Author: Federal Public Defender, CDCA

Please feel free to contact Supervising DFPD for Collaborative Courts Deputy Raul Ayala (Raul_Ayala@fd.org), Deputy Federal Public Defenders Neha Christerna (Neha_Christerna@fd.org) and David Wasserman (David_Wasserman@fd.org), or STAR Program FPD paralegal Joyce Delaney (Joyce_Delaney@fd.org)...

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Attorney Seema Ahmad with the FPD-CDCA (also Chair on the Muslim Public Affairs Council Board of Directors) talks about using our platforms as a megaphone and working together to become the best for a country filled with people from all walks of life...

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A federal jury on December 14, 2016 found that our client, a 42-year old homeless man, was not guilty of assaulting security guards at a Social Security Office in Los Angeles.  The verdict came after video footage at trial revealed that our client did not attack the officers first.  Security guards testified that our client spit at them, and approached them first with an assaultive stance.  The guards also alleged part of the assault occurred after they took our client down to the ground, because […]..

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Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Shaw v. United States.  Deputy Federal Public Defender Koren Bell argued this case before the Supreme Court on October 4, 2016.  The Supreme Court vacated the Ninth Circuit’s judgment which had upheld Shaw’s conviction and sent the case back to the Ninth Circuit to consider whether the jury instructions were lawful. The Court agreed with our argument that the bank fraud requires the intent to deprive the bank of something of value. It is not enough–as […]..

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In 2014, the Department of Justice, under the Obama Administration, announced the Clemency Initiative, which invited petitions for commutation of sentence from nonviolent offenders who were convicted of drug offenses.  In August 2016, Deputy Federal Public Defender Andre J. Townsend successfully secured a grant of clemency for his client, Keldren Joshua.  Mr. Joshua was a low-level, non-violent drug offender who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute 500 grams of methamphetamine.  Pursuant to President Obama’s grant of his clemency petition, Joshua […]..

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Cases Esquivel-Quintana v. Lynch, Case No. 16-54 (Oct. 28, 2016): The Supreme Court granted review to address this question: “Whether a conviction under one of the seven state statutes criminalizing consensual sexual intercourse between a 21-year-old and someone almost 18 constitutes an ‘aggravated felony’ of ‘sexual abuse of a minor’ under 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(43)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act – and therefore constitutes grounds for mandatory removal.” Rios-Vizcarra v. Wigen, __ Fed.Appx. __, 2016 WL 6156049 (9th Cir. Oct. 24, 2016): The Court upheld […]..

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On October 27, 2016, Federal Public Defender Hilary Potashner and other attorneys and staff from the FPD-CDCA visited Dorsey High School in Los Angeles to help coach students participating in the Constitutional Rights Foundation Mock Trial Program.  This year’s Mock Trial Program case, People v. Awbrey, involved a restaurant owner accused of the human trafficking and false imprisonment of an immigrant laborer.  The FPD-CDCA team helped students practice and refine their motions argument, opening and closing statements, and witness examinations in advance of the competition.  […]..

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On October 21, 2016, Rose Angulo and Marta VanLandingham, attorneys with the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Central District of California, were invited to visit the mock trial team at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, Los Angeles.  The team, coached by 8th grade Humanities teacher Kristine Garcia, was already strong in arguing and reasoning skills, but wanted assistance in the structure of the trial, the use of evidence, and their overall delivery. Rose and Marta were extremely impressed by the students, who may have been […]..

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Cases Lynch v. Dimaya, Case No. 15-1498 (Sept. 29, 2016): The Supreme Court granted review to address this question: “Whether 18 U.S.C. §16(b), as incorporated into the Immigration and Nationality Act’s provisions governing an alien’s removal from the United States, is unconstitutionally vague.” United States v. Martinez-Lopez, Case No. 14-50014 (9th Cir. Sept. 26, 2016): The Court ordered rehearing en banc in this illegal-reentry case to apply the categorical approach to California Health & Safety Code §11352. The case presents two issues: (1) whether the […]..

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Staff at the FPD-CDCA visited a classroom at the Alliance Judy Ivie Burton Technology Academy High School in Los Angeles on Monday, October 17, 2016. The focus of the presentation was capital cases. Our staff did a role play activity in which students had to situate themselves in the middle of a death penalty case and consider multiple perspectives on this important issue. Students had to take ownership of their position and defend it. The activity segued into a discussion about the importance of defending […]..

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