mid 30 something jump street – our first live show

The last episode for 2017 of the Aider & Abettor Podcast is now up on iTunes, SoundCloud and other podcast platforms.

Avi and Sajid recorded this episode in front of a live audience for the first time- 8th graders at Jordan Middle School in Palo Alto, CA.

Avi Singh talked about representing a client named Edgar at a re-sentencing hearing after he had been previously sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for a murder conviction he suffered at 17 years old. Sajid shared portions of his recent closing argument at a transfer hearing where he advocated for my client, just 16 at the time of an accused murder, to remain in juvenile court rather than being prosecuted as an adult.

They took several questions from the students about life as a #publicdefender, including representing guilty people, our definitions and conceptions of justice, dealing w/ prosecutors and why we chose this career:

Please listen and share!


State Action with Ash Kalra


On this episode of Aider & Abettor, California State Assemblymember Ash Kalra joins Sajid and Avi.  Ash is the first Indian American state legislator in California.  Before being elected to the California State Assembly, Ash was a public defender in San Jose, CA (at the same office as Sajid and Avi) for over 10 years and then served as a San Jose City Council member for 8 years.


In the Opening Statement, Ash describes his path to public defense and then to elected office.  Ash reflects on representing clients in drug cases during the height of Three Strikes and the war on drugs.  The three share stories about Indian Public Defender misidentifications.  They also reflect on the experience of pursuing careers in law (specifically public defense) as children of South Asian immigrants.  

In the Deep Dive, Ash, Avi and Sajid discuss recent major criminal justice reforms in California, changes unimaginable just a few years ago such as the establishment of a tiered sex offender registry.  They break down other reforms that target mass incarceration on the front end by eliminating sentence enhancements and allowing judges to use their discretion and on the back end by creating new parole opportunities for young offenders and the elderly in our prisons. They discuss what the next frontier of criminal justice reform will and should look like.


At the end of the show, Sajid and Avi share their “Things,” both reflecting on special, memorable moments with clients.

Watch Bench Notes Episode

Filmmakers Chris Knight and Kimy Martinez produced a video of our conversation with Retired Judge Ron Del Pozzo.  They set us up in a very cool space at the Roosevelt Community Center in the heart of San Jose.  Check it out!

Bench Notes: We talk to Retired Judge Ron Del Pozzo about Bail, Plea Bargaining, and the Campaign to Recall a Judge

In this episode of Aider & Abettor, Avi and Sajid are joined by retired Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Ron Del Pozzo, someone who they both appeared in front of during their public defense careers before the Judge’s retirement.

In the first segment (2:20), they all discuss the nuances of plea bargaining in criminal cases including the relative power of judges and prosecutors during the process. The conversation dovetailed into reflections on the interplay of bail, plea bargaining and outcomes for indigent people compared to the more affluent accused of crimes. They brainstorm ways to help level the playing field and to achieve more fair dispositions for all.

In the second segment (42:30), Avi, Sajid and Judge Del Pozzo trade thoughts on the trial of Brock Turner, his sentence and the effort to recall Judge Aaron Persky. Judge Del Pozzo shares about what it was like to run for Judge against Persky, his thoughts about Turner’s sentence and his view of Perksy’s reputation on the bench. They question the prudence of the recall effort and discuss the recall’s potential consequences.

In the last segment (1:19:38), they each share their “things,” including new criminal justice legislation in California about drug sales priors and sex offenders, the Warriors’ relationship with San Quentin Prison and advice from Judge Del Pozzo on how to counter hate with love.

The intro, outro, and transitions are by @leerosevere.

P.S. This episode was recorded at the Roosevelt Community Center in San Jose and was videotaped by Chris Knight and Kimy Martinez of StabbyDoll Productions. It was a very cool experience to work with Chris and Kimy. Please check out the video of the episode here: youtu.be/N-BYk8bb0_w

Kristin Carter joins Avi to talk about the ACLU after Charlottesville, jury selection, and the pardon of Joe Arpaio

Sajid was on a pilgrimage during this episode.  (You can check out some of his thoughts about the experience here.)  Here is Sajid’s write-up of the episode:

“As you probably know, I was out of the country for two weeks on my Hajj Pilgrimage to Mecca so couldn’t record a new Aider & Abettor episode.

But that doesn’t stop the pod! Avi Singh and guest co-host Kristin Carter, our awesome friend and public defender colleague, recorded what might be our best episode yet. They talked the ACLU, the pardon of Joe Arpaio, the trial of Martin Shkreli, the Wu-Tang Clan, Taylor Swift and more.”

Please listen and share! It’s on SoundCloud, iTunes, stitcher and buzzsprout.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/aider-abettor/id1198837585?mt=2 …

https://www.buzzsprout.com/118143/562126-reclaiming-our-time-with-kristin-carter-aka-respecting-the-wu-tang …

https://soundcloud.com/user-139217541/reclaiming-our-time-with-kristin-carter-aka-respecting-the-wu-tang …

Our music is by @leerosevere.


Whose Courts? Avi and Sajid talk about Participatory Defense with De-Bug

In the 10th episode of Aider & Abettor, Avi and Sajid welcome guests Raj Jayadev and Charisse Domingo of Silicon Valley De-Bug (siliconvalleydebug.org), a community organization in San Jose focused on storytelling and advocacy for the marginalized and criminal justice reform.

In their “Opening Statement,” Avi and Sajid talk with Raj and Charisse about the origin story of De-Bug, how they met (they’re a community organizing power couple), and how De-Bug became a leading voice on police violence after the police killing of a San Jose resident. They discuss the participatory defense model (acjusticeproject.org) started by De-Bug that is now spreading across the country. Raj and Charisse talk about De-Bug’s effort on bail reform and share how people can best get involved and make change, especially in the aftermath of the chaos in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In their “Deep Dive,” Avi and Sajid talk Colin Kaepernick with Raj and Charisse. Raj and Charisse recount how Colin reached out to De-Bug and what they were able to accomplish with Colin’s donation to De-Bug as part of his “Million Dollar Pledge” campaign (kaepernick7.com/ck7-october-donations/). Raj describes meeting and working with Colin at a local “Know Your Rights Camp” (kaepernick7.com/know-your-rights-camp/) hosted and organized by Colin for youth to raise awareness on higher education, self empowerment, and instruction to properly interact with law enforcement. Sajid shares his decision to boycott the NFL in solidarity with Colin (thesajidakhan.tumblr.com/post/1640414…t-the-nfl-in).

To close the episode, Avi, Sajid, Charisse, and Raj do their Things.

We have new music for episode 10. Many thanks to @leerosevere

Episode 9 is up: The Return with Kevin Bilal Chatman [All We Need Is Three Mics]

In the 9th Episode of Aider & Abettor, Sajid and Avi welcome their first ever guest: Kevin “Bilal” Chatman.

Bilal, born and raised in San Jose, got a new lease on life after voters passed Prop. 36 in 2012 which amended California’s Three Strikes Law.   Bilal, then serving 150 years to life in prison, was released from prison and has since been a model of redemption and voice for criminal justice reform.

You can see Bilal in the Emmy-nominated documentary “The Return” on Netflix (https://www.netflix.com/title/80107949) and on a powerful segment from John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” on HBO (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJtYRxH5G2k&feature=youtu.be).

In their “Opening Statement,” Sajid and Avi  talk with Bilal about his over 10 years in prison, what motivated him to change despite a life sentence, his release from prison after Prop 36, the challenges of re-entry like learning to use a cell phone and getting a job, and what it was like to go on John Oliver’s show.

In the “Deep Dive” segment, Sajid, Avi and Bilal break down the recent decision by the Nevada Parole Board to release OJ Simpson from prison.  They each share their take on OJ’s parole, including Sajid sharing why he celebrated OJ’s release (http://thesajidakhan.tumblr.com/post/163242361004/celebrating-the-parole-of-oj-simpson).  They talk about whether OJ’s parole experience was typical, the challenges of parole release and whether or not we should consider larger scale parole opportunities for the elderly in our prisons.

Sajid, Avi and Bilal finish up with their “Thing(s).”  Avi shares the new Aider & Abettor Twitter handle (https://twitter.com/AiderAndAbettor @AiderAndAbettor [follow us!]) and praises Senators Kamala Harris and Rand Paul for their bipartisan effort to overhaul our bail system a (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/20/opinion/kamala-harris-and-rand-paul-lets-reform-bail.html).

Sajid shouts out “Ear Hustle,” a new podcast generated out of San Quentin Prison produced by inmates sharing the tales of prison life (https://www.earhustlesq.com/).

Bilal closes out the episode by recognizing the radio show “Street Soldiers” (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/street-soldiers-radio/id1042442760?mt=2) and by talking about “The Return Project” (https://www.thereturnproject.com/).