1 The Official Newsletter of MABA 2010 Volume 6, Issue 1 Mary Orozco: MABA The President s Message Founding Member & The law firm of Moreno, Becerra & Casillas, an honoree and a Platinum Legal Pioneer By Lily Keenan-Villanueva Sponsor, was unsparing in their contribution to the Gala. Similarly, the law firm of Moreno & Perez (MABA s home) continued its noble support of the organization through another Platinum Judy Perez being sworn in by Judge Teresa Sanchez Gordon as MABA's 2010 President founders and in 1962 was the only woman to serve on the first official board of the Mexican American Lawyer s Club. She served as 2nd Vice President that year and was still active when the group changed its name to the Mexican American Bar Association. sponsorship. For years, Mary was Loyola Law School s Moreno & Perez have first Latina Alumna and the afforded MABA spacious On behalf of MABA s 2010 Board, I want to Mary Orozco is one of MABA s first Latina in California history thank all of you who attended and supported rent-free facilities and we are grateful for their this year s 50th Anniversary Gala & Installation generosity. Last but certainly not least, we Dinner. It was a very special night for all of us as would like to thank our Dinner s Bronze During her career, she was also a it marked 50 years of MABA triumphs and Sponsors, Adorno, Yoss, Alvarado & Smith; The member of the East Los Angeles contributions to our community. We count on Disney Company and U.S. Bank. We urge you Montebello Bar Association and held your support of our dinner in order to make the to consider these MABA sponsors in your every board position throughout her year a success and truly appreciate you coming professional membership. out to celebrate. and personal to pass the State Bar in Born in 1928 in Whittier, California, dealings. Mary is one of five children born to I also want to reiterate our appreciation for our Gala Sponsors. Our Anniversary Sponsor, Union The Gala was indigent Mexican immigrants. She Bank once again supported our dinner in a made even credits her father as the driving force major way. We could not have done it without more behind the strength she found to their generous contribution. We were also very spectacular by establish her own private family law fortunate to count on the support of The Vega the presence of numerous dignitaries sharing in practice overcoming much Settlement Group. This successful structured MABA s festivities, not the least of which were the discrimination as a woman, and more settlement company not only sponsored the honorees for the evening. The night started off specifically as a Latina lawyer. champagne for our toast, they also donated with a bang as our Public Service Award Honoree, the commemorative flutes that we all took Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made his remarks home that night. Mary stated that when she first started her practice there were judges and See President on page 2 See Founding Member on page 4 MABA is committed to the advancement of Latinos in the legal profession and the empowerment of the Latino community through service and advocacy.
2 2 President continued from page 1 after being introduced by the one and only Dolores Huerta. Our oldest living MABA President, Herman Sillas, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Spanish radio personality and Immigration rights activist Eddie Piolin Sotelo was the evening s Community Service Award Recipient. Judy Perez with family and Mayor Villaraigosa MALDEF President & General Counsel Thomas Saenz received the Attorney of high schools in our neighborhoods. If you are the Year Award. Lastly, this year we unveiled the interested in participating please contact me inaugural Moreno, Becerra & Casillas Award. It directly or contact the MABA office. Any amount recognized the firm for their work on behalf of of time you give can truly make a difference. Latino plaintiffs and will be awarded from now on to firms who effectuate MABA s mission Also, take a look at the Calendar of Events statement of empowering the Latino community included in this Newsletter. If you are already an in their daily practice. active member, I thank you for your continued support. If you haven t come by in During this, MABA s a while, I encourage you to pay Golden Year, I hope to your dues and give MABA continue the great work another chance. We are doing that Mario Trujillo, really good work and I know you MABA s 2009 President, will have a great time meeting accomplished during his new people, catching up with presidency. His vision and old friends and giving back to determination to develop the community. I look forward an infrastructure for to meeting more of you this year and I thank MABA s Law School Outreach Committee was you very much for allowing me the opportunity truly groundbreaking. As a result, MABA now to lead this amazing organization. has vice chairs at almost every law school that report directly to MABA s Student Trustee. This Hasta Pronto, structure allows MABA to maintain an ongoing dialogue with the Raza students at each campus. I hope you all join in MABA s efforts to give back and mentor our Latino students. I know we are 2010 MABA President all very busy but the commitment does not need to be more than a couple of hours per month. In addition, we will continue to put on career panels at the various law schools MABA Past Presidents in attendance at MABA s 50th Anniversary Celebration and visit some of the 2010 MABA President Judy Perez with outgoing MABA President Mario L. Trujillo 2010 EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS & TRUSTEES EXECUTIVE BOARD Judy Perez, President Law Office of Judy Perez Victor Acevedo, President-Elect Los Angeles County Public Defender s Office Rigoberto Arrechiga, Vice-President Los Angeles County Public Defender s Office Elizabeth Perez Uribe, Secretary Law Office of Enrique Arevalo Annaluisa Padilla, Treasurer Law Office of Jacobs & Vega Eber Bayona, Newsletter Editor Law Office of Eber N Bayona Miguel Espinoza, Membership Director Los Angeles County District Attorney s Office BOARD OF TRUSTEES Gladdys J. Uribe Law Office of Enrique Arevalo Guillermo Santiso Los Angeles County District Attorney s Office Sean Andrade Law Office of Baute & Tidus, LLP Lillian Vega Jacobs Law Office of Jacobs & Vega Robert F. Jacobs Law Office of Jacobs & Vega Pete Navarro Law Office of Pete Navarro Steven Beltran Law Office of Steven Beltran Efrain Aceves Los Angeles County District Attorney s Office Cindy Panuco Law Office of Hadsell, Stormer, Keeny, Richardson & Renick Cristina Peña USC Law Student Chair of 2010 Student Outreach Committee Maria Torres Executive Administrator MAIN OFFICE Mexican American Bar Association of Los Angeles County 714 West Olympic Boulevard, Suite 450 Los Angeles, CA Tel: Fax:
3 Mexican American Bar Association of Los Angeles County 3 March 4 March March 27 April April 8 April 16 May May 13 May 27 June 17 June 19 June 24 July 9 July 31 August 26 September 23 October 4 October 14 October 28 November November 18 December MABA Calendar of Events Law Student/Attorney/Judge Mixer Law School Panels (Loyola/UCLA) 2 nd Annual Softball Tournament Japanese Consulate Mixer Law School Panels (USC/Southwestern) EXPOSE Benefit Concert Sacramento Lobbying Trip Spring Mixer at the Moreno, Becerra and Casillas Law Firm CLE: Immigration Law CLE: Nuts & Bolts for new admitees 2nd Annual Community Legal Fair CLE: Criminal Law Golf Tournament at the Quiet Canon Golf Course in Montebello CLE: 7 th Annual DUI Seminar Summer Mixer Law School Panels (Loyola/Whittier) First Monday in October Law School Panels (USC/UCLA/Southwestern) Judges Night Annual Trip: Panama Elections Holiday Party Please remember to pay your annual membership dues Your dues help MABA continue its success within the community, for law students, attorneys, political candidates, social events and keeping YOU informed! contact the maba office today at Advertising Rates and General Information Submitting Ads/Articles/Images Ads All ads must be submitted via as a high-resolution PDF or JPEG only. Articles Submit your article as a Microsoft Word document only (.doc) via to the MABA office at Articles submitted may not be longer than 2 pages in length (1 page is approximately 525 words). Please note: There is no guarantee that your article will appear in the MABA newsletter and it may be edited. Editor s Note I am honored to serve as newsletter editor during this historic year when MABA celebrates Fifty years of service to the Latino community. MABA has accomplished much during its lifetime and is poised to continue being a trailblazing organization, breaking down barriers and helping change the face of our legal system. This year MABA will continue to build on the foundation that has been laid for the past Fifty years. The board has planned an exciting calendar of events that includes several CLE seminars, student outreach at various law schools, free community legal fair, as well as a fun-filled trip to Panama. In addition, MABA will continue to work closely with MABA México in its efforts to serve as a leading voice in México s judicial reform efforts. It truly is inspiring to see MABA s dedication to the legal community reach across borders. As part of the Fiftieth celebration, I plan to highlight members involved during MABA s early years to ensure that our story is memorialized and available to those who will one day celebrate MABA s 100th Year Anniversary! Again, I look forward to an exciting year and to sharing this excitement with you through this newsletter. Eber Bayona Newsletter Editor Images Any images you submit must be your own, public domain or fall within the guidelines of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1999 and/or the Copyright Act of Rates & Sizes Full-page (V) Dimensions: 8 X 10.5 Cost: $1,000 Back-page (V) Dimensions: 8 X 10.5 Cost: $1,250 Half-page (H) Dimensions: 8 X 5.25 Cost: $600 Payment Ads must be accompanied by a check for full payment 10 days before publication. Make checks payable to MABA. For your convenience, we now accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Circulation Approximately 1,200 Quarter-page (V) Dimensions: 3.75 X 4.7 Cost: $325 Business Card (H) Dimensions: 2 X 3.5 Cost: $150 V = Vertical H = Horizontal Questions Please call us or drop us an at
4 4 Founding Member Continued from page 1 attorneys that did not want to see a woman in a courtroom. Amidst fits of laughter, she recalled how a bailiff, assuming she was a criminal defendant in custody, nearly handcuffed her as she tried to leave the courtroom and despite Mary s declaration that she was an attorney, did not allow her to leave until she had presented written proof of her attorney status. Consequently, Mary was very excited when approached about forming MABA because she finally had a place where she was accepted and could ask questions and discuss issues. This was important to her because in her won words, when you establish a practice, you re all alone, it s just you at a time when you need guidance, someone to teach you MABA was helpful because you could rely on them, there was a sense of solidarity amongst us. Now retired, Mary remarks that while she Helping to End the Widow Penalty By Victor Acevedo Alan Diamante 2005 MABA President For over 37 years, widows and widowers of U.S. citizens have been penalized in a most glaring example of deliberate injustice on the part of the Executive Branch. In 2004, for example, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ( USCIS ) ruled that Mrs. Carla Freeman, a widow, no longer qualified for adjustment of status because she was not considered a spouse since her citizen husband s death had occurred before they had been married for two years. In Freeman v. Gonzales, 444 F.3d (9th Cir. 2006), the Court held that the USCIS contention that Mrs. Freeman s spousal status was stripped by her husband s untimely death was contrary to congressional intent. Although Mrs. Freeman won her case, she gave up her fight for residency and returned to her native South Africa because the government wore her Mexican American Lawyers Club On September 22, 1962, the Mexican American Lawyers Club held its first installation dinner. State Attorney General Stanley Mosk installed the new officers: Standing, left to right: Herman Sillas Jr., Alfonso D. Hermo, Frank E. Munoz, Antonio G. Bueno, Raymond Cardenas, Ruffo Espinoza, William G. Figueroa, Jose g. Villarreal, Manuel Hidalgo, Adolfo Bustos,Manuel Q. Sanz. Sitting, left to right: John A. Arguelles, Rodolfo Rivas, 1st Vice President; Manuel S. Martinez, President; Miss Mary V. Orozco, 2nd Vice President; F. Fernandez Solis, Executive Secretary; Carlos F. Borja Jr., Treasurer; and Manuel Avila. doesn t really miss practicing, she does miss the people she used to serve. She especially misses the ability to reach out and help when it s most needed. Mary is currently involved with the East Los Angeles Women s Center and the Catholic Daughters of America, both organizations dedicated to helping women, children, the homeless and the needy. down. Meanwhile, her attorney, Brent Renison, unfulfilled by his victory, continued his cause to change the USCIS national policy. In 2007, Mr. Renison approached MABA s 2003 Attorney of the Year and 2005 President, Alan Diamante, to join him in the fight for justice. The USCIS attempted to neutralize the spirit of the Freeman decision by requiring widows to file a petition for humanitarian reinstatement with many restrictions before lawful permanent residency could be granted. Entirely disenchanted with the government s multiple due process violations and poor immigration policies in recent years, on August 30, 2007, Mr. Diamante personally filed a class action case in the United States District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of multiple plaintiffs as pro bono counsel (Hootkins v. Napolitano (CV ). On May 1, 2009, the court found that plaintiffs who reside in the Ninth and Sixth Circuits were See Widow on page 11 MABA PAST PRESIDENTS 2009 Mario Trujillo 2008 Pete Navarro 2007 Efrain Aceves 2006 Claire Cifuentes 2005 Alan R. Diamante 2004 Edward Ortega 2003 Maribel Medina 2002 Cristina Perez-Gonzalez 2001 Luis Rodriguez 2000 James E. Blancarte 1999 Arnoldo Casillas 1998 M. Leslie Stearns 1997 Maria Villa 1996 Yvonne Flores 1995 Enrique Arevalo 1994 Martha Melendez 1993 Martha Romero 1992 Raul Granados 1991 Raul Ayala 1990 Marcia Gonzales-Kimbrough 1989 Debra Gonzales 1988 Monica Jimenez 1987 Gustavo Barcena 1986 Armando Duron 1985 Carlos Zaragoza 1984 Jaime Cervantes 1983 James E. Blancarte 1982 Honorable Carlos Moreno 1981 Esther Valadez 1980 Oscar Parra 1979 Daniel Garcia 1978 Honorable John Martinez 1977 Honorable Ben Aranda* 1976 Lawrence De Fuentes* 1975 Frank Munoz* 1974 Stanley Delnick 1973 Honorable Joseph Armijo* 1972 Ernest Gallego 1971 Honorable Victor Chavez 1970 Oscar Munguia* 1969 Lorenzo Pereyda* 1968 Manuel Aranda (resigned) 1967 Manuel Valenzuela* 1966 Martin Castillo 1965 Honorable Ray Cardenas 1964 Herman Sillas 1963 Manuel S. Martinez* * Deceased
5 ...working together with MABA. Proudly Housing MABA s Main Office.
6 50th Anniversary Awards Gala & Installation of Officers & Awards February 6th, 2010 Judy Perez was sworn in as President at MABA s 50th Installation Dinner. With approximately 700 guests in attendance, it was truly a night to remember and a milestone in MABA s history. Sandra and Judy 2010 MABA Board at the 50th Anniversary
9 Anita Castellanos: MABA Founding Member & Lifetime Volunteer By Lily Keenan-Villanueva Anita Castellanos, is a business woman and an attorney who has pioneered the cause of Mexican-American women in professions traditionally held by men. She is an achiever, leader, and community role model. Born in 1939, in a little wooden house at Boyle and Pleasant streets in Anita Castellanos Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles, to a Founding Member beautician and a barber, Anita s dream was to become a lawyer. She wanted to make her community proud of their ethnicity and culture-especially the young girls and women of her barrio. Anita realized her dream and received her J.D. degree from the University of Southern California in 1963, and at age 24, became the second Mexican-American woman to be admitted to the State Bar of California. Anita has overcome many personal struggles having singlehandedly raised four children while working as a licensed real estate broker and a senior partner at her law firm where she specialized in probate and real property matters. Throughout her career she has been a member of over fifteen groups in which she volunteers her time, energy and money for the benefit of others such as W.A.V.E. (Women Advancing the Valley through Empowerment and Education), a 27 unit transitional home for women victims of domestic violence and their children, Comision Femenil Mexicana (organization of Latina women seeking to advance the image of Latinas of all ages and walks of life), and Club Jaliscience (organization that works toward furthering the brotherhood between the Mexican-American business community and its counterpart in the State of Jalisco, Mexico). Sitting at La Fonda Restaurant in Los Angeles, Anita described in detail that her greatest accomplishment was taking over the management of run-down, drug-infested property on Boyle and Pleasant in 1993 and converting it into what is now officially known as Mariachi Plaza de Los Angeles. In 1998, she was honored by KMEX-Mervyns California as first runner up in the Outstanding Latina Woman of the Year Award for her work as a volunteer. She also received the coveted Volunteer of the Year award from the March of Dimes for her work with the Viva los Ninos and the Comenzando Bien projects. Still very active in her community, Anita currently volunteers as a commissioner on the Police Permit Review Board.
10 10 MABA México CLE: Comparative Law Seminar By Eber Bayona On Thursday February 4, 2010 MABA held its first Continuing Legal Education ( CLE ) Seminar of the year. MABA México attorneys served as panelists and covered several topics of interest to our members. Irma Cano started off the discussion with a comparative analysis of governance models and highlighted the differences between U.S. County level governments and México s Gobiernos Municipales. Having recently been elected as a councilmember ( Regidora ) in Guadalajara, Jalisco, she was able to provide real life experiences and highlighted the differences by which local leaders are elected in the respective systems. MABA México Delegation with President Judy Perez and MABA Board Members Rolando Gutierrez followed and provided a detailed comparison in the area of Family Law. Audience members were surprised to learn about the requirements necessary to procure a divorce in México. His perspective on already created new rules and regulations and have incorporated oral arguments, while others have made little progress. In addition to participating in the CLE, members of MABA México met with Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, Los Angeles County Public Defender Michael Judge, Supervising Criminal Judge Peter Espinoza and Civil Court Judge Teresa Sanchez Gordon. During the various meetings, MABA México s delegation, headed by President Carlos Moyado, expressed an interest in becoming more actively engaged in the reform efforts in the state of Jalisco. With that in mind, they came with the intent of learning from our system and to establish rapport with our judicial system leaders in order to create opportunities for Mexican attorneys to visit the U.S., and upon returning to México, share their experiences with others. President Moyado felt that all of the meetings were fruitful and was very pleased with the support offered by everyone they met with. the differences in the laws between México and the U.S. led to a lively exchange between the audience and the panelist. Miguel Heded continued to engage those in attendance by providing a detailed account of the role of a Notario in México. He discussed a myriad of issues with an emphasis on practical problems that MABA attorney clients here in the U.S. may encounter. He ended his lively presentation by focusing on inheritance and tax implications when effectuating the sale of property in México by someone living in the U.S. Dante Reyes was the last panelist of the night and covered the issue of México s Judicial Reform. Mr. Reyes provided some alarming crime statistics, which he said served as the impetus for México to embark on the monumental task of overhauling its entire judicial system. Mr. Reyes explained that all of the states in México have a little less than six years to implement the required changes, the most challenging of them being the requirement to incorporate oral arguments in a system that has exclusively relied on written materials. He noted that some states in México have MABA México Delegation with District Attorney Steve Cooley MABA México will continue to work closely with 2007 MABA President Efrain Aceves to establish a three-day workshop that attorneys from México can attend here in Los Angeles, the third week of June. Anyone interested in helping facilitate this important event please contact Efrain Aceves at
11 Mexican American Bar Association of Los Angeles County 11 Widow continued from page 4 entitled to immediate relative classification based on their status as surviving spouses of deceased United States citizens. The court also found that the USCIS regulatory policy in response to the Freeman decision was invalid. However, widows in all the other Circuits continued to be subject to the USCIS absurd widow policy, which had predated the Freeman case. MABAs 50th Anniversary Commemorative Painting by Herman Sillas Our Journey In a nationwide effort to protect similarly situated plaintiffs, lawsuits were filed across the country. Mr. Renison created a webpage, Surviving Spouses Against Deportation (ssad.org) to provide news and copies of the Hootkins pleadings for lawyers to use the data to file actions in every Circuit. In addition, the webpage allowed the media to track the story. According to Mr. Diamante, technological innovations like the Internet are modern legal weapons in the fight for justice. It makes a national campaign easier and faster. Every widow or widower had a human story about a deceased citizen spouse and his or her family. For example, one widow was married to a retired war hero while another was married to an actor from the original Star Wars movie. Actions were soon filed in every Circuit. The technological advances not only enhanced the litigation but moved it forward at an incredible pace. In June 2009, CBS News 60 Minutes aired a segment entitled For Better or Worse, highlighting the cases of widows. As Mr. Diamante explains, there was a clear momentum to get a law that ended this still continuing practice passed. On June 9, 2009, Department of Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the government would cease the prosecution and deportation of widows. Smart immigration policy balances strong enforcement practices with common-sense, practical solutions to complicated issues, said Secretary Napolitano. Then on October 15, 2009, the House of Representatives passed the bill to end the Widow Penalty, followed by the Senate on October 20th. Finally, the culmination of these efforts came on October 28, 2009, when President Obama signed the bill into law, effectively ending the Widow Penalty once and for all. Mr. Diamante is glad that he did not wait for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. He says, this case is a testament to what attorneys can do if they are justice driven. For a full account of this incredible story, go to Alan Diamante is a California State Bar Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law in Los Angeles. In addition to handling immigration human rights cases, he is a leader in the fight against Immigration Consultant Fraud and Chair of the Consumer Protection Committee of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Artist s comment: As I painted this painting and placed the last names of the founders on each brick, my mind returned to those early years and a sadness settled over me for those who did not survive to witness the fifty year success of their vision. I dedicate this painting to them and thank MABA for the opportunity it created for me to take this journey. Only sixty (60) Giclée signed copies (18 x36) on rag paper of this painting will be available for purchase at $ each plus tax and shipping. They may be ordered by reaching Herman Sillas at or or by visiting
12 Mexican American Bar Association of Los Angeles County 714 West Olympic Blvd., Suite 450 Los Angeles, CA 90015
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