Donning caps and gowns, those who had successfully completed rigorous drug treatment programs marched into Judge Karen Ackerson Gauff’s courtroom in Compton.
There has never been a more urgent need for the LA County Public Defender’s Office to be at the forefront of protecting the legal rights of noncitizens.
Joel Delarosa, 26, and Miranda Frett, 24, heard about the LA County Public Defender Homeless Mobile free clinic and took the bus there from their live-in treatment program in South LA.
"LA County Public Defenders work tirelessly and often without public praise or understanding of the difficult job of being the foot soldiers of the Constitution."
"My goal is to be one of those attorneys who just wants to give back to the community, to be a voice for the people who are otherwise ignored and overlooked."
"Youth perceive custody very differently and do not fully understand the criminal justice system and the consequences of waiving Miranda rights."
"Happy Social Work Month, I wish it could be all year. I am proud of you. You guys do so much tremendous work."
"Compassion is the main thing I want them to learn. I want them to realize there’s a duty to help other people not as fortunate."
“I hope that my daughter learns that being a successful person is not about how much money you make or where your degree was obtained. Rather, it’s about the impact you have on the world."
“I think we made a difference today.”
"I believe that the commitment of every man and woman in this room right now is aligned with the reality that we can change this for the better. And we will."
"Today, I finally got to meet the lawyers who were able to help me go in the right direction."
“Our job is to show our clients’ humanity.”
"Public Defenders really are the most empathetic, passionate, understanding lawyers I’ve met. Here, no one does this for money or prestige, you do it because you believe in it and want to help people."
"This is going to change my life for the better."
“We have a core mission, we all know it. To be zealous advocates. To treat our clients with dignity. To do our work with integrity. It’s more than just our mission, it’s a human mission.”
"We at the Public Defender want to see our clients be given an opportunity to gain employment, shelter and food for their families."
"There’s something in my DNA that I just felt that fighting for the underdog was my destiny."
"We are committed to creating and maintaining a partnership with the community."
"It’s a great opportunity for us to show people that we are committed to our mission and we are here for them."
"You guys saved my life!"