Laurel Arroyo is a juvenile defender. Until recently, she worked as a public defender for Alameda County Public Defender’s office, where she has worked for 15 years in both juvenile and adult courts. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Ms. Arroyo taught high school in Alameda County’s juvenile court schools and co-founded a school for expelled probation youth. She is an activist in several movements: to reform and reduce the use of GPS/ Electronic Monitoring in juvenile court, to prevent the criminalization of disability, to prevent out-of-home placement in congregate care, and to raise the age of juvenile court to 21. She is a certified JTIP trainer and has presented at statewide and nationwide conferences through PJDC and NJDC. Ms. Arroyo received her undergraduate degree from Brown University, and holds a J.D. from University of San Francisco Law School.
Meredith Desautels is a staff attorney at the Youth Law Center. Her work focuses on ending the criminalization of childhood and replacing youth incarceration with positive, developmentally-appropriate supports that are rooted in family and community. In partnership with the Young Women’s Freedom Center, Ms. Desautel’s work is grounded in movement-based legal strategies that seek to build power within directly impacted families and communities. Prior to joining the Youth Law Center, Ms. Desautel was a Leading Edge Fellow funded by the Rosenberg Foundation. As a Leading Edge Fellow, she worked at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office and Bay Area Legal Aid, representing young people impacted by the juvenile delinquency system. Prior to that, she was a Skadden Fellow and staff attorney at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, and she served as a law clerk to the Honorable John T. Noonan on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Ms. Desautel received her J.D. from U.C. Berkeley School of Law, and her B.A. from Princeton University.
Ron Rayes is the Managing Attorney of Juvenile Division of the Private Defender Program in San Mateo County. Prior to assuming his current role, he practiced criminal and juvenile defense in both San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. He is a graduate of Golden Gate University School of Law. Ron is a Member of the Advisory Board of the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center.
Since 1998, Mr. Braucher has been a staff attorney at the First District Appellate Project in Oakland, where he represents indigent clients in juvenile and adult matters on appeal. He also trains panel attorneys who are new to appellate practice. In addition to serving on the PJDC Board, he has been an active member of the organization’s Amicus Committee since its inception in 2006, moderating the committee’s monthly teleconferences and writing amicus briefs and training materials. He was appellate counsel in In re Elias V. (2015) 237 Cal.App.4th 568, a seminal juvenile confession case where the Court of Appeal held that the Reid Techniques commonly used by law enforcement rendered Elias’ confession involuntary. Mr. Braucher has also been a leader in devising juvenile trainings for appellate attorneys handling delinquency appeals and is an expert in Eighth Amendment sentencing issues for youth in adult court.
Since 1995, Ms. Calvin has fought for the rights of children caught up in the juvenile justice and foster care systems, as well those denied their education rights. As a senior advocate at Human Rights Watch, she focuses on the rights of children in California, with a specific emphasis on children and youth in foster care and the criminal justice systems. Her work includes research and writing on human rights violations against children, policy and legal advocacy, and building partnerships with community groups. She is an author of three Human Rights Watch reports on juveniles serving life without parole, and works closely with a national campaign to end the use of extreme prison sentences for youth. In 2012, her leadership of a coalition-based effort resulted in the reform of California’s use of life without parole sentences for youth. She has also written on foster care and homelessness, and works closely with youth, faith groups, family members of youth sentenced to life in prison, crime victims, incarcerated individuals, advocates, and activists for youth rights.
Jonathan Grossman has been a staff attorney since 1999 at the Sixth District Appellate Program in San Jose, where he handles dependency, delinquency, and criminal appeals. He worked on criminal, dependency, and delinquency cases as a deputy public defender in San Joaquin County from 1991 to 1999. He updates three chapters in CEB books: “Writs in California State Courts” and “Felony Appeals” in California Criminal Law Procedure and Practice, as well as “Federal Habeas Corpus: Overview” in Appeals and Writs in Criminal Cases. He is a member of the Committee on Appellate Courts, which is part of the Litigation Section of the California Lawyers Association. He received his J.D. from U.C. Hastings.
Francis “Frankie” Guzman
Francis (“Frankie”) Guzman is the Director of the California Youth Justice Initiative at the National Center for Youth Law. Mr. Guzman leads a team of attorneys, policy advocates, and community organizers working to eliminate the practice of prosecuting and incarcerating children in California’s adult criminal justice system, reduce incarceration and justice system involvement, and increase developmentally-appropriate services in communities for youth. Raised in a poor, mostly immigrant community plagued by crime and drugs, Mr. Guzman experienced his parents’ divorce and his family’s subsequent homelessness at age 3, the life-imprisonment of his 16-year-old brother at age 5, and lost numerous childhood friends to violence. At age 15, he was arrested for armed robbery and, on his first offense, was sentenced to serve 15 years in the California Youth Authority. Released on parole after six years, Mr. Guzman went on to graduate from U.C. Berkeley with a B.A., and received a J.D. from UCLA Law School. He is an expert in juvenile law and policy with a focus on ending the prosecution of juveniles as adults. Through partnerships with community organizations and advocacy groups, Mr. Guzman has helped lead California’s effort to reduce the number of youths prosecuted as adults and serving time in adult prisons by passing legislation that established Youth Offender Parole Hearings, reformed Juvenile Transfer Hearings, and eliminated prosecutors’ direct file authority. More recently, Mr. Guzman helped lead statewide efforts to eliminate California’s practice of prosecuting 14 and 15-year-olds as adults, prohibit the incarceration of children under age 12 in the juvenile system, and secure approximately $60 million dollars to expand pre-arrest diversion programs and developmentally-appropriate, culturally-relevant community-based services for youth in California.
Lana M. Kreidie
Lana M. Kreidie is the Assistant Director of Santa Clara County’s Independent Defense Counsel Office, a program that oversees and administers a conflict panel of defenders appointed to represent system involved youth and adults. Lana spent the first 11 years of her defender career serving as a deputy public defender in Riverside County and the next 5 years as a solo holistic youth and criminal defense practitioner in the Bay Area. Before joining Santa Clara County’s executive management team, Lana served as the Administrator of the Delinquency Panel with the Bar Association of San Francisco and as an Assistant Managing Attorney with San Mateo County’s Private Defender Program. Over the years, Lana has trained defenders locally, statewide and nationally on a variety of youth defense topics, has participated in a variety of legal reform efforts, and is active with youth and criminal justice organizations such as CJCJ, San Mateo CASA, and CPDA.
Mr. Laba has been with the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office since 1996. In addition to supervising the agency’s Richmond Branch, he directs the Office’s law clerk and internship programs and chairs the Office’s Training Committee. Outside of his public defender work, Mr. Laba focuses his advocacy efforts on juvenile justice issues. He has served as a member of PJDC’s Executive Board for over twelve years, and is currently the organization’s Vice President. From 2008 to 2011, Mr. Laba participated in the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network, an initiative that engaged juvenile defenders, policymakers, judges and other key stakeholders in designing strategies to improve juvenile indigent defense policy and practice. Since 2006, he has co-authored the chapter on juvenile delinquency proceedings in California Criminal Law: Procedure and Practice which is published annually by the Continuing Education of the Bar. Mr. Laba has been an adjunct faculty member at Berkeley Law since 2011, where he teaches the Criminal Field Placement Ethics Seminar. He taught Children and the Law at Golden Gate University School of Law from 2007 through 2012. Mr. Laba is a 1989 graduate of the University of Virginia. Following graduation, he spent a year at the Stanford Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama. He received his J.D. from U.C. Berkeley School of Law in 1996.
Erin Morgan is honored to serve as a Board Member for the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center. Like many of her family members, Ms. Morgan has dedicated her career to social justice. Presently, Ms. Morgan advocates for juveniles as a deputy public defender in the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. In her free time, she mentors youth in the Brown Girl Surf program.
Before coming to California, Ms. Morgan was raised in the NYC/NJ Metropolitan Area. Her interest in advocacy began in high school after she joined the Martin Luther King Jr. Social Action Committee, and the National Youth Leadership Forum on Law. Ms. Morgan’s curiosity blossomed as she studied psychology, ethics, and Spanish language at Carnegie Mellon University. Influential Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal decisions inspired her journey to the University of San Francisco School of Law where she earned her Juris Doctorate degree and concentrated in Public Interest Law. Upon graduation, Ms. Morgan received the Pro Bono Publico Award.
Ms. Morgan prepared for her legal career with opportunities in the New Jersey Judiciary, USF Criminal Law Clinic, Contra Costa County Office of the Public Defender, and San Francisco Office of the Public Defender. Meanwhile, cross-cultural travels led her to the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Spain. After law school, Ms. Morgan represented “lifers” before the Board of Parole Hearings.
She joined the Charles Houston Bar Association, and Minority Bar Coalition. Her position as Mentorship Chairperson for the Black Women Lawyers Association of Northern California led her to become the Chairperson for the San Francisco Juvenile Justice Commission. Now, Ms. Morgan wants to empower fellow defenders with training and improve outcomes for youth of color. In fact, the National Juvenile Defender Center selected Ms. Morgan to be a member of the Inaugural class of the Ambassadors for Racial Justice Program.
Maureen Pacheco is the Trainer for the Juvenile Division of the Alternate Public Defenders Office in Los Angeles. Ms. Pacheco is also a NITA trainer and has been certified as a JTIP trainer by the National Juvenile Defender Center. She has spent the majority of her career representing youth, and has handled cases at the trial level, as a writ/appellate attorney, and in post-conviction proceedings. From 2010-2013, Ms. Pacheco was the Assistant Director at Loyola Law School’s Center for Juvenile Law and Policy, where she co-founded the Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic. Prior to that, she worked in the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office. Ms. Pacheco was the co-founder of PJDC’s Amicus group, and has served as the juvenile legislative liaison for the California Public Defenders Association since 2005. She has testified on numerous occasions as a juvenile law expert before the California Legislature, and is a frequent speaker at juvenile justice conferences and events. In 2015, Ms. Pacheco was honored as the Juvenile Defender of the Year by PJDC, and in 2017, she was named Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year by the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Ms. Pacheco holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. from the University of Michigan. She is also a licensed mixologist, and is the proud mother of three children.
Ji Seon Song
Ms. Song has dedicated her career to changing the criminal and juvenile legal systems. In her past work as a public defender, she sought to tell her clients’ stories and reflect their humanity. Her practice and policy focus has been on improving the plight of young people in custody and on creating better ways to keep youth connected to their communities. She gives training and lectures nationwide on issues related to policing, racial justice, and trial practice. She is currently a Thomas C. Grey Fellow and Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School where she writes in the areas of criminal and juvenile law. She previously worked as a senior policy advocate at the National Juvenile Defender Center and a Prettyman fellow at the Georgetown University Law Center. She also served as a clerk for the Hon. Deborah A. Batts in the Southern District of New York. Ms. Song received her J.D. from Columbia Law School and an LLM in Trial Advocacy from Georgetown. She holds a B.A. in East Asian studies with a Minor in Music from Columbia College, Columbia University. Ms. Song was a founding member of the Asian American Criminal Trial Lawyers Association and the Bay Area Public Defenders for Racial Justice. She has been on the Advisory Board and Executive Board of PJDC since 2013. Her involvement with PJDC began as the California liaison for the MacArthur Models for Change Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network. Ms. Song is a Bay Area native and a classically trained singer.
Mr. Spieckerman works in the juvenile delinquency unit of the Solano County Public Defender’s Office. He has spent half of his 15 year public defender career handling juvenile delinquency cases. In addition to his juvenile delinquency caseload, he also handles Youthful Offender Parole Hearing (SB 9/261/Franklin) cases for his office. Mr. Spieckerman is a commissioner on the Solano County Juvenile Justice Commission and frequently represents the Solano County Public Defender’s Office at county-wide and regional juvenile justice events.
Mr. Spieckerman is a San Francisco Bay Area native, and graduated with Honors from Pitzer College with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations. Then, after graduating from UC Davis School of Law, King Hall, he began working as a deputy public defender in Mendocino County. Mr. Spieckerman has been practicing in Solano County since 2005. He lives in Alameda County with his amazing wife and their two rambunctious children.
Ms. Lee has been a Deputy Public Defender in San Francisco since 1978 and has been practicing in the Juvenile Courts since 1981. She is currently the Managing Attorney for the Juvenile Division of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. She has undertaken a leadership role with PJDC since 2000, when she began to serve as one of the organization’s first Co-Directors. Ms. Lee led PJDC for nearly twenty years. She is on the Board of the National Juvenile Defender Center, the Family and Juvenile Law Advisory Committee of the Judicial Council, Center for Families Children and the Courts. She is a core member of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice, an interdisciplinary agency that bridges research, policy and practice for “at-risk” youth. She is also an appointed Committee member for the National Academy of Science on a Prioritized Plan to Implement a Developmental Approach in Juvenile Justice Reform.