SUSAN W. LEFF
SUSAN W. LEFF is the Assistant Public Defender for Nevada County. Susan is the first lawyer in her family. She dedicated her career to helping others through advocating for indigent defendants, prosecuting rogue police officers, teaching law students and training other lawyers. Most recently, she was an Adjunct Law Professor at Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, where she taught Criminal Litigation, Trial Advocacy, the Criminal Litigation Clinic and was previously the Acting Director of Externships. She has been a deputy public defender in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Napa and San Francisco counties. While at the San Francisco Public Defender's Office, she began a police practice project and trained new lawyers in the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment, all while carrying a full felony caseload, including homicides. She received an award in recognition of her contributions in the area of police practice.
In 2004, she worked at the San Francisco Office of Citizen Complaints (now the Department of Police Accountability), where she exclusively investigated and administratively prosecuted police officers. After leaving that job, she opened her own law practice specializing in police misconduct issues. She conducts numerous trainings on identifying and handling police misconduct for attorneys and other criminal defense professionals throughout California. She received the National Defense Investigator’s Association 2011 Profiles in Courage Award in recognition of her dedication and professionalism in training criminal defense professionals and her willingness to speak truth in the face of adversity.
In addition, since 2012, Susan has served as co-coordinator of and a presenter at the annual California Public Defenders’ Association (CPDA) Basic Trial Skills Program. Currently she is on the Board of Directors for CPDA and is working on legislative policing issues.