Sean Garcia-Leys is a civil rights attorney and public safety advocate who works to end law enforcement’s counterproductive gang suppression strategies.
He has successfully fought gang injunctions in LA, Orange, and Ventura counties; was instrumental in reducing the number of people in the CalGang database from 200,000 to 60,000 and ending LAPD’s participation in CalGang; and has testified as a gang expert in immigration court where he has successfully helped stop deportations.
His research has been published in white papers by the UC Irvine Law School and the Urban Peace Institute that are widely cited in academic publications, and he is a frequent source for the news media regarding gang policing.
He is the recipient of the 2017 Chicano Hero award from Chicanxs Unidxs and the 2018 Equal Justice award from the ACLU of Southern California.
Before becoming an attorney, Mr. Garcia-Leys worked as a high school teacher in Watts and East LA, and as a labor organizer.
Jesse Engel is a founding director of the Peace and Justice Law Center. He is a historian and screenwriter who brings to the Center a wealth of knowledge regarding mental health and substance abuse recovery.
Patrick Palma is also a founding director of the Peace and Justice Law Center. He is a musician and information technology specialist.