Jonathan Laba

Jonathan Laba is an assistant public defender in Contra Costa County, where he has practiced since 1997. He has worked in a broad variety of assignments, including felonies, juvenile delinquency, and pretrial writs and appeals, and has represented clients in cases ranging from misdemeanors to capital murder. He currently manages the office’s Misdemeanor and Specialty Courts units, directs the office’s law clerk and externship programs, and assists with developing training programs for the office.

Mr. Laba has a special interest in juvenile justice issues. He is the Vice President of the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center, a 501(c)(3) organization that provides support to juvenile trial lawyers, appellate counsel, law school clinical programs, and nonprofit law centers to assure quality representation for children in juvenile delinquency proceedings throughout California. From 2008 to 2011, Mr. Laba participated in the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network (JIDAN), an initiative that engaged juvenile defenders, policymakers, judges and other key stakeholders in designing strategies to improve juvenile indigent defense policy and practice. Since 2006, Mr. Laba has co-authored the chapter on juvenile delinquency proceedings in California Criminal Law: Procedure and Practice, published annually by the Continuing Education of the Bar. Mr. Laba regularly organizes and presents at conferences for juvenile defenders.

In addition to his teaching activities at Berkeley Law, Mr. Laba is an adjunct faculty member at Golden Gate University School of Law, where he teaches Children and the Law.


B.A., University of Virginia (1989)
J.D., UC Berkeley School of Law (1996)