7 Receive the Gerald Z. Marer Award

Maureen Fox, Patricia Lai, J. Wilder Lee, Jennifer Mannix, Jennifer Peabody, Sara Ruddy, and Victoria Stafford were awarded the Gerald Z. Marer award for panel excellence in 2024. They were assigned a seven codefendant case. The jury returned verdicts for murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and gang enhancements. The appeal lasted eight years, and new laws afforded grounds for relief. After multiple rounds of supplemental briefing, the murder convictions for five of the defendants were vacated because of S.B. 1483, the murder convictions for two of them were reduced from first degree murder to second degree due to Sanchez error, the gang enhancements were reversed because of A.B. 333, and three of them were returned to the juvenile court under Proposition 57 and S.B. 1391. The attorneys worked together in deciding which ones would brief each issue, while others filed appropriate joinders, detailing how the issue applies to their client. The briefs by each attorney were exemplary, and they were tenacious in protecting the interests of their clients.

The late Gerald Z. Marer was an inspirational figure. Mr. Marer was the founding chairperson of the SDAP Board of Directors and served in that role for the first ten years of SDAP’s existence. Mr. Marer was an outstanding advocate in both criminal and civil appeals. He was a president of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers and was well known for his extensive pro bono work, unquestioned integrity and wisdom that he was willing to generously share. The prodigious energy that Mr. Marer devoted to his practice and community service was made all the more remarkable by the fact that he suffered from muscular sclerosis for much of his adult life and was confined to a wheelchair.

The Gerald Z. Marer Award is designed to honor a panel attorney who has performed in an extraordinary manner. Such performance can be demonstrated in either a specific case or by a lifetime of achievement. In either case, the winner is entitled to be honored for the excellent work that has been performed.

Scroll to Top