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In 1985, California Rules of Court, rule 76.5 (now rule 8.300) was promulgated. Rule 8.300 authorizes an appellate court to contract with an administrator for the purpose of assigning and evaluating appointed counsel in indigent appeals. Pursuant to rule 8.300, the Judicial Council enters yearly contracts with the administrators chosen to work with the various appellate courts.

The appointed counsel program was established in the Sixth District shortly after the court’s inception in November, 1984. The first administrator was the Santa Clara County Conflicts Administration Program, directed by Phillip Pennypacker. The Appellate Division of Conflicts Administration Program began in April, 1985, staffed by attorneys Michael Kresser, Deanna Lamb, and Manuel Baglanis. In March, 1986, Dallas Sacher joined the staff.

Effective July 1, 1988, a new nonprofit corporation, the Sixth District Appellate Program (SDAP) with Michael Kresser as executive director, took over the contract for the Sixth District. The staff of Conflicts Appellate Division became employees of SDAP.

SDAP is governed by a seven person Board of Directors whose members are selected in consultation with the four county bar associations in the Sixth District: Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz. From 1988 to 1998, appellate specialist Gerald Z. Marer of Palo Alto was the Chair of the Board. Michele Vague of Santa Cruz, an original member of the Board, assumed the Chair following Mr. Marer’s retirement, and served as Chair until May 2007. Russell Hanlon, a civil appellate specialist in San Jose, succceeded her as Chair until 2015. Former Executive Director Michael Kresser was elected Chair in 2015.
Professor Ed Steinman of Santa Clara Law School is Chief Financial Officer. Rickey Green, an attorney who concentrates in corporate and tax law, is Secretary. Other board members are Wendy Kim of Santa Clara, Juliet Peck of Salinas, Stephen LaBerge of Santa Cruz, and Joel Franklin of Monterey County. Professor Gerald Uelmen of the Santa Clara School of Law was Chief Financial Officer from 1988 to 2006 when he resigned upon becoming Executive Director of the California Commission on the Fair Adminstration of Justice.

SDAP’s attitude toward the representation of indigents is that expressed in Von Moltke v. Gillies (1948) 332 U.S. 708:

“Undivided allegiance and faithful, devoted service to a client are prized traditions of the American lawyer. It is this kind of service for which the Sixth Amendment makes provision. And nowhere is this service deemed more honorable than in case of appointment to represent an accused too poor to hire a lawyer, even though the accused may be a member of an unpopular or hated group, or may be charged with an offense which is peculiarly abhorrent.” (Id., at pp. 725-726, fn. omitted.)

PATRICK McKENNA became SDAP’s Executive Director in July 2019.  He is a 2010 graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law. During law school, he spent one year as a law clerk with Appellate Defenders, Inc (ADI). Following graduation, he worked as a research clerk at the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office. After being admitted to the State Bar, he moved into private practice, working as an attorney at Nolan, Armstrong & Barton, LLP in Palo Alto and as a panel attorney for both SDAP and ADI.  He joined SDAP as a staff attorney in June 2012.  His published victories include People v. Rios (2013) 222 Cal.App.4th 542, People v. Gonzales (2015) 232 Cal.App.4th 1449, and People v. Seymour (2015) 239 Cal.App.4th 1418.

LORI QUICK became SDAP's Assistant Director in 2021. She graduated from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1990. Between 1990 and 1992, she was a Deputy Public Defender in Marin County. In 1992, Lori joined the Public Defender’s Office in Santa Cruz. Lori became a SDAP staff attorney in 1996. During her time at SDAP, she has secured published wins in People v. Miller (2006) 145 Cal.App.4th 206 and People v. Santos (2019) 38 Cal.App.5th 923. She obtained a grant of habeas corpus from the Ninth Circuit for a Three Strikes client due to instructional error concerning the use of domestic violence propensity evidence (Acosta v. Lewis, 04-17017), and she obtained a full reversal of multiple sex offense convictions and resulting 162 year to life sentence in People v. Ojeda, H029199. More recently, Lori obtained a complete reversal of all felony counts in People v. Brumsey, H043749 due to the erroneous admission of hearsay, and a sentencing reversal in People v. Mixon-Givens, H044705 on Gallardo grounds which resulted in a 41 year sentence being reduced by more than a third.

WILLIAM M. ROBINSON was SDAP's Assistant Director for eight years and is now a senior staff attorney. He is a 1980 graduate of UC Davis Law School. Bill has been a criminal defense lawyer ever since. He has won numerous appellate cases including People v. Mendoza (1998) 18 Cal.4th 1114, People v. Gangemi (1993) 13 Cal.App.4th 1790, People v. Garcia (1987) 195 Cal.App.3d 191 and People v. Fuller (1982) 136 Cal.App.3d 403. Bill joined the SDAP staff in 1998 and was SDAP's faculty member at the inaugural Appellate Advocacy College in 2000. His proudest achievement, in the same Mendoza case, was obtaining federal habeas relief leading to resentencing and the release of his client, Mr. Valdez, and thus concluding a 13-year odyssey which included trips to the Calfornia Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Recently, his pet issues have been homicide law, attacking prior convictions, credits, and new punishment reduction laws. Bill is a longtime mentor in the "Greening" program, training panel attorneys in homicide and sex cases. He recently won the release of two Third Strike inmates, successfully arguiing in trial court habeas petitions that the Gallardo and Descamps cases, applying Apprendi principles to prior convictions, applied retroactively to final convictions.

PAUL COUENHOVEN is a senior staff attorney. He graduated from Wayne State University Law School in 1983. He came to Calfornia in 1985, and in 1989 he began his practice as a panel attorney, eventually joining all five project panels and doing capital appellate defense. He joined the SDAP staff in 1997. Paul's published wins include People v. Nesler (1997) 16 Cal.4th 561 [sanity verdict reversed due to juror misconduct]; People v. Hofsheier (2006) 37 Cal.4th 1185 [equal protection violation to make sex offender registration mandatory for unlawful oral copulation but optional for unlawful sexual intercourse] (overruled by Johnson v. Department of Justice (2015) 60 Cal.4th 871); People v. Brown (2019) 32 Cal.App.5th 726 [Pen. Code, § 496 conviction reduce to misdemeanor because prosecutor could not aggregate value of property taken from different stores]; In re Grunau (2008) 169 Cal.App.4th 997 [remittitur recalled 10 years after appeal dismissed where earlier attorney never filed an opening brief and failed to notify his client of the failure] and People v. Brady (1991) 234 Cal.App.3d 954 [grand theft conviction based on illegally fishing abalone reversed since creatures in nature are not property of the state]. Most recently, Mr. Couenhoven obtained the reversal of murder convictions in People v. Villa (Dec. 17, 2019, F076081) [insufficient evidence].

JONATHAN GROSSMAN is a senior staff attorney. He is a graduate of Hastings College of Law. Jonathan worked as a Deputy Public Defender in San Joaquin County and joined SDAP in 1999. His cases that have led to published decisions include People v. Rivera (2015) 233 Cal.App.4th 1085, People v. Crandell (2007) 40 Cal.4th 1301, and Juan H. v. Allen (9th Cir. 2005) 408 F.3d 1262. He is a co-author of three chapters in CEB books: “Writs in California State Courts” and “Felony Appeals” in California Criminal Law Procedure and Practice, as well as “Federal Habeas Corpus: Overview” in Appeals and Writs in Criminal Cases.

ANNA L. STUART is a 2015 graduate of Monterey College of Law. Following graduation, Anna volunteered at the Watsonville Law Center before taking a supervising attorney position with the San Jose State University Record Clearance Project (RCP). Prior to appellate practice, Anna taught record clearance law to both law school students and individuals currently serving time in county jail. Anna became a SDAP staff attorney in 2016 and has experience with juvenile, dependency, and criminal appeals,

JOSEPH DOYLE graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2010. He worked briefly for Sidley Austin LLP in New York City before becoming a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society's Criminal Defense Practice in Staten Island. While practicing as a public defender in Staten Island, Joe helped establish the Staten Island Bad Cop Database, a forerunner to the Legal Aid Society's Cop Accountability Project. In 2017, he moved to California and became a Deputy Public Defender in Monterey County.

 

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