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MCLE Self-Assessment Test

Happenings June 2012

John Digiacinto

The San Mateo County Bar Association’s unique program for providing lawyers for low-income criminal defendants has won a national award from the American Bar Association.

Many counties staff their own public defender offices, but San Mateo’s 43-year-old county-funded program makes private attorneys available at no cost to defendants.

Executive Director John Digiacinto will accept the Harrison Tweed Award at the American Bar Association annual meeting in August.

The program was nominated for the award by the head of the Texas Indigent Defense Commission, which has created two private defender offices using San Mateo County’s model.

Members of the Orange County Bar Association’s Community Outreach Committee will volunteer at a pet adoption event June 3 at Irvine Animal Care Center.

The center’s mission to find homes for as many pets as possible, spread awareness of shelters and homeless animals and highlight the importance of spaying and neutering pets. Volunteers will help vendors unload their vehicles and deliver items and animals to their booths.

More information, including volunteer registration, is available on the association’s web site.

The San Joaquin County Bar Association sponsored a Law Day program that allowed 1,600 eighth-graders to have a live, candid conversation with inmates from Chowchilla Women’s Prison and Folsom Prison.

The unique program was held May 1 at the San Joaquin County Office of Education. The bar association paid for bus transportation from schools in Lodi and Stockton.

“If we can just reach one or two of these kids to help them make a better choice that may save their life, it’s all worth it,” said Terry Costa, senior judicial secretary for the San Joaquin County Superior Court and the bar association’s 2012 Law Day Award recipient.

Deputy District Attorney Tori Verber-Salazar did some role-playing demonstrations with the students and started the conversation with the inmates. Each of the inmates introduced themselves, identified the crime that he or she was convicted of and how long he or she had been in prison – many since before the eighth-graders were born. Students had a chance to ask questions and receive candid answers from the prisoners.