The Board of Directors of Appellate Defenders

The Board of Directors of Federal Defenders



2021 Annual Defender Dinner

Al Fresco Social Event

Friday, November 19, 2021

5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, 910 Broadway Circle, San Diego

Please join us for our annual dinner to bring together the entire San Diego criminal defense community. In light of the ongoing pandemic, this event will take place at The Westin’s heated outdoor terrace, featuring warm cuisine, a cash bar, and a fun social gathering with no formal program. We will properly celebrate achievements and milestones the next time we are able to hold a full, indoor event.

We request that all guests be fully vaccinated or have a negative Covid PCR test result within 72 hours of attending the event.


$30 per person

Click here for the invitation

ADI Panel Attorneys: contact Amy Spintman for a discounted rate.



Presentation of the following awards will be made at the 2022 Annual Defender Dinner:

CONANT-CLEARY AWARD1 for exceptional and unselfish devotion to protecting the rights of the indigent accused to Barton C. Sheela III, Alternate Public Defender

PAUL BELL AWARD2 for significant achievement on appeal to Vincent J. Brunkow, Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., Chief Appellate Attorney

Special Director's Award to Elizabeth Missakian

Special Tributes to Gerald Blank, John Cleary, John Mitchell, J. Perry Langford, and Charles Bird.

Past Speakers include:

2019: Cecillia Wang
Scott Sanders
David Bruck
Goodwin Liu
2015: Jeffrey L. Fisher
2014: Hon. Irma E. Gonzalez
2013: Justice Cynthia Aaron
2012: Donald Specter , Executive Director of the Prison Law Office
2011: Wilbert Rideau
2010: Honorable Carlos Moreno
2009: Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift and Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mizer , Counsel for Guantanamo detainees
in the Federal Courts
2008: Bryan Stevenson , Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama
2007: Sister Helen Prejean

1. The CONANT-CLEARY AWARD for exceptional and unselfish devotion to protecting the rights of the indigent accused. This award is named in honor of Stan Conant and John Cleary. Stan Conant was the founding Director of the Defenders Program in San Diego. He was widely respected as an advocate and tried many death penalty cases. Under his direction, that office successfully established itself in the community and paved the way for the establishment of the Office of the Public Defender in the mid-1980's. John J. Cleary was the first Executive Director of Federal Defenders from 1971 to 1983. It was during this time, that Federal Defenders developed into a distinguished and highly respected office, where attorneys were trained extensively in federal law and trial skills, and expected to aggressively represent clients from trial and through appeal.

2. The PAUL BELL AWARD is presented in honor of significant achievement on appeal. The Award is given annually by the Board of Directors of Appellate Defenders and Federal Defenders in memory of Paul Bell, beloved Assistant Director of Appellate Defenders until his untimely passing in July 1997.


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