San Diego County Bar Foundation’s Indigent Criminal Defense Fund Awards $290,000 to Homeless, Juveniles and Veterans

San Diego County Bar Foundation’s Indigent Criminal Defense Fund Awards $290,000 to Homeless, Juveniles and Veterans

SAN DIEGO (March 16, 2018) – The San Diego County Bar Foundation (SDCBF) has awarded $290,000 to organizations through its Indigent Criminal Defense Fund, benefiting those that deliver effective legal representation and programs to assist accused people who cannot afford to hire an attorney.

Seven nonprofits serving the homeless, juveniles, veterans and wrongly convicted criminal defendants in North County, Central/Downtown San Diego and East County will receive funds from SDCBF’s 2017 grant cycle.

“The legal assistance, programs and support we fund can be life-changing for these individuals.” said SDCBF President Neal Rockwood. “We’re thrilled to report that we’ve helped hundreds of indigent individuals, including homeless veterans, with their criminal defense needs, which is precisely the reason for the Indigent Criminal Defense grants.”

Grantees include:

  • California Veterans Legal Task Force – $30,000 for consultation and educational assistance to criminal defense lawyers representing veterans in California Superior Court. In many cases, with the help of a supported defense counsel, the organization assists veterans diagnosed with psychological conditions stemming from their military service to receive life-improving treatment.
  • California Western School of Law – $100,000 to bring a post-graduate law student on as a full-time fellow to work on the California Innocence Project for wrongful conviction cases.
  • Free to Thrive – $30,000 for attorney services and a paid law student to help clients who need assistance expunging their criminal records.
  • National Conflict Resolution Center – $50,000 to help expand the Restorative Community Conferencing project as an alternative to the juvenile court system for those who have been arrested.
  • St. Vincent de Paul Village – $30,000 to help prepare homeless defendants for superior court sessions. Staff also work with participants to identify and overcome the causes of their homelessness.
  • Think Dignity – $50,000 for Think Dignity’s “The Homeless Youth Legal Advocacy Project,” which provides homeless youth ages 14 to 24 with direct representation for criminal defense services.

The SDCBF manages two funds: one that provides much needed legal resources to foster children and at-risk youth, the sick and disabled, the elderly, immigrants, and domestic violence victims through nearly a dozen organizations every year, and its Indigent Criminal Defense Fund. ICD funds are available due to the Private Conflicts Counsel program run by the San Diego County Bar Association.

For more information about the San Diego County Bar Foundation, or to make a donation, visit

About San Diego County Bar Foundation
The San Diego County Bar Foundation (SDCBF) is the charitable arm of the San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA). Through this partnership with the San Diego County legal community, SDCBF aims to benefit underprivileged communities in the region, by providing them with access to support, funding and public service programs with legal services. The foundation’s beneficiaries include more than 50 legal aid and public interest organizations. For more information, visit