On March 31, 2011, at Chapman Law School in Orange, California, the National Lawyers Guild Orange County Chapter and the Chapman Law School NLG Chapter hosted attorney Rich Pfeiffer in a discussion “Victories In Parole Cases.” Mr. Pfeiffer was joined by two of his recently-paroled clients from life murder sentences, Becky White and David Golub, as well as paralegal Jo Bracken.
Mr. Pfeiffer discussed his own unique experiences – – having been sentenced to prison prior to becoming a California attorney – – to a packed room of Chapman Law School students and several prominent Orange County criminal defense attorneys. Mr. Pfeiffer began his legal career writing his own appeal, then went on to intern at the public defenders office, and later began writing juvenile dependency appeals with Appellate Defenders, Inc.
Mr. Pfeiffer described how he began taking parole cases pro bono during a time in which no single life inmate had been paroled for eight years and how, five years later, he helped over 40 life inmates parole. Ms. Bracken, a volunteer and one of the directors of the Red Cross in Long Beach, was instrumental in helping Ms. White and others prepare their cases and parole plans for the parole board.
Audience members were at the edges of their seats as they listened to Ms. White and Mr. Golub describe their experiences in prison and how they never gave up hope of being released. They graciously answered questions, including one posed by Frank Ospino, Senior Assistant Public Defender at the Orange County Public Defender’s Office, about how incarcerated young-adults facing life sentences can begin working a rehabilitiation program from inside prison. Following this powerful talk, several law students expressed interest in assisting Mr. Pfeiffer with these cases.
The event was the first hosted by the new National Lawyers Guild Orange County Chapter and was a great success. The National Lawyers Guild Orange County Chapter, on behalf of its co-founders – – attorneys Lauren K Johnson and Mindy Gulati – – look forward to the future of this progressive bar association in Orange County.
Photos by Craig Norris.
Orange County criminal and juvenile defense attorney Lauren K Johnson is Co-Founder of the National Lawyers Guild Orange County Chapter.