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Mia Frances Yamamoto

Born in Poston Relocation Camp, Arizona, 1943. Graduated Cal State University, Los Angeles, B.S. Government 1966. U.S. Army, 1966 - 68, 4th Infantry Division, USARV received Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, et. al., 1967-68. UCIA School of Law, co-founded Asian Pacific Islander Law Student Association, J.D., 1971. Poverty lawyer for Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, 197I - 1974; Deputy Los Angeles County Public Defender and California State Public Defender, 1974 - 1984 Private practice since 1984.

Past President of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, a statewide organization of 2,500 private and public defenders; Co-Chair of the Multi-Cultural Bar Alliance (coalition of minority, women's, and gay and lesbian bar associations); and past president, Japanese American Bar Association. Served on the CaliforniaJudicial Council Statewide Task Forces on Jury lmprovement and Fairness and Access. Current boards include the Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Criminal Courts Bar Association, and International Bridges to Justice (a Human Rights group providing Due Process education to the judicial systems of China, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia); having previously served on the boards of the L.A. County Bar Association and ACLU of Southern California. Other organizations include Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, National Lawyers Guild; Philippine American Bar Association, Korean American Bar Association and several others.

Classroom lectures, panel discussions and demonstrations, include the panel on "Race and Criminal Justice", George Washington University Washington, D.C., for the 1999 President Clinton's initiative on Race; "Cultural Defenses, Pro and Con" and "Community Law Practice" for the ABA 1999 Atlanta; "Miles to Go", ABA 2000 New York City; "Cultural Defenses" and "Lawyers in the Media" for the 1999 NAPABA Convention, Los Angeles, 1999 "Elimination of Bias" lecture series for Lawyers' Mutual Insurance Company; "Religion and Death Penalty Voir Dire" for CACJ/CPDA Death Penalty Seminar 1996; "Cross Examination" and "Final Argument" for the annual Trial Skills Workshop, sponsored by the LA Asian Pacific Bar Associations, and others, having previously taught Criminal Procedure for the Takasugi Pro Bono Bar Review Course for over 15 years.

She is a frequent media commentator on issues relating to criminal and constitutional law, juvenile law, death penalty, gun control laws, racial discrimination, police misconduct and a variety of related issues primarily for: (print) LA Times, LA Daily Journal; (radio) KPFK, KPCC; (television)KCAL Channel 9, Fox Channel 11, NBC Channel 4, KCET Channel 28, (cable) MSNBC, CNN, Court TY and other cable and foreign media.

Past honors include Awards from the Criminal Courts Bar Association of Los Angeles, Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Southern California chapter of the National Lawyers Guild-and the Los Angeles County Bar Association Criminal Justice Section "Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year" for Z0OZ. Named one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in California" by California Daily Journal, 2002. Named "Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year" by the Century City Bar Association in 2006. Voted "Southern California Super Lawyer" by her peers, Los Angeles Magazine, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008.

Watch the video of Mia Yamamoto receiving the American Bar Association's Spirit of Excellence Award 2008: