Criminal Law Section

News from the Section

Webinar: Mental Competence for Trial

Thursday, June 8, 2017, 12 noon - 1 p.m.

This program offers 1 hour participatory MCLE credit. You must register in advance to participate.

This webinar will cover what you need to know regarding competency to stand trial.  The program will cover provide Penal Code sections 1367, 1368 and 1370, as well as 1601, 1602, 1603 and 1604. 

Speaker: Christopher Honigsberg

New California Supreme Court Case Concerning Sex Offender Treatment: People v. Ignacio Garcia, S218197 (3/20/17)

In People v. Garcia, the California Supreme Court addressed the legality of the compelled waiver, as a condition of probation, of “any privilege against self-incrimination” for probationers participating in mandatory sex offender treatment. The Court also addressed the propriety of polygraph examinations and the waiver of psychotherapist-patient privilege.

The Court found that because the defendant’s responses during therapy were compelled within the Fifth Amendment, they could not “lawfully be used against him in a criminal proceeding,” and thus did not violate the Fifth Amendment. The Court also rejected the claim that conditioning probation on the waiver of psychotherapist-patient privilege violated the constitutional right to privacy.

The decision noted the large number of sex offenders, and the challenges in managing and supervising them. The decision stressed the importance of sex offender treatment, citing an up to 40 percent reduction in recidivism for those offenders successfully completing treatment. Justice Cuellar writes that, “in light of the relevant constitutional provisions and the purpose of Chelsea’s Law, the probation conditions challenged here enable those charged with monitoring the probationer to obtain the information they need, while otherwise safeguarding the probationer’s privacy and protecting the probationer from compelled self-incrimination.”

Deputy Attorney General Leif Dautch, a member of the State Bar Criminal Law Section Executive Committee, represented the respondent in the Garcia case.

The Criminal Law Journal is Looking For Submissions

The Criminal Law Journal is a publication of the State Bar Criminal Law Section. Please submit any article submissions, or even ideas for articles. The articles should be approximately 500 words. Articles discussing practice tips are welcome and encouraged. An upcoming issue will focus upon the immigration law in the criminal courts. Please send your submissions or questions to Ellen Louie, Section Coordinator, Office of Education at

New Laws – Securing Post-conviction Relief For Immigrants

By Timothy E. Warriner, Chair, Criminal Law Section Executive Committee

Many new laws affecting the practice of criminal law have been enacted, and will become effective January 1, 2017. One of them, AB 813, is of particular importance to California’s immigrants. It adds Section 1473.7 to the Penal Code.

Under previous law if a non-citizen discovered, many years after accepting a plea bargain, that the conviction triggered an adverse immigration consequence, there was often no avenue for relief because a habeas corpus petition could only be sustained if the individual was in “constructive custody” –i.e., still serving a sentence, or on probation or parole. AB 813, signed by the Governor, solves this problem. It creates a right for a person no longer imprisoned or restrained to prosecute a motion to vacate a conviction or sentence due to “prejudicial error damaging the moving party’s ability to meaningfully understand, defend against, or knowingly accept the actual or potential adverse immigration consequences of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere.” It also allows for a motion to vacate where “[n]ewly discovered evidence of actual innocence exists that requires vacation of the conviction or sentence as a matter of law or in the interests of justice.”

Upcoming issues of the Criminal Law E-Bulletin will discuss other new laws affecting criminal practice.

Serve on the Criminal Law Section Executive Committee

Make a difference and network with other criminal law practitioners. Apply to serve on the executive committee of the Criminal Law Section of the State Bar of California.

The deadline to submit applications for appointment to the Public Law Section executive committee is January 27, 2017. For more information visit:

Photos from the Recent Swearing-In Ceremony for New Attorneys in San Diego

Lei-Chala Wilson and Anne Perry man the Criminal Law Section table at the recent swearing-in ceremony for new attorneys in San Diego. As always, it's a thrilling experience to the enthusiasm and sense of accomplishment of these new and eager attorneys!

Lei-Chala Wilson and Anne Perry at the Swearing-in Ceremony Lei-Chala Wilson and Anne Perry at the Swearing-in Ceremony

The Marshall Schulman Competition for Student Papers in Criminal Law and/or Criminal Procedure

Deadline: Your entry must be received by email no later than February 28, 2017.

The Criminal Law Section of the State Bar of California is pleased to announce the 2016-2017 Marshall M. Schulman Annual Competition for Student Papers in Criminal Law and/or Criminal Procedure.  This is a nationwide competition; while the focus is on California law, past winners have included students attending schools across the country.

The grand prize is:

  • $1500 cash prize
  • The Grand Prize –winning paper will be published in the Criminal Law Journal, the official quarterly publication of the Criminal Law Section of the State Bar of California
  • One-year student membership in the Criminal Law Section

See Student Writing Competition for more information.

On-line Billing and Payment for 2017 Fees

The State Bar will be launching  a new on-line billing and payment application for 2017 fees.  Paper billing statements will not be sent to members. Instead, statements will be available online through My State Bar Profile. Individual members will continue to be able to make payments online through My State Bar Profile. Attorneys should make sure that the email they have provided for State Bar communications is up to date.

Law firms and agencies will be able to use the State Bar’s new Agency Billing system where they can calculate billing costs and make payments for a group of attorneys. 

Please be sure your Section Membership Fees are included in your payment.

Once an attorney’s fees are paid, a paper bar card will be conveniently available for download through My State Bar Profile. Plastic bar cards will still be made available, but only upon request and can also be ordered through My State Bar Profile.

The online billing system makes it easier than ever for individual attorneys and agencies to help make the justice system available to everyone.  When paying your bill, please consider making a contribution in support of legal services for low income Californians.  Your support is a lifeline that can help prevent homelessness, keep kids in school, protect elders from fraud and abuse, and connect veterans to services, among other critical legal assistance. 

It is anticipated that the on-line agency and billing application will be available through the State Bar’s website by mid-December.  

Go to for more information, or contact Member Records and Compliance at 1-888-800-3400.

Thank You for Being a Section Member - Here's 6 Hours MCLE in Legal Ethics!

We're very grateful for your membership in the Section. As a token of that, we're offering six hours of self-study MCLE credit in the area of Legal Ethics. The programs are posted in our Member's Only Area.

Simply watch the programs and read the accompanying materials, and keep track of having done so. You can report this to the State Bar when it's time to demonstrate your compliance with the MCLE requirements.

Do You Miss a Webinar? It's in Our Online Catalog!

Criminal Law Section members can get participatory MCLE credit for viewing programs online, including webinars put on by the Criminal Law Section that you may have missed. Choose from Criminal Law programs.

Articles from the Criminal Law E-Bulletin

The Criminal Law E-Bulletin is sent each month to members of the Section. The E-Bulletin often includes articles of lasting interest, and we have compiled some of these from 2012 on and posted them in the Members Only Area. Section members can access the articles by clicking on the link and signing in to My State Bar Profile.

The Sections and CYLA Are on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn

Social media, anyone? The Sections and the California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA) now have pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn where we can keep you up-to-date on our latest news and events.

We're also looking forward to interacting with a wider community and reaching out to people who are not currently members.

We invite you to "Like" us and follow our "Tweets."

And by the way, the CYLA definition of "young" is any California attorney under the age of 36 or in their first five years of practice.


Like us! Follow us! Connect with us!

Save Money with CEB

CEB Discount Program for Section MembersContinuing Education of the Bar, California (CEB) is extending some special discount offers to our section. As a member of the Criminal Law Section, you're eligible for:

  • 10% off selected CEB print or online books
  • rebate on your section dues that can be applied to the cost of a CEB Gold CLE Passport or a CLE program ticket

 A complete list of the products eligible for a discount is available on a CEB web page accessible through our Members Only Area. Information about the section dues rebate program can be found on the CEB Web site.

Contact Us

Criminal Law Section
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639
415/538-2368 fax