San Francisco, CA – Deputy Public Defender Patricia Lee, a 29-year veteran of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, will be honored with the California Wellness Foundation’s 2007 California Peace Prize. The 15th Annual California Peace Prize ceremony will be held in San Francisco on November 14, 2007. In recognition of her efforts to prevent violence and promote peace, Lee will each receive a cash award of $25,000.
Patricia Lee has served as a deputy public defender in San Francisco since 1978 and has practiced in the juvenile courts since 1981. She is currently the managing attorney of the San Francisco Public Defender’s juvenile office, a position she has held since 2001. Lee is also co-director of the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center, which seeks to improve the quality of representation provided by juvenile-delinquency attorneys.
Lee, an advocate of grassroots efforts that support low-income families impacted by the juvenile justice system, is a founding member of BMAGIC (Bayview Mobilization for Adolescent Growth in our Communities). Formed in 2004, BMAGIC is a collaborative of over 50 community-based organizations and government agencies that work to strengthen families, coordinate and improve youth services, and develop and implement strategies to reduce youth violence in Bayview-Hunters Point.
“If you have the right support services, the ability to work with the families, the ability to give a voice to and empower young people from within their own communities, the majority of youth will transition successfully out of the juvenile justice system,” Lee said.
Additionally, Lee has served as a technical advisor to the American Bar Association Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for the Due Process Advocacy Program, a national program, which seeks to increase children’s access to quality counsel in juvenile delinquency proceedings. Lee also established the country’s first placement program for girls who have been victims of exploitation.
Lee serves as the co-chair of the juvenile justice committee of the Asian Youth Advocacy Network. She is a member of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice, and a member of the Family and Juvenile Law Advisory Committee of the Administrative Office of the Courts, Center for Families, Children and the Courts. Lee is also a founding member of the Center for Young Women’s Development and past president of the San Francisco Delinquency Prevention Commission. She has been honored by the National Organization for Women and the Pacific Asian American Women Bay Area Coalition.
A native San Franciscan, Lee received an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a law degree from Lincoln University School of Law.
The mission of the Public Defender’s office is to provide vigorous, effective, competent and ethical legal representation to persons who are accused of crime and cannot afford to hire an attorney. Established in 1921, the San Francisco Public Defender has a long, proud history of providing top-notch representation to its clients, and championing programs that help people turn their lives around.