"Represent, Restore, Unite"
AACTLA's 6th Annual Installation Gala

Date: August 29, 2019
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Location: China Live
Address: 644 Broadway, San Francisco CA

Keynote Speaker:  Manohar Raju, Public Defender, San Francisco



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MITIGATION: The Role of Cultural Factors in Representing AAPI Clients

Date: Saturday, July 20, 2019
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Location: Oakland Asian Cultural Center
Address: 388 9th Street, Oakland, CA 94607

Topics presented by the Asian Prisoner Support Committee (ASPC), De-Bug Silicon Valley (DE-BUG), and Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender Sajid Khan.

Co-sponsored the Oakland Asian Cultural Center.

RSVP to with the subject line “Mitigation Training”

July 2018 EVENTS

AACTLA's 5th Annual Installation Gala

Date: July 27, 2018
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Location: China Live
Address: 644 Broadway, San Francisco CA

Keynote Speaker:  L. Song Richardson (Dean, UC Irvine School of Law)

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May 2018 EVENTS

WORLD PREMIERE of Alleluia Panis' Incarcerated: 6x9

Date:  May 4, 2018
Location:  Bindlestiff Studio
Address:  185 6th Street, San Francisco, CA

Inspired by the real-life incarceration accounts of young Pinoy Americans between 1966-2008, it is an immersive 60 minute artistic work of creative non-fiction located in the near future 2048, highlighting the state of humanity among Pilipinos in the United States,150 years after the US annexation of the Philippines.

Join AACTLA after the show on opening night for a community discussion panel with Asian American attorneys in criminal and federal immigration court, fighting against a dehumanizing system of mass incarceration.

May 4-13, 2018 - Bindlestiff Studio: 185 6th Street, San Francisco, CA
Tickets: $20 advance / $25 @door / $50 Art Supporter
For tickets and more information, please visit Incarcerated 6x9


February 2018 EVENTS

AACTLA HAPPY HOUR:  Cocktails and Conversation

Date: Thursday, February 8, 2018
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: Mars Bar
Address: 798 Brannon Street, San Francisco CA

Join us for some drinks, some laughs, and some friends from the criminal defense community!  With all the stuff that's going on lately, there will be plenty to talk about!  Come hang out!

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January 2018 EVENTS

AACTLA and Cosponsors present
Film Screening and Q&A:  "DEPORTED"

Date: Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Time:  6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Location:  Keker Van Nest & Peters
Address:  633 Battery Street, San Francisco CA 94111

Director:  Sahra Nguyen
Panel Speakers:  Anoop Prasad, Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus
                         Kevin Lo, Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus

The Asian American Criminal Trial Lawyers Association and its sponsors invite you to join us for a film screening of "Deported," a five-part documentary series on NBC Asian American Presents.  Q&A with Director Sahra Nguyen and Anoop Prasad and Kevin Lo from Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus, moderated by Vilaska Nguyen.  The panel will discuss the recent targeting of Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees by ICE and the struggles faced by this community.


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Cosponsored with VABANC
Symposium:  Impact of Changes to Immigration Policy 

Date:  January 27, 2018
Time:  9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Location:  Vietnamese American Community Center
Address:  2072 Lucretia Ave., San Jose, CA 95122

In 2017, increasingly hostile changes to national immigration policies have created significant challenges in immigrant and refugee communities. The Vietnamese American community is not immune to such changes, with increased deportation detentions at the end of this year. 

This Symposium is intended to convene impacted families and individuals, community leaders, organizers, and activists, students and youth, professionals in health, legal, social, policy and more, in an effort to learn and promote dialogue around these urgent issues and explore potential for a unified response strategy. 

Presenters include:  
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
Minh Chau Nguyen-Dunhour, Asian Law Alliance
Thu Quach, Asian Health Services / PIVOT
Beth Chance, Santa Clara County Public Defender's Office
Dieu "Bruce" Huynh, Viet Unity South Bay / PACT SJ, 
Maria Love, Office of Immigrant Relations
Mimi Nguyen, KGACLC/VLF

Lunch Keynote: 
"Advocating Through the Vietnamese American Lens" 
Jane Dobui, Women for Human Rights in Vietnam
Ke Lam, Asian Prisoner Support Committee

To RSVP or for more information, email

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AACTLA HALF DAY:  Voir Dire Training

Date: Saturday, January 20, 2018
Time:  8:30 am - 11:45 am
Location:  University of San Francisco School of Law
Address:  2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

Registration begins at 8:00 a.m.
Continental Breakfast provided
Program from 8:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Networking Luncheon 11:45 p.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Opening Remarks: Brendon Woods, Alameda Cty Public Defender
Presenters:     Martin Sabelli, Law Offices of Martin Sabelli
Leigh Johnson, "Trial Whisperer" Trial Consulting

Race matters in all criminal cases at every stage of the case. Juryselection is no exception. Instead of ignoring the elephant in the room -the color of our client's skin, juror biases, or other issues of race - master how to confront these concerns head-on with a race-relevant voir dire.

Register at
Free for all AACTLA members and law students, $20.00 for all others. 
Payments can be made via PayPal or by sending a check to "AACTLA, 1388 Sutter Street, Suite 805, San Francisco, CA 94805."


Martin Sabelli has represented individuals in state and federal courts since 1993 in a wide range of civil and criminal matters including complex federal white collar criminal prosecutions, multi-defendant federal conspiracy cases, federal and state gang-related prosecutions, and federal and state death-penalty matters.  He has taught for theNational Criminal Defense College (NCDC) since 2001 and for the Trial Advocacy Workshop of Harvard Law School, the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) as well as numerous other criminal defense and public defense programs around the country and abroad. He is the secretary of NACDL and a member of the Board of Regents of NCDC.

Leigh E. Johnson is a trial lawyer and founding principle at Law Offices of Leigh E. Johnson. Included under her business brands are: Trial Whisperer, a company which provides trial collaboration, co-counsel, and trial consulting strategies; Law Focus Groups, which conducts focus groups and mock trials to help lawyers understand the way laypersons and jurors might view their cases; and Lawyers and Leaders, which provides detailed analysis, brainstorming, and coaching for lawyers and executives looking for help with strategy and implementation. Leigh is a 2009 graduate of Gerry Spence's Trial Lawyers College (TLC) and has been on staff at TLC since 2010,  teaching trial skills to new and experienced lawyers several times a year. Leigh has also lectured on storyline development and focus group methods at Gerry Spence's Death Penalty College and the Capital Defense College in Texas. 

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December 2017 EVENTS

API Joint Holiday Party

Date: Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Time:  6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Location:  111 Minna Gallery
Address:  111 Minna Street, San Francisco, CA

Please join AACTLA and the participating API bar associations for this year's annual API Joint Holiday Party!

Cost: Free with RSVP
Appetizers and limited drink tickets to those who RSVP and are members of co-sponsoring orgs.

This event is generously co-sponsored by:
Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA)
Asian American Criminal Trial Lawyers Association (AACTLA)
Asian American Prosecutors Association (AAPA)
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley (APABA-SV)
Chinese American Lawyers of the Bay Area (CALOBA)
Filipino Bar Association of Northern California (FBANC)
Korean American Bar Association of Northern California (KABANC)
South Asian Bar Association of Northern California (SABANC)
Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California (VABANC)

For any questions, please email us at Hope to see you there and happy holidays!

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October 2017 EVENTS

Crimmigration:  Understanding Sanctuary Law and Protecting Our Clients

Date: October 23, 2017
Time: 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Location: East Bay Community Law Center
Address: 2921 Adeline St, Berkeley, CA 94703

Please join us for this important and timely training by Saira Hussain from Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus on the intersection of criminal and immigration law.  

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July 2017 EVENTS

Annual Minority Bar Coalition Mixer

Date: Thursday, July 13, 2017
Time: 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Everett & Jones
Address: 126 Broadway, Oakland CA (near Jack London Square)

Join MBC organizations for great barbeque, heavy appetizers, and drinks. 

Free admission for AACTLA members, as AACTLA has co-sponsored this event. Catch up with your mentors, mentees, and meet members of the sponsoring bar organizations. Hope to see you there! 

Click here to RSVP


May 2017 EVENTS

2017 AACTLA GALA!!!!

Date: May 25, 2017
Time: 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Location: Fillmore Heritage Center
Address: 1330 Fillmore Street, San Francisco CA

The theme for this year's gala is "TOGETHER WE RESIST" - we are bringing together the fight for immigration reform, criminal defense, and recognition of basic civil rights in this special night featuring JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS as our keynote speaker.  Vargas became an outspoken critic of current immigration policies after he came out as an undocumented person with his 2011 New York Times article.  He is also a Pulitzer Price winning journalist and founder of a nonprofit organization, Define American.  A portion of the proceeds from this event will go to Define American.

We will also present the 2017 JUSTICE AWARD, for a law student that has demonstrated his/her commitment to indigent defense.  We are proud to say that both of last years recipients are now practicing public defenders right here in the bay area!

Finally, we will honor ASSEMBLYMAN ROB BONTA for his leadership in immigration and criminal justice reform with our OUTSTANDING LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD.  

There is easy parking on the street and in the parking lot connected to the venue!  Please visit for event and ticket information.


April 2017 EVENTS

Cohosted by AACTLA:  "DEFENDER" Movie Premiere
60th San Francisco International Film Festival

Date: Saturday, April 15, 2017
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Castro Theater
Address: 636 Jackson Street, San Francisco CA

Please join AACTLA, AABA, and CAAM in this presentation of an exciting new film project by Emmy nominated director, Jim Choi, and Jeff Adachi, San Francisco Public Defender and AACTLA member!  DEFENDER tells the story of San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi who takes on the case of 22-year old Michael Smith, an African American man who pleaded not guilty in one of the first body camera cases in San Francisco when he was charged with battery on police officers and resisting arrest. This urgent documentary shows how far Adachi and his team will fight for the young man’s freedom while exposing racial bias through all levels of the judicial system. The film also underscores the Public Defender's fight to provide legal representation for detained immigrants facing deportation in the current political era.

FREE TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE WITH RSVP!  For more information and tickets, click here.


March 2017 EVENTS

Film Screening - "ABACUS : Small Enough to Jail" 
at CAAMFest35  (formerly SF Asian American International Film Festival)
Preceded by a short film by Jeff Adachi, "The Ride"


Date: March 12, 2017
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: Great Star Theater
Address: 636 Jackson Street, San Francisco CA

AACTLA proudly cohosts a screening for a film by Steve James (Hoop Dreams), that explores the evocative story of the Sung family-owned Abacus Federal Savings Bank, the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. James documents the family’s trial by judge and their own Chinatown community.

AACTLA will host a limited number of tickets for our members, so please contact us at for your free ticket!
This screening of Abacus will be preceded by a short film by San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, "The Ride". This film takes viewers on a personal and intense ride through the case of a young African American man who is charged with assaulting police officers after being falsely accused of a crime in a case with racial overtones. In this era of mass incarceration and police shootings of young African American men, how do we, as a society, grapple with the issues of racism and implicit bias in policing and its consequences for those who question police authority?

CAAMFest is recognized as the the nation's largest showcase for API films, annually presenting 130 works in SF, Berkeley, and San Jose. It has been an important source for new Asian cinema and has been an important launching point for Asian American independent filmmakers since 1982.

For more information about Abacus and CAAMFest, please go to:


February 2017 EVENTS

Cosponsored by AACTLA:  San Francisco Public Defender's Office presents...

Date:  February 22, 2017
Time:  5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Location:  Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Public Library
Address: 100 Larkin Street (enter at 30 Grove Street), San Francisco, CA 94102

Please join AACTLA, the San Francisco Public Defender's Office and our many community justice partners in a practical discussion about immigration law and mass deportation.  No family should be torn apart because they can't afford an attorney.  Learn how San Francisco can provide lawyers to help immigrants fight deportation and how YOU can help.  

The event is free to all attendees!

Click here for RSVP and more information.