Opening Session

Keynote speaker for 2018: Frankie Guzman

Attorney Francis (*Frankie”) V. Guzman is a juvenile justice attorney at the National Center for Youth Law.  Raised in a poor mostly immigrant community plagued by crime and drugs, Guzman experienced his parents’ divorce and his family’s subsequent homelessness at age 3, the life-imprisonment of his 16-year-old brother at age 5, and lost numerous friends to violence. At age 15, he was arrested for armed robbery and was sentenced to serve 15 years in the California Youth Authority. After serving six year he was released feeling hopeless, desperate and afraid of failure and decided to do something different.  He enrolled in community college, where he says he was rehabilitated, transferred to U.C. Berkeley where he graduated with a B.A. in English and went on to attend UCLA School of Law and became an expert in juvenile law and policy.

Keynote speaker for 2017: Jimmy Cha

Our exciting day will begin with the opening session featuring Jimmy Cha, a nationally recognized criminal defense attorney, who despite his gang involvement and incarceration at a younger age became an extremely successful attorney in Orange County.

Jimmy Cha grew up in Los Angeles. From early on, Jimmy, a troubled youth, had come into contact with law enforcement. By the time he was 24, he had been arrested numerous times for all different types of crimes.  Despite this troubled background and late start in life, he became a very successful attorney in Orange County.

Life has not been easy for Jimmy.  He grew up poor in Los Angeles, raised by parents who lost everything during the 1992 Los Angeles riots.  Jimmy spent his youth involved in gangs, and committing numerous crimes. By the time he was 24, his parents had had enough.  Jimmy was told to get a job and get out the house. Jimmy was looking for work when his brother convinced him to go back to school.  He started at community college, received a partial scholarship into UCLA, and then went to law school.

He now has a very successful law practice, the Law Office of Jimmy Cha, and dedicates his practice solely to criminal defense. His background and experience has provided him with a unique point of view of the criminal system that allows him to advocate on behalf of his clients. He truly believes that good people often times make bad choices and/or decisions in life, and that everyone is entitled to good legal representation.

Mr. Cha is one of the very few, if not only, criminal defense attorneys in the State of California who is a certified gang expert. This means that other attorneys often seek his advice for his unique knowledge and understanding of gangs. He has testified in court as an expert on gangs, prison inmate classification, and the perils of gang life.  Jimmy Cha was included on The National Trial Lawyers’ list of Top 100 Trial Lawyers, and nominated as Top 40 Under 40 Criminal Defense Lawyers by The American Society of Legal Advocates. He was also selected as Southern California’s Outstanding Young Lawyers by Los Angeles Magazine, and as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers.  Mr. Cha continues to give back to the community by serving as a guest speaker and as a mentor to inner city youth.


Fabian Debora

The day begins with the opening session featuring world renowned muralist, Fabian Debora, sharing his transformative story of how a near death experience awakened him from the darkness of gang life, incarceration and drug addiction and how art changed his life.


Vincent Gartin

A native of Indianapolis, Vincent Gartin experienced system contact with both juvenile and adult probation earlier in life. During his late teens and 20s, Mr. Gartin’s life revolved around drugs/alcohol and gangs. His criminal activity netted him two stays in the Indiana Department of Corrections from which he was discharged in 2000. A successful three-year probation period followed.

Since his discharge from probation, Mr. Gartin has remained active with Narcotics Anonymous while speaking to numerous groups including active probationers. His unique and inspirational message details his ongoing sobriety, adoption of a pro-social lifestyle, and the influence of a memorable and never wavering grandmother who served as both anchor and role model.

Since October 2010, Mr. Gartin has worked for the City of Indianapolis, Department of Public Works, as a refuse collection driver. A pardon process for Mr. Gartin is currently in place with the Indiana Parole Commission.


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