De-Bug’s ACJP Gives Webinar on ‘Social Biography Videos’ to Impact Cases

Special thanks to the National Legal Aid and Defender Association for inviting us to give a webinar to their members and the larger legal community this Thursday on May 8th at 11am PST. We will be sharing the concept, discussion specific case examples, the production process, and how the videos were used to secure sought after case resolutions. Below is more info, and click here to find out how to sign up in advance!

NLADA Webinar: Creating Social Biography Videos to Humanize Clients for Better Case Resolutions

Thursday, May 8, 2:00 PM Eastern 


The Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project (ACJP), a media and community advocacy project, will give a webinar on how public defenders can create “social biography videos” to humanize clients for purposes of impacting sentencing, plea-negotiations, and more.

The webinar will discuss specific case examples, the production process, and how the videos were used to secure sought after case resolutions. Technology has become cheaper, more accessible, and has created new avenues for client’s stories to be shared in the court system. The webinar will share how defender offices can produce social biography videos using limited resources, and how staff without any previous experience can be trained quickly to create effective videos.

rjpicPresenter: The project director, Raj Jayadev, is the coordinator of ACJP, a community organizing model for families and communities to partner with public defenders to impact court cases.

ACJP is housed at Silicon Valley De-Bug. Jayadev developed the project as a Soros Justice Fellow, and he and his staff have been creating social biography videos for public defenders for a number of years to great success. The videos have resulted in securing favorable plea negotiations, lowered sentences, even post-conviction relief.

“Time Saved” Special Screening at San Francisco Justice Summit

We were excited to share an advanced screening of the first episode of our new documentary series called Time Saved at this year’s San Francisco Justice Summit. The Summit is a gathering of criminal defense attorneys, justice advocates, and more, who convene to discuss the most pressing challenges to the public’s rights and liberties in the context of the courts. The event is hosted by the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, and this year they featured two of our videos. One was a social biography video we produced for a San Francisco Public Defender client. The video, which was shown during sentencing, helped secure a mitigated sentence, and helped beat a strike prior. We are aired the first pilot episode of Time Saved. The series focuses on how family, community, and attorney collaborations have impacted the outcome of cases. The pilot episode featured the only woman in Santa Clara County who was eligible for resentencing through Proposition 36. The episode will be released to the larger public this summer. Stay posted, and if you have a story or case that you think should be featured, let us know!



De-Bug Shares Social Biography Video Concept to Harvard Law School

Thanks to Professor Cohen and the Harvard Law School students who participated in our ACJP/De-Bug skype training on our model last week! We shared our social biography video concept, and really appreciated the insightful and illuminating dialogue with the new generation of legal eagles at Harvard. It was a late night for them to be doing the session, so appreciated their commitment, and was great being able to introduce them to our community and space at De-Bug. Looking forward to more opportunities to discuss how family, community, and innovation can transform the courts! If you’re a law school, firm, organization, or public defender office, and are interested in learning more, just send us an inquiry about trainings at

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De-Bug Shares ACJP Model with Southern State Public Defenders at Gideon’s Promise Convening in Atlanta

We recently had the honor to join the Gideon’s Promise camp in Atlanta, and share our Social Biography Video tool, and other concepts to ensure family and community voice can be included in the court process. This school for young public defenders practicing in the South was featured last year in the HBO aired documentary Gideon’s Army. (Read Raj Jayadev’s piece about the film entitled, “Gideon’s Army Deserves Back Up.”)

Gideon’s Promise is an incredibly inspiring movement of public defender’s that is no doubt a game-changer when it comes to re-imagining indigent defense in this country. We look forward to continue to build with them! Here are a couple flix:


The keynote speaker for the graduation of the recent class of Gideon’s Promise attorneys was Anthony Graves. He did 18 years for a crime he didn’t commit, and had his execution date set twice. Since winning his freedom in 2010, he has dedicated his time to ensuring others do not fall victim to wrongful convictions. (Read the Grio’s coverage of Mr. Graves and Gideon’s Promise here.)


De-Bug’s ACJP shared examples of our Social Biography Video tool. The defender’s were very appreciative, and we are trying to identify ways we can start these in the South!

Society of Professional Journalists Honors De-Bug with the 2013 Silver Heart Award!

Much gratitude to the Society of Professional Journalists for honoring De-Bug with the 2013 Silver Heart Award for, “extraordinary dedication to helping empower marginalized members of society.” And they referenced our social biography video innovation too! They called it  a “journalistic initiative that brings community voices into the criminal justice system on behalf of indigent defendants.”  Let’s keep amplifying family and community voice in 2014! Here’s a shot from the awards night…


De-Bug’s ACJP Presents at National Legal Aid and Defender Association

gandbMuch thanks to the good people at the National Legal Aid and Defender Association for inviting us to participate in their annual conference in Los Angeles. We got a chance to meet some amazing movement makers from all across the country, and share our model of how families and communities can impact cases, be important resources for defenders trying to even the scales of justice, and change the landscape of power in the criminal court system. Here’s a shot of organizers Gail and Blanca after they presented!



1377 Years of “Time Saved”: New Way to Quantify How Organizing Impacts Court Cases

In court systems across the country, the term used to show that someone has done their time of incarceration is called “Time Served.”  At De-Bug, we transform that term, and that time, to “time saved” through family and community organizing to change the outcome of cases. We quantify the amount of “Time Saved” by looking at the maximum exposure of incarceration based on the charges against an individual when they first approach us and subtract the total amount of incarceration time received by that individual after the family has intervened in the case through our organizing model. Sometimes charges get beat completely, some times charges get reduced, sometimes sentences get lowered as a result of the work. Continue reading

ACJP Presents to Santa Clara County Juvenile Attorneys

Last week the Albert Cobarrubias Justice squad presented to the attorneys of the juvenile division of the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office. We were invited to share our experiences, perspectives, and our model of how families can play a role in partnering with defense attorneys to protect youth from the system. It was a very productive sit down as we brought some of our leading organizers who first got introduced to the system through witnessing their own children face the courts. Their is nothing more insightful than a mother’s observations. We also shared the video, made by Cesar Flores, that was used by a defense attorney earlier this year to further her point that her client was being over-charged. The young man was able to resolve his case without jail or prison time, as well as preserving his relief for immigration court. We look forward to continuing our partnering efforts to keep youth out of the system!


Time Saved: 3 Families Support Each Other to Beat a Collective of 41 Years to Life in Prison


We had a powerful meeting this Sunday at ACJP, where three families all successfully resolved their cases through mutual support. They didn’t know each other a month ago, but will be forever united in their life stories. They live in different counties, even speak different languages at home.These images are a part of ACJP‘s “Time Saved” Series, documenting the stories, and amount of time saved from incarceration, due to community intervention in court cases. Submission and Photos by Charisse Domingo.

Click here to see the full story.