CACJ 2021 Board of Governors Nominees

Nominations For Board Of Governors And Officers

The outstanding attorneys listed below are the candidates for vacancies on the Board of Governors and for Officers. You will receive your electronic ballot via email in early October.

Breaking with recent tradition we have a contested election for Secretary, with two excellent candidates in Emily Dahm and David Briggs. Emily and David are also on the list of nominees for the Board, as the one not elected Secretary hopes to remain on the Board for a new three-year term.

We also have more candidates for the Board of Governors than the number of seats available. There are ten seats open, so you can vote for up to ten candidates. The ten with the most votes will serve as Governors from 2021-2023.

Nominations by Petition: Any member wanting to be elected to the Board who has not been placed on the ballot by the nominating committee can submit a petition signed by 15 members to be added to the ballot. Petitions must be received in the CACJ office by September 15.

 

Board of Governors - Vice President Nominee



Current BOG Officer

n my time on the Board of Governors, I’ve been deeply impressed and equally inspired by the work done by our organization. CACJ’s role is absolutely critical in helping both defendants and defense attorneys alike in our missions for justice. Enhancing and expanding the way we help our members in their daily practice is a fundamentally important and should be a primary goal for further development of our organization, as well as expanding our membership base. I’m proud of our organization, and am honored and thankful to be nominated for Vice-President so I can help continue the success of CACJ.

Board of Governors - Treasurer Nominee



Current BOG Officer

I originally joined CACJ as a law student, and have been a member ever since. Immediately upon joining the organization and attending the Fall Seminar, I found a large group of incredible attorneys dedicated not only zealous advocacy for their clients, but also committed to making a difference in criminal justice through legislative reform. I have been a board member for the last six years. During this time, I have served on the Mock Trial Committee, as a chair of the Membership and New Lawyers Division, and most recently as chair of the Forum magazine. I am humbly honored to be nominated to Treasurer where I can continue to give back to this phenomenal organization. If elected to Secretary, I will continue to work for and with CACJ in advocating for criminal justice reform and in fostering stronger legal advocates for the accused.

Board of Governors - Secretary Nominees



Previous BOG Member

CACJ inspires, educates, and provides a collective voice for a diverse group of attorneys who share a commitment to righting the wrongs in our criminal law enforcement system. I want to see CACJ continue its great work, and I want to see new initiatives - to counter judicial bias, and to improve the funding and pay structure for appointed counsel representing indigent defendants. I have represented defendants in criminal cases since 1981, first as a Deputy Public Defender and, for 35 years, in private practice. I am co-Chair of the CACJ Legislative Committee and have worked on this committee since 2011.

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Current BOG Member

I am honored to be nominated for the CACJ Board. CACJ is a vital organization for not only practitioners and our clients, but for the criminal justice system itself. Beyond providing support and training for the defense bar, CACJ serves as a strong, unified voice for the rights of the accused in the Legislature. We need strong advocates both inside and outside the courtroom to keep the system honest, fair, and laser-focused on justice. If selected, I look forward to working with the Board, the Officers, and CACJ members to create a more perfect justice system for all.

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Board of Governors - Members Nominees



Previous BOG Member

Elias Batchelder currently works for the Office of the State Public Defender (OSPD) in Oakland, representing prisoners on California's death row in their direct appeals to the California Supreme Court. Both at OSPD and as a former attorney at the Habeas Corpus Resource Center, he has also represented California inmates in capital and non-capital habeas proceedings. Mr. Batchelder has worked extensively on amicus briefing and impact litigation, including the administrative attacks on California's lethal injection protocols and on Chapter 154 of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. He has taught seminars on the death penalty at UC Berkeley Law School and UC Hastings, College of Law, and regularly presents trainings on various aspects of appellate law, particularly issues concerning the California Constitution. Mr. Batchelder is currently the co-chair of the CACJ Legislative Committee.


My name is Tiffiny Blacknell and I am a graduate of USC Law School. I have been a Deputy Public Defender in Los Angeles for over 17 years. In my career I have completed over 100 misdemeanor trials, felony trials and juvenile adjudications. In December 2019, I was appointed to be the Recruitment Coordinator for the Los Angeles Public Defenders Office. Through my work in the community and in law schools across the country, I encourage, train and hire diverse college students, law students and lawyers to join this noble practice of criminal defense in California. I am excited about the opportunity to join the CACJ Board to further the mission of building the membership, driving legislative criminal justice reform and providing skilled and zealous representation of those children and adults accused in criminal cases throughout this state.


Previous BOG Member

CACJ inspires, educates, and provides a collective voice for a diverse group of attorneys who share a commitment to righting the wrongs in our criminal law enforcement system. I want to see CACJ continue its great work, and I want to see new initiatives - to counter judicial bias, and to improve the funding and pay structure for appointed counsel representing indigent defendants. I have represented defendants in criminal cases since 1981, first as a Deputy Public Defender and, for 35 years, in private practice. I am co-Chair of the CACJ Legislative Committee and have worked on this committee since 2011.


I am grateful and honored for CACJ’s nomination to the Board of Governors and I welcome the opportunity to make a difference for defenders and our clients. I am based in Chico, CA and have been practicing for over 14 years. After being a prosecutor for ten years, I began private practice and was relief counsel for public defender Jodea Foster, former CACJ board member. I am currently a PD in Tehama County, a member of the CACJ Membership Committee, and serve as the President of the Butte County Bar Association and founder of BCBA’s Racial and Social Justice Committee to champion equal access to justice.


Current BOG Member eligible to serve a 2nd Term

Elena D’Agustino has been with the Solano County Public Defender since 1998, and appointed Public Defender in 2019. She received a BS in Mathematics from MIT and JD from Fordham Law School. Ms. D’Agustino has handled all kinds of criminal cases ranging from traffic to death penalty, with a meticulous and tenacious litigation practice. She is a committed advocate for her individual clients, to improve the system as a whole, and to developing a new generation of lawyers. She would be honored to continue on the CACJ board and contribute to the larger efforts to fight against injustice.


Current BOG Member eligible to serve a 2nd Term

I am honored to be nominated for the CACJ Board. CACJ is a vital organization for not only practitioners and our clients, but for the criminal justice system itself. Beyond providing support and training for the defense bar, CACJ serves as a strong, unified voice for the rights of the accused in the Legislature. We need strong advocates both inside and outside the courtroom to keep the system honest, fair, and laser-focused on justice. If selected, I look forward to working with the Board, the Officers, and CACJ members to create a more perfect justice system for all.


Previous BOG Member

I have been an active member of CACJ since receiving a membership as a gift for my law school graduation twenty years ago. I am a State Bar Certified Criminal Law Specialist, a law professor and the former Chair of the Burbank Police Commission. I also was the co-founder of the CACJ mock trial competition. I believe in increasing CACJ’s reach to attorneys, increasing membership, and furthering our marketing throughout the state.


Previous BOG Member

I understand there is great work for us to do as an advocate for justice and CACJ is an excellent platform with a collection of defense lawyers to improve our justice system statewide. I have been a Public Defender in Santa Barbara and now in Santa Clara. I also had my own private practice based in Santa Clara County, appearing in courts throughout the Bay Area. I have dedicated many years advocating for the mentally ill, efforts to decriminalize and disentangle the mentally ill from criminal prosecutions. If elected I would work on legislative projects to create new laws as warriors of justice to improve the practice for all of us to do our best work.


Previous BOG Member

California Attorneys for Criminal Justice is the most prestigious state-wide criminal defense organization in the country. I have been involved with CACJ for most of my 22 years as a criminal defense attorney. I have seen the dramatic difference the CACJ Legislation Committee has made on the landscape of California Criminal Law and Procedure. I’ve personally been engaged in the activities of the Death Penalty Committee and seen its influence in death penalty practice throughout the state.

I am constant supporter of CACJ. I am seeking your vote to put me on the CACJ Board of Governors.


Current BOG Member eligible to serve a 2nd Term

I started my career as a Public Defender in the South Bronx of New York. While I ran my own practice for 25 or so years, I was an active member of CACJ and CPDA where I have been involved in the annual Monterey DUI Conference for nearly 20 years. During my time on the Board of CACJ I have been involved in seminar production and most things DUI. It is this variety of experience, in private practice and governmental work, which makes me feel I can be a valuable asset to CACJ. To that end I ask for your support.


I am a one trick pony when it comes to law: criminal defense. From Brooklyn Defender Services (2006-2015) to Latimer & Kenkel (2015-now), I am a defender through and through. Sometimes I wonder about my career choice: when the jury is out and I question my trial decisions, or when I feel the squeeze of splitting hours between my client and my child. But then I remember the rewards. CACJ embodies one of the best rewards of this work: camaraderie. I believe in strength in numbers. I believe that the better organized we defense lawyers are, the more effective we are. I believe the work we do to defend individuals is also the work of dismantling the “criminal justice” system of oppression, and I believe that we need one another to do it.


Jeffrey L. Mendelman is a criminal defense and civil rights attorney based in San Francisco. He learned his craft from legendary lawyers Amy F. Morton and Daniel J. Russo. He is passionate about changing the law to benefit the criminally accused and the victims of police violence. An active CACJ member since 2015, he seeks to join CACJ's board to combine his passion with CACJ's mission. He has successfully sued the DA under the CPRA for failing to disclose their charging guidelines. He seeks to spread this idea within CACJ so that prosecutors are held accountable for their charging decisions.


I have been a criminal defense attorney since 1991, practicing mainly in San Mateo and San Francisco counties. I have tried around 80 jury trials, including a trial last month in Oakland, in which we wore masks during the proceedings. I believe I would bring a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the Board. I have been a CACJ member since the beginning of my career, and have benefited greatly from the substantive programs and the warm camaraderie from fellow defenders. If elected to the Board, I plan to be very active and devote significant time and resources to achieving the goals of CACJ.


I realized criminal defense was my calling in law school wherein my professor horrified the class with stories of inexcusable government overreach and general misconduct by prosecutors and police. My first job as a licensed attorney in 2007 positioned me with nationally recognized criminal defense attorneys at Rothschild Wishek & Sands. Their tireless dedication to the profession and their leadership within CACJ further galvanized my resolve to continue defending the accused. My path has tracked toward expertise in technical weapons violations which has allowed me to serve both as defense counsel and a subject matter expert for other attorneys. I am honored to have the opportunity to further the goals of CACJ and improve conditions for the accused in California.


Current BOG Member eligible to serve a 2nd Term

Please consider me for another term on the Board. I have dedicated my career to helping individuals accused of crimes in Southern California. Part of my philosophy and goal in life is not only to help my clients, but to also help other lawyers to help themselves and their clients. I believe that a strong and healthy defense bar is imperative to getting justice. Justice must be fought for and it must be fought for both one client at a time and as a group. CACJ stands as a unified front to injustice.


Charles Shivers graduated from California Western School of Law in 2005. After law school he started his legal career in San Diego’s Alternate Public Defender's Office. He continued his career in the Fresno Public Defender office, where he handled general misdemeanor and felony cases. In 2011, he moved to Monterey where he worked for the Monterey County Public Defender office. In April of 2017 Mr. Shivers opened up his private practice in Salinas, CA where he is currently taking criminal cases in Monterey County as well as the surrounding counties.


I am a Writs and Appeals Attorney, and one of three founding attorneys of the Independent Juvenile Defender Program of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (“IJDP”), which supervises and uplifts the Los Angeles County juvenile conflict panel. In addition to appellate work, I am engaged in training, mentoring and policy and legislative work, which I would like to continue to do for CACJ. I have also served as a federal and a county public defender, as well as an ACLU fellow, attorney volunteer, and board member. I currently serve on the Advisory Board of the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center.


I have devoted my career to criminal justice, interning in law school at the Yolo and Sacramento County Public Defender’s Offices and working since 2010 for the Orange County Public Defender’s Office. As a Public Defender, I often see judges and prosecutors resist the rising tide to reform our criminal justice system by refusing to utilize new diversion programs, or by refusing to implement new sentencing reforms. As a member of the CACJ Board of Governors, I will continue to promote and advance CACJ’s work in legislation and in evidence-based reforms to our system that will benefit our clients and the public.


Current BOG Member eligible to serve a 2nd Term

Over many years, I have benefited from CACJ’s superb programs and I am honored to serve on its Board of Directors. It is like me paying it forward to the outstanding future defense bar that I would like to contribute to, especially to the future lawyers of color. I would like to see more programs where young lawyers can be mentored on a one on one basis and we should create a bridge between the criminal defense bar and our religious brothers and sisters through neighborhood forums in our churches where we should discuss and educate them on issues and problems like exclusion of jurors of color from jury service in many cases. There is lots work to be done and I want to do my part.

















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