Bay Area Legal Leaders Move on From Their Posts, While Leaving a Legacy of Community Collaborations

In one season, Bay Area families are seeing three prominent leaders of legal institutions that have fought for, and in some cases, created, protections for low-income and marginalized communities, leave their posts. Mary Greenwood, the Santa Clara County Public Defender, and Miguel Marquez, the Santa Clara County County Counsel, have been appointed by Governor Brown to move on judgeship. Michael Kresser, the Executive Director of the Sixth District Appellate Project, is retiring after helping start the non-profit in 1985. While the three led distinctively different agencies, each were able to advance the rights of indigent and marginalized communities through their willingness to listen to, and work with, the communities they served. Through their collective leadership, Santa Clara County expanded its indigent defense, held prosecutorial misconduct in check, and created nationally recognized policy protections for immigrants.

Certainly, as new leadership is developed at each respective legal agency, a continuance of this inclusive, community-partnering approach is vital to continue the legacy laid-down by Greenwood, Marquez, and Kresser. Continue reading

San Jose Mercury News: Santa Clara County DA program aims to boost reliability of eyewitness identifications

According to the Innocence Project, eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in more than 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing. Implementing this program is a step in the right direction to make sure that justice can be properly carried out.  Submission post by Charisse Domingo

SANTA CLARA COUNTY DA PROGRAM AIMS TO BOOST RELIABILITY OF EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATIONS

By Tracey Kaplan
02/04/2012 06:40:08 AM PST

To boost the reliability of eyewitness identifications, every police department in Santa Clara County has recently begun videotaping or recording most witnesses as they pick out a suspect from a set of photos or a live lineup.

The practice, spearheaded by District Attorney Jeff Rosen, is the latest technique law enforcement agencies across the nation are using to try to reduce wrongful convictions. In the Bay Area, police in San Francisco, Oakland and Pleasant Hill are among those who also have adopted it.

But Santa Clara County is believed to be the only county in the state where every police agency from the Highway Patrol to campus officers at San Jose State has signed a protocol agreeing to it.

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Mercury News: Public Defender Mary Greenwood in line for Santa Clara County judgeship

A County’s head of the Public Defender’s office may be the most important, yet least discussed decision-maker in a local criminal justice system. With Mary Greenwood potentially leaving to receive a judgeship, an important transition is going to be made by County Board of Supervisors for a position that will impact thousands of people for years to come. Seems like community input should be gathered for this important selection. — Post submission by Raj Jayadev

By Howard Mintz // hmintz@mercurynews.com (Published on 12.12.11)

Santa Clara County may be losing its top public defender but gaining a well-qualified new judge.

Mary Greenwood, the county’s chief public defender for the past six years, appears to be on the brink of an appointment to the Superior Court bench.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s staff has forwarded her name to a statewide judicial screening commission, which last week began circulating questionnaires on Greenwood in the local legal community, ordinarily a prelude to a judicial appointment. Continue reading