JJSC Membership


DAVID STEINHART (Chair) - David is the Director of the Commonweal Juvenile Justice Program and is the Senate’s appointee to the Board of State and Community Corrections. He is an attorney-advocate with a long track record of advising California legislators on juvenile justice law and policy. He was principal drafter of California laws removing children from adult jails, creating homeless youth programs and widening children’s access to mental health care. In 2007, he had a key role in the design of SB 81—the landmark juvenile justice reform that realigned non-violent youth from the state Division of Juvenile Justice to local control with $100 million per year in state funds. He served two terms as a California State Juvenile Justice Commissioner. He is a lead trainer for the Annie Casey Foundation’s national Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative. He is the author of multiple reports and publications on juvenile justice system issues.

JAMES BELL - James is the Executive Director of the Haywood Burns Institute in San Francisco. He is the nation’s leading lawyer-advocate and expert on strategies and solutions for minority overrepresentation in state and local juvenile justice systems. An inspirational speaker, James has been a leader in national efforts to reduce disproportionate minority confinement in youth detention facilities. He has earned numerous national awards for his cutting edge work in the field including Advocate of the Year from U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Leadership Award from the James Irvine Foundation and the ABA Livingston Hall Award for juvenile justice achievement.

ALEX BRISCOE - Alex is the Director of the Alameda County Health Services Agency. Previously he was Director of the West Oakland Chappell Hayes Health Center, an outpatient counseling satellite of Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland. He is a recognized expert in the design and delivery of adolescent health services. He has worked recently to develop school-based health and youth development centers in Alameda County through a consortium of public and private sponsors. His clinical work has focused on adolescents and the effects of trauma on healthy development. He is engaged in ongoing efforts to ensure that incarcerated youth with mental health disorders have coverage and access to appropriate medical and mental health services. He has a Masters in marriage and family counseling from the University of San Francisco.

SUE BURRELL - Sue is a staff attorney at the Youth Law Center in San Francisco with a long history of advocacy on behalf of children in delinquency proceedings. She was a lead architect of California laws increasing health care access for confined youth and creating new court rules for determinations of competency in delinquency proceedings. She trains detention facility staff on conditions of confinement and has served on multiple state panels to revise state standards for local juvenile justice facilities. She was co-counsel in a successful federal litigation that crafted new due process protections for California youth returned to state custody as parole violators. In 2011, Sue received the prestigious American Bar Association Livingston Hall award for distinguished work in the defense of children throughout the United States.

CHARITY CHANDLER - Charity serves as the youth representative on the JJSC. She is a both a former foster youth and a former incarcerated delinquent ward who has experienced the juvenile justice system from the inside. Through self-determination and help from community programs, Charity moved on to become an A student at Loyola Marymount University majoring in Communication Studies. She is active as a volunteer and advocate in Southern California, connecting foster and incarcerated youth to resources and services that can lead them to independence and higher education. She recently told an audience of 500 advocates and professionals at a Violence Prevention conference in L.A. that her mission is to show by example that justice-involved youth are capable of great achievements through the pursuit of education and community involvement.

LAURA GARNETTE - Laura Garnette is the Chief Probation Officer for Santa Clara County. She has extensive experience in the development and administration of juvenile justice programs addressing a wide range of youth characteristics, circumstances and needs.  In Santa Clara County she worked collaboratively to create new alternative-to-detention programs including a therapeutic day treatment program and a family centered, in-home Wraparound service program. She has contributed to the development of probation-based services for LGBT youth, dually-involved youth and youth with mental health treatment needs. As the former Juvenile Director in Santa Cruz County, Laura managed that county’s “model site” for the Annie Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), frequently cited and visited as a best-practice model of detention reform by stakeholders from other states.

HON. DONNA GROMAN -   Donna Quigley Groman is the Supervising Judge for the Juvenile Delinquency Court at the Edelman Children's Center in Los Angeles County. Previously she served as presiding judge at L.A.'s Kenyon Juvenile Justice Center. Before becoming a bench officer she spent many years representing children in delinquency and dependency cases in Los Angeles County.  She has a long track record of service and awards for community engagement and advocacy on children's rights and other humanitarian causes. She is an educator and lecturer for attorneys and judicial officers for CJER (the Center for Judicial Education and Research), and she also serves as a trainer on juvenile court law and practice for the juvenile court bar, foster family agencies and the Los Angeles Dept. of Children and Family Services.  Judge Groman has also served as a member of the BSCC Juvenile Justice Data Working Group.

DENISE HERZ - Denise Herz is a Professor of Criminal Justice at California State University in Los Angeles and was recently named the head of that department. She serves as a teacher, researcher and project director on juvenile justice issues, working with courts and probation departments to evaluate the needs and services for justice system youth with mental health disorders and for “crossover” youth (those with histories of involvement in both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems). She is a lead author of the recent, comprehensive national report on “Addressing the Needs of Multi-System Youth: Strengthening the Connection between Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice” (Georgetown University, 2012). Dr. Herz has worked with Superior Court, the Department of Children and Family Services, and the Probation Department in Los Angeles County since 2004 to document the characteristics and needs of crossover youth. In addition she brings expertise on criminal justice evaluation methodology and evidence-based practices to the JJSC.

GERRY LOPEZ - Gerry is a Senior Deputy District Attorney for Riverside County. He serves as the lead attorney for the Riverside County Community Prosecution Unit.  He has extensive experience in the prosecution of delinquency cases in Juvenile Court. As chief of the Community Prosecution Unit, Gerry works with community partnerships to reduce youth crime and youth gang participation.  He is lead counsel for the Youth Accountability Team (YAT) program in Riverside Count and is the local Coordinator for Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), providing gang awareness education and crime prevention training to local and community groups.  Among other awards, he has been honored as Juvenile Prosecutor of the Year in Riverside County, and as the State Prosecutor of the Year by the California School Resource Officers’ Association.   

SANDRA MCBRAYER - Sandra is the Executive Director of the Children’s Initiative in San Diego—an advocacy and service organization for at-risk children and youth. She is a highly regarded and accomplished advocate for children, youth and families across a broad spectrum of juvenile justice, education and social service disciplines. As an inspirational educator, she was named the U.S. Teacher of the Year by President Clinton in 1994. She chairs the State Advisory Group on Juvenile Justice, which oversees federal juvenile justice funds and programs in California. She has received numerous local, state and national awards for youth advocacy and service from government, education and community groups.

JULIO MARCIAL - Julio is a Senior Program Officer for the California Wellness Foundation. He directs the Foundation’s grant portfolio in the field of youth violence prevention. Through grant making and personal effort, Julio has fostered the development of a wide California network of youth service providers, gang outreach workers and violence prevention experts working collaboratively to reduce violence and to improve outcomes for at-risk youth in the juvenile justice system. Under Julio’s guidance the Wellness Foundation has played an important role over the years in the adoption of state policy reforms augmenting funds and services for justice-involved youth and expanding multi-disciplinary programs to reduce youth crime and violence.

LAUREN BRADY - Lauren is the Directing Attorney for the Public Counsel Law Center, Statewide Education Rights Project. She manages a team of lawyers and advocates to unite litigation, legislation, direct representation, community partnerships and policy change to create a model for education reform across California. The focus is on improving educational outcomes for youth in foster care, expanding educational opportunity for young people in the delinquency system, and reforming school discipline practices and policies. Lauren’s experience leading up to her arrival at Public Counsel includes the development and implementation of the Legal Educational Advocacy Project, providing educational advocacy to juvenile clients of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.

DAVID BEJARANO - David is the Chief of Police for the City of Chula Vista. On August 28, 2009, David Bejarano was appointed as the City of Chula Vista’s 23rd Chief of Police. During his tenure with the Chula Vista Police Department, the city has received national recognition as one of the safest cities in the nation. Additionally, in 2011 the Police Department was nationally recognized for “best practices in Community Policing,” by the Altus Global Alliance. Chief Bejarano is a native of El Paso, Texas, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from National University. He is a graduate of the 191st session of the National FBI Academy and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar, Quantico, Virginia.