Thursday, November 19, 2020
On March 30, 2020, California’s Chief Justice issued a sweeping emergency order suspending jury trials and implementing other changes to criminal procedure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, counties have been struggling to uphold the due process rights of the accused while simultaneously protecting defendants, jury members, and court staff from contracting the coronavirus. In conversation, Jason Anderson, 36th District Attorney of San Bernardino County, and Chris Gardner, the county’s Head Public Defender, will speak to these unprecedented challenges and highlight the collaborative work among the many actors in the criminal justice system to ensure the right to a fair trial in the age of a pandemic.
Jason Anderson is the 36th District Attorney of San Bernardino County. After graduating from Regent University of Law in Virginia in 1996 and becoming a member of the California State Bar in 1997, Anderson served as a deputy district attorney for the County of San Bernardino from 1998-2014 where he worked as a prosecutor handling a variety of serious cases. Anderson has been an adjunct professor of law at the University of La Verne College of Law since 2004 where he currently teaches a criminal procedure and trial advocacy class. Anderson was named Jennifer Brooks Lawyer of the Year from the western San Bernardino County Bar Association and he received the Above and Beyond Award from the National Crime Survivors Organization for his work on behalf of victims of crime. Most recently, he received the George W. Porter Criminal Trial Attorney Award from the San Bernardino County Bar Association in 2018.
G. Christopher Gardner was appointed Public Defender for San Bernardino County in 2018. Prior to his appointment he served as the Assistant Public Defender, and as a Chief Deputy Public Defender. Before joining the Public Defender’s Office, Gardner was a partner in a San Bernardino law firm practicing criminal defense and juvenile delinquency and dependency law. Gardner currently sits on the Board of Directors of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association and the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center; he recently was appointed by the California Chief Justice to the Judicial Council of California. A graduate of University of Redlands and the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, Gardner has lectured and taught at defender conferences throughout the country.