The dismissal of 66,000 marijuana convictions in L.A. County announced Feb. 13 signals progress, says LA County Public Defender Ricardo Garcia.
The LA County Public Defender’s Office leads a $1.2 million MacArthur grant to divert people suffering from mental illness out of jails and into treatment.
Donning caps and gowns, those who had successfully completed rigorous drug treatment programs marched into Judge Karen Ackerson Gauff’s courtroom in Compton.
"This is going to change my life for the better."
"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."
“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."
"There’s something in my DNA that I just felt that fighting for the underdog was my destiny."
"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."
“I think we made a difference today.”
“Our job is to show our clients’ humanity.”
“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.”
"Today, I finally got to meet the lawyers who were able to help me go in the right direction."
"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."
"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!"
"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."
"We at the Public Defender want to see our clients be given an opportunity to gain employment, shelter and food for their families."
"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."
"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."
"We are committed to creating and maintaining a partnership with the community."