The Yolo County Public Defender's Office is a community partner. In addition to giving back to non-profit organizations that benefit the Yolo County community, our office provides knowledgeable professionals as speakers for local community, civic, and social functions. We have spoken to groups regarding: criminal and constitutional law, providing an overview of the criminal justice system, providing an overview of the juvenile justice system, explaining constitutional rights of the accused, and defining the role of the Yolo County Public Defender's Office in the criminal justice system.
We are available to speak to the local community, civic organizations, students, or social organizations. If you are interested in having a representative from the Yolo County Public Defender's Office provide information to your group please contact Yolo County Public Defender Tracie Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Examples of Our Community Outreach Include:
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Lee Middle School
Monica Brushia went to Lee Middle School for ½ a day. She gave 2 power point presentations to 7th and 8th graders on the basics of What Being a Public Defender is All About. The presentation takes about 20 minutes and covers basic rights, typical day for a public defender, how to become a public defender, how it is in the “system” (pictures of the hall) and some real life trial cases. Kids were very engaging and asked a number of questions. Since it was career day, the emphasis was on how to become a public defender and then starting salaries as a public defender, benefits, vacations, etc.
Know Your Rights at the Yolo County Juvenile Hall
Monica Brushia took her What Being a Public Defender is All About presentation on the road and shared it with the kids at the Yolo County Juvenile Hall. They were very engaged and also asked many questions about different cases. Kids were told about how serious crimes or any gang enhancements can increase the amount of time spent in jail/prison/hall.
Yearling Mock trial competition.
Monica Brushia has volunteered at the competition for the past 7 years or so. The competition is held at the Federal Courthouse sponsored by McGeorge School of Law. There is always an Ethics issue in the fact pattern given to the students. Teams come from all over the USA and the mock trials takes an entire morning or afternoon. She has been a scoring judge evaluating each student on various aspects of a trial…opening, direct, cross, and closing. The team is then scored as a whole. The talent that comes to this competition is superb. After the trial, the judges are asked to critique each student to give them pointers and constructive criticism.
Presentation at UC Davis
Karen Soell spoke to an undergraduate sociology class of about 100 students at UC Davis regarding the Yolo County Public Defender and our role in the criminal justice system. The class was focused on learning about the various agencies working and involved in the criminal justice system. She also spoke to them about juvenile delinquency court and gave a brief overview of how the juvenile system works.
The Yolo County Public Defender's Office often participates in various forms of charitable donations. For instance, each year the office participates in a donation for the United Way. The funds that are raised are contributed to nonprofit organizations within Yolo County to benefit its residents.
Similarly, the office frequently participates in clothing donations. In 2014 the Yolo County Public Defender's Office sponsored a clothing drive to raise money for the Fourth & Hope homeless shelter in Woodland. In prior years the office has also donated sweaters purchased by employees to the Wayfarer Center which provides emergency services, residential treatment and transitional housing to Yolo County residents in need.
Each year the Yolo County Public Defender's Office participates in educational programs at various schools throughout the area.
Since 2012 Chief Duty Public Defender Allison Zuvela has coached the River City High School Mock Trial Team in the Sacramento County Mock Trial Competition. While participating in Mock Trial, students actively experience the excitement of working in teams, exchanging ideas, setting goals, and examining issues while interacting with positive role models from their communities.
In 2013 felony supervisor Monica Brushia spoke to a Regional Occupational Program Administration of Justice class at Woodland High School in Woodland. Ms. Brushia educated the class about the criminal justice system and the role of the Public Defender. Her presentation was part of a series of instruction in which the students also received lessons from a representative of the Yolo County District Attorney's Office and the Honorable Steven M. Basha.
In 2012 and 2013, felony supervisor, Monica Brushia, and felony attorney, John Sage, acted as judges in McGeorge School of Law's Ethics Trial Competition. This National Ethics competition features both an ethical component in the issues to be tried and scoring based on the participants' observation of ethical and civility principles.
In 2012, juvenile delinquency attorneys, Andrea Pelochino and Stephen Betz, spoke to a mock trial class at River City High School in West Sacramento. They educated the mock trial class about the juvenile court process, their roles as Deputy Public Defenders and issues surrounding juveniles' Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights.
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Last Updated: 10/2014