National Public Defender Week – March 18-24, 2018

March 14, 2018

National Public Defender Week – March 18-24, 2018

By Professor Kathleen Pozzi, Sonoma County Public Defender

Sunday, March 18th, marks the 55th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, and the third nationwide celebration of Public Defense week.  The Law Office of the Sonoma County Public Defender is joining forces with National, State and County wide public defense offices and other indigent defense organizations to celebrate and commemorate this historic event.

Fifty-five years ago, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided the landmark case of Gideon v Wainwright, a right to counsel for people too poor to afford to hire a lawyer, was established.  Our hope is to create public awareness to highlight the important, dedicated, excellent and diligent work that everyone in the indigent defense community does every day on behalf of our clients. Whether we are public defenders, private defense attorneys, paralegals, investigators, legal processors, secretaries, social workers or private advocates, we are all warriors against social injustice, abuse of power, inequities, and inequality. We work hard and advocate for people in order to restore and affirm their human dignity and values, and to vindicate their legal and human rights.

This week (and always), we encourage you to:

 J oin in with us to spread the word of the importance of equal and social justice.

U phold and embrace the principles behind our Constitution.

S top and reflect on the importance of this work and share stories on how you have experienced this dedicated staff tipping the scales of justice to make this world a better place.

T ell a story that humanizes someone and illustrates how those represented are not the stereotype that are often times depicted in the media.

I mpart to someone that his or her life really matters.

C onvey to a public defender or staff member, that they are doing a great job.

E xpress to your friends, family, colleagues, clients, and the world why and how our work matters.


Angela Emerick, Esq.

(Class of 2015)

"Being born in Australia and becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2009, I understand the process and honor of becoming an American citizen and am proud to help those in their quest to become citizens and better their lives."

Daryl Reese, Esq.

(Class of 2014)

"I decided to enroll in Law School when I was 50 years old having enjoyed a full career in the nonprofit sector. Now I have a robust business and nonprofit law practice serving clients throughout the State of California and I am loving it. I could never have made that kind of career transition if it had not been for Empire Law School. The opportunity to take evening courses and at a cost far less than other law schools, and to do so in my own community made my career shift affordable, enjoyable, and attainable."

Orchid Vaghti, Esq.

(Class of 2010)

"There are not that many new lawyers who have the experience to go to trial. They would not be ready for it. Seeing the practical points of the legal process through her Empire education gave Orchid an advantage."
- L. Stephen Turer, Esq.