The Alameda County Bar Association has reported a shortage of lawyers for those who can’t afford legal representation and who don’t qualify to be represented a public defender due to conflicts of interest as the the county’s court system begins to reopen following a two-year closure due to the COVID pandemic, East Bay Times reports.
The Court Appointed Attorney Program (CAAP) is tasked with representing defendants who are turned away by the county public defender’s office due to conflicts of interest by the hundreds and sometimes thousands every year.
Private lawyers working the CAAP due so at greatly reduced fees in order to prevent the justice system from becoming backed up. CAAP Director Andrea Zambrana last year attempted to convince a judge to prevent a lawyer from resigning from a case involving an Oakland man who faced life in prison for child molestation.
“In 2021, CAAP has received over three times the number of referrals where the defendants are facing a life sentence than it has in previous years,” Zambrana wrote. “This has been an unexpected and sudden increase, with the majority of these referrals coming in the latter part of the year.”
Brendon Woods, who joined the public defender’s office in 2012, said that he’s “committed” to lowering the number of conflicted cases after seeing 4,500 cases be declared conflicts of interest during his first year.
Temperatures around the Bay Area are expected to climb as high as the 80s and 90s today, increasing the risk of fires in Solano County and the Central Valley with hot and dry conditions, KRON4 reports.
High temperatures and wind are expected to last until Wednesday before cooling off for the rest of the week. Temperatures around the East Bay will range from the low to mid 90s today.
Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir (OIGC) has merged with the Oakland Youth Chorus following discussions in September last year and a six-month review process by each organization’s board of directors, East Bay Times reports.
The merger was finalized last month through an acquisition completed by OIGC with a goal to “achieve shared stability and increased community impact,” according to a press release.
“Our board assessed the landscape and chose to refocus on our founding purpose: our choral program,” says Patrick Zimski, board president for OYC. “OIGC’s mission aligns so well with our own, and their leadership and longevity make them an ideal partner.”
The merger is also expected to help meet the increased demand for the number of performances over the next 18 months.
“By the fall of 2023, we anticipate there will be a resurgence of interest in youth and community choirs, with a need for a focus on access and equity,” said OIGC’s board president, Nicolia Gooding. “This merger will set the stage for our ensembles and programs to meet that need from a position of strength.”