Membership Benefits


Why you should be a part of CACJ in 2020 and beyond

CACJ is not just about MCLE’s – we are about fighting for JUSTICE. (it’s in our name)

CACJ is the California association of criminal defense lawyers, and an affiliate of NACDL. As a member you will open up communication with more than 1,000 of your professional colleagues and peers, have access to an extensive brief bank and responsive listserv, as well as receive discounts on our seminars and webinars for your MCLE credits.

In the past, memberships were all tied to a CACJ “membership year” from July 1 to June 30. Going forward each member will have a full year based on the date the annual dues were paid – if you sign up in December you are a member to the next December. You will still get email notification to remind you of your renewal date. (Better yet, sign up for auto-pay and never hassle with dues again!)

New membership categories will appear as “Attorney”, “Indigent Defender”, and “Associate”. Within the attorney and indigent categories you will be automatically given the discount price for new lawyers (up to 5 years in practice) based on your Bar #. The Associate category includes students, investigators, professors and friends of CACJ.

CACJ is about more than just MCLE’s. We are a voice – your voice – in the fight for social justice. In light of the current political climate, it is vital that criminal defense attorneys organize and harness our power. CACJ speaks up and fights for justice -- we are not afraid to challenge local, county, state or national leaders.

In the words of 2015 CACJ President Scott Sugarman:

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 our 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.

CACJ Legislative Accomplishments

In the past five years CACJ has officially opposed or supported more than 500 bills in Sacramento, and sponsored dozens more.

Prosecutorial Misconduct | Police Misconduct | Crim Law/Immigration | Wrongfully Accused | Drug Transportation | Rap Sheets | Bail Reform | Amicus Briefs

Prosecutorial Misconduct:

CACJ has been at the forefront of fighting against prosecutorial misconduct.

CACJ, with Barry Scheck and the Innocence Project, launched a campaign to rewrite the State Bar ethical rules for prosecutors. We were the first to reach out to the California Supreme Court to initiate a review of the issue. After a long administrative process, a new rule was adopted.

CACJ sponsored two bills signed into law on prosecutorial misconduct. Under the first, judges are required to report to the State Bar prosecutors who have intentionally withheld evidence in a case. The legislation makes clear that both an individual prosecutor and an entire DA’s office can be disqualified from handling a case due to Brady violations. This was a contentious issue in the recent Orange County scandal.

CACJ also sponsored AB 1909 making it a FELONY for a prosecutor to intentionally withhold exculpatory evidence. This is a first-of-its-kind law that went into effect in 2017.

Crim Law/Immigration

CACJ led the fight to reduce all maximum 1-year misdemeanors to 1 year minus 1 day – this change ends the practice of immigration courts from treating these offenses as felonies for purposes of deportation proceedings.

CACJ joined a coalition of immigrant rights organizations to successfully pursue legislation that creates a statutory motion to pursue post-conviction withdrawal of a guilty or no contest
plea. This motion would be available to individuals who are in immigration proceedings in part based upon a prior plea.

Crim Law/Immigration

CACJ led the fight to reduce all maximum 1-year misdemeanors to 1 year minus 1 day – this change ends the practice of immigration courts from treating these offenses as felonies for purposes of deportation proceedings.

CACJ joined a coalition of immigrant rights organizations to successfully pursue legislation that creates a statutory motion to pursue post-conviction withdrawal of a guilty or no contest
plea. This motion would be available to individuals who are in immigration proceedings in part based upon a prior plea.

Wrongfully Accused

CACJ joined with another organization to co-host legislative briefings on wrongful convictions. Several exonerees were invited to speak to legislators and their staff about their cases. CACJ also successfully co-sponsored bill SB 1050 to provide transitional services for exonerees, including the provision of gate money, automatic enrollment into Medi-Cal, and access to job training.

Drug Transportation

CACJ put an end to the long-standing practice of prosecutors filing drug transportation charges against individuals who are in possession of narcotics for personal use but who happen to be in transit. The bill, AB 721, which was signed into law, now prohibits individuals who are in possession for personal use from being charged/convicted of drug transportation.

Rap Sheets

Many defense attorneys are denied immediate access to rap sheets of their clients or key witnesses. CACJ sponsored legislation, AB 2133, to rewrite California law specifically granting defense attorneys, including juvenile and appellate counsel, access to the DOJ rap sheet. This bill takes effect January 2019.

Bail Reform

CACJ supported the initial SB 10 legislation to eradicate unaffordable cash bail. CACJ was the first organization to officially oppose the amendments made to SB 10 that allows a judge to utilize “preventive detention” to deny release of our clients. CACJ actively lobbied legislators against this provision and took an “oppose unless amended” position. CACJ was the only criminal defense attorney organization to take an official stand against this provision.

Amicus Brief

McDonough v. Smith: Plaintiff-Appellant brought a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim alleging that his right to due process was violated because fabricated evidence was used against him in a state criminal proceeding. CACJ filed an amicus brief arguing that the Second District court decision forces criminal defendants to pursue unripe claims which encourages “piecemeal litigation” and undermines the defendant’s Fifth Amendment privilege and exposes the basis of the defense to the prosecution.

Chandler v. Mississippi: Joey Montrell Chandler was convicted for the murder of his cousin and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Upon the time of the murder, Chandler was seventeen years, six months and thirteen days old. CACJ filed an amicus brief arguing the sentence should be reviewed and reversed due to the juvenile age at the time the crime was committed. CACJ argued courts should be required to find whether a juvenile is irreparably corrupt before imposing this sentence to reduce the number of cases where life without parole is potentially applicable and to bring uniformity to the sentencing.

Facebook, Inc. v. Superior Court: Lance Touchstone was charged with attempted murder of a victim. Touchstone believed nonpublic content on the victim’s Facebook page might provide helpful evidence for trial and served Facebook with a subpoena for the subscriber records and contents of the Facebook account. Facebook filed a motion to quash the subpoena on the ground the Stored Communications Act (SCA) prohibited this disclosure. CACJ argued this information may need to be provided to preserve the fundamental fairness of trials, provide clarity in how SCA is applied and expand People v. Facebook (Hunter) to avoid prejudicial impact when information under the SCA has not been obtained by the prosecution.

Join Us for Our Seminars


46th Annual Criminal Defense Seminar

December 6 & 7, 2019 in San Francisco, CA
This highly attended seminar is held in San Francisco and offers practitioners and allied professionals from throughout the state the very best practice tips from the masters.


CACJ/CPDA Capital Case Defense Seminar

February 14-16, 2020 in San Diego, CA
Each year CACJ and CPDA co-sponsor the Capital Case Defense Seminar. The four-day program includes lectures, plenary sessions, and specialized workshops.


NACDL's Making Sense of Science Seminar

April 2-4, 2020 in Las Vegas, NV
Don't miss this great opportunity for a no-nonsense, national networking CLE featuring the leading faculty in their respective fields. This two-day event is produced by NACDL, in partnership with CACJ.


Master of Cross Examination: Larry Pozner

Saturday May 2nd 2020 in San Francisco, CA &
Sunday May 3rd, 2020 in San Diego, CA

A limited engagement seminar featuring Larry Pozner in an all-day seminar focused on cross examination.


DUI Rules of the Road

Fall 2020 in Palm Springs, CA
CACJ's highly popular DUI series provides the latest in legal and tactical updates for DUI practitioners.


Appellate Practice Seminar

Fall 2020 in San Francisco, CA
CACJ offers a unique one-day Appellate Practice Seminar tailored to addressing timely issues in appellate law and practice.


OnLine MCLE When YOU Need It

CACJ conducts on-line webinar trainings which offer CLE credits; usually 60-90 minute in length, our webinars provide the opportunity to get the training you need on topical issues without having to leave your office.

We offer both MCLE- Self Study and MCLE- participatory credits

  • MCLE Self Study is open to all CACJ Members, but aimed at the NLD members. The series is free and offers 5 units of MCLE
  • MCLE On Demand is open to CACJ members and non-members, however members receive a discount on these trainings. The MCLE counts as "live" or "participatory” MCLE credit.

NEW- CACJ's Brief Bank

Whether you are looking for a template for a suppression motion, citations to cases on sentencing issues, or challenges to excessive bail, you can find inspiration and examples here. We all stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before - and now your access to the work of your colleagues in CACJ has moved into the 21st century.

Learn more here


Topics include:
  • Search and Seizure Motions
  • Motion to Disclose Informer Identity
  • Other Pretrial Motions
  • Right to Speedy Trial
  • Continuances
  • Disqualification of Judge
  • Lineups and Identification
  • Confessions and Admissions
  • Prior Convictions and Uncharged Misconduct
  • Dismissal and Civil Compromise
  • Pleas and Settlement
  • Diversion and Deferred Entry of Judgment
  • Trial by Court or Jury
  • Jury Selection
  • Presentation of Case; Opening and Argument
  • Trial Motions and In Limine Motions
  • Jury Instructions
  • Jury Deliberations and Verdict
  • Motions for New Trial
  • Misconduct - Prosecutorial, Judicial and Juries
  • Pronouncing Judgment
  • Misdemeanor Sentencing
  • Felony Sentencing
  • Probation and Mandatory Supervision
  • Work Furlough and Alternative Sentences
  • Victim Restitution
  • After Judgment - Appeal and Relief from Consequences
  • Writs in California
  • Misdemeanor Appeals
  • Felony Appeals
  • Federal Habeas Review
  • Revoking Probation and Mandatory Supervision
  • Parole Hearings
  • Forensic Mental Health; Law and Procedure
  • Immunity for Testimony
  • Extradition
  • Advising Witnesses
  • Representing Non-Citizens
  • Death Penalty Cases
  • Driving Under the Influence
  • Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings
  • Asset Forfeiture
  • Contempt

Communicate with Fellow Members

CACJ Offers secure, instant access to your fellow members at your fingertips. Tips, advice, questions, and discussions can happen among members via your personal email account without any separate logins or passwords to remember. Specialized groups for DUI, Family Law, Immigration and more allow you to reach the members you need to, and keeps emails received by others to a minimum.

Sign up for the CACJ Listserv here

Keeping You Informed

  • CACJ Flash!Nuggets are a weekly newsletter containing practice tips, case analyses, and other messages concerning important legal developments of general interest to the membership.
  • CACJ Legislative Update is a weekly email services that CACJ members receive, containing the latest updates from Hernandez Strategy.
  • CACJ Weekly Update  is an email service that provides CACJ members and subscribers with legal information and membership news.
  • CACJ Website has been updated and newly launched, featuring members-only resources such as a Brief Bank and so much more for the practitioner!
  • CACJ Membership Directory is available on-line for easy access to current contact information for our membership and the public.

Publications With You in Mind

  • Forum Magazine: CACJ members receive a complimentary subscription to CACJ's FORUM. A bold and insightful quarterly magazine that provides provocative and practical articles on criminal law and procedure as well as courtroom humor and useful tips and updates. FORUM will keep you briefed on criminal justice trends, trial tactics, search and seizure, the right to counsel, due process, capital defense, DUI defense and more!
  • Death Penalty Defense Manual: CACJ co-publishes the Death Penalty Defense Manual with the California Public Defenders Association (CPDA). The DPDM is designed to provide essential assistance, from mitigating factors to useful motions, to attorneys and others involved in capital cases, and is updated annually.

Contempt Defense Hotline

CACJ is proud to present our new Member HOTLINE. Emergency Assistance, including Contempt of Court; connect to a team of experts if you encounter an urgent need for assistance in dealing with a court emergency, including being threatened with or being held in contempt.

New Lawyers Division

The NLD Committee was established for lawyers, paralegals, and investigators in their first 5 years of practice. This committee provides resources to successfully transition from law school to practice through a community of members who rely on each other and the expertise of the more seasoned attorneys in CACJ through networking, mentorships, expertise, resources and training seminars and webinars.

Benefits include

  • Discounted Seminar Tuition, and free on-line CLE
  • Discounted Membership Rates
  • Mentorship from regional representatives
  • Access to exclusive networking events
  • Access to CACJ's professional networking channels throughout the state
  • Personal emergency advice offered by seasoned experts through the CACJ HOTLINE
  • One-on-one guidance provided by regional representatives and our Board of Governors
  • NLD Scholarships
  • Internships with seasoned attorneys for school credit (if possible) and professional experience
  • Hands on experience working with policy formation and our other committees

Job Postings

Law students and new attorneys ware welcomed into CACJ by seasoned professionals, providing the opportunity to learn from the best, in an environment free of judgment!


  • Joyce O. Yoshioka Scholarship: Joyce Yoshioka, former member of CACJ's Board of Governors and outstanding criminal defense attorney, died on June 28, 1990, at the age of 42, after a three-year battle with cancer. Joyce served as Ventura County's Chief Deputy Public Defender for six years and before that, worked for the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office as a trial lawyer and supervisor. As a tribute to her career dedicated to helping others, CACJ has established through the CACJ Foundation the Joyce O. Yoshioka Scholarship Fund. Each year, attorneys, paralegals, law students or investigators involved in criminal defense work are awarded full tuition grants to the following CACJ programs. Tuition grants awarded for 2013 are the 2014 CACJ/CPDA Capital Case Defense Seminar, DUI Rules of the Road Seminar, Appellate Practice Seminar and the Annual Fall Criminal Defense Seminar. Scholarships are available to CACJ members only and are not transferable to third parties or to future programs.
  • Jerry Kenkel Memorial Scholarships: Established on behalf of Jerry J. Kenkel, Past President of CACJ, these Scholarships Provide the Opportunity for Pre-Law Students from the California State University, Chico, to Attend CACJ's Annual Fall Criminal Defense Seminar to See Things from the Defense Perspective.

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California Attorneys for Criminal Justice members are eligible to receive a 10% discount on Clio products. Sign up today at

CA Criminal Law Reporter is offering all prospective CACJ Members a 6 month free subscription as an inducement to join CACJ. For Current CACJ members, a discount is also being offered. Please contact Pat Ford for more information, (800) 448 - 3991.

CACJ Members receive a 15% off NACDL’s nationally-acclaimed CLE and high-profile speakers with the added benefit, convenience, and flexibility of self-study video DVDs or Audio CD-Roms.


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Connect With Us!

Our on-line communities bring CACJ professionals together


Membership Pricing

Our on-line communities bring CACJ professionals together

Member Categories-

Life Member- Life Member dues help to ensure that CACJ can continue to maintain our strong legislative program, present outstanding seminars, produce superior publications for criminal defense team members and educate the public about the importance of constitutional protections.

Patron - Patrons provide an extra financial cushion for CACJ, guaranteeing that we can continue to meet the rising cost of preserving justice in an era of ever-increasing assaults on the rights of the accused.

Sustaining Member- CACJ Sustaining member contributions support the goals of CACJ: protection of individual liberties; opposition to arbitrariness and brutality in the criminal justice system, support instead for programs that are reasonable and decent; and the development of an organization of criminal defense practitioners uniquely suited to address these issues strongly and persuasively in the legislature and the courts.

Private Practice

Appellate Attorney

  Indigent Defender

Practicing 5+ years

Practicing 5+ years

Practicing 5+ years

Practicing 3-5 years

Practicing 3-5 years

Practicing 3-5 years

Practicing 0-2 years

Practicing 0-2 years

Practicing 0-2 years

Law Students- As a member of our NLD group, the law student is provided an excellent vehicle to transition from law school to practice by creating a network of professionals with a common vision promoting criminal justice at all stages.

Associate- Associate members are for criminal justice professionals who support the goals of CACJ but do not fall into the other categories of membership; such as paralegals and law clerks. This also includes our affiliates and service providers.

Law Professor- For those who are legal educators and leaders in legal research and analysis. Special membership gives educational opportunities and unique opportunities to showcase books and law journal articles.

Friend of CACJ- Friends of CACJ are those individuals who have been personally affected the by the criminal justice system and who support CACJ’s in its efforts to maintain a fair criminal justice system in our state.

Investigators/Experts- CACJ recognizes the important role that investigators play in the practice of criminal law in the state of California, we created a membership level specifically for these professionals who support the practice of criminal defense.

Membership Category


Life Member $5,000
Patron Member $600
Sustaining Member $300

Membership Category

Years of Practice


Private Practice Attorney Over 5 years $195
3-5 years $75
0-2 years $50
Indigent Defender Over 5 years $140
3-5 years $75
0-2 years $50
Appellate Attorney Over 5 years $140
3-5 years $75
0-2 years $50
Law Professor $140
Law Student $10
Associate Member $90
Investigator/Expert $90
Friend of CACJ $70


Affiliates & Affinity Partners