph H. case that sparked the need for this legislation. Justice Goodwin Liu, in his dissenting opinion stated that the case, “raises an important legal issue that likely affects hundreds of children each year: whether and, if so, how the concept of a voluntary, knowing, and intelligent Miranda waiver can be meaningfully applied to a child as young as 10 years old.” He also wrote that the “Legislature may wish to take up this issue in light of this court’s decision not to do so here.”

Read more here.


Current Issue is now on-line!

Current Legislation

| AB 813 | AB 1909 | AB 2655 |
| SB 1052 | SB 1202 |
| SB 1242 | SB 1389 |

Justice That Works 2016

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DUI Rules of the Road XIX Seminar
October 29, 2016
Renaissance Hotel
Palm Springs, CA

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

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