Annual Awards Program on October 20, 2022

Annual Awards Program on October 20, 2022

Please join us as we celebrate this year’s recipients of the Roland K. Hall Award and the Access to Justice Award.

This year our awardees are: Madeline Boriss for the Roland K. Hall Award and Michael Mehr will receive the Access to Justice Award.

The event will be held on Thursday, October 20, 2022, at the Seymour Marine Education Center located at 110 McAllistar Way, Santa Cruz, from 5:00-7:00pm.

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About the award recipients

Roland K. Hall Award to be presented to Madeleine Boriss

The award is presented by the SCCBA to attorneys who have displayed outstanding public service to their community. The recipient must be a California lawyer, living or working in Santa Cruz County, who excels in the profession, is in good standing with the Bar and has provided outstanding community service over the years. In addition, the recipient should epitomize the spirit of Rollie Hall and be a credit to his memory. He or she should be eclectic and kind-spirited, someone who works hard, 

Madeleine Boriss

I was born in Brooklyn, NY, and grew up on Long Island, in the hamlet of Jericho.  After graduating from Jericho High School in 1966 I attended SUNY Stony Brook in Stony Brook, NY graduating in 1971.  I moved to California shortly after that, waiting tables in San Jose and, eventually, Santa Cruz.  I began law school in 1973, and graduated from Santa Clara in 1976, the same year I took and passed the bar.  I worked during and after law school in the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s office until 1985, and I worked my way up from handling traffic citations to death-penalty murder cases.  After I left the DA’s office I took a year off and traveled as much as I could, until I spent all my savings and had to contemplate returning to the labor force.  I opened my practice in 1986, concentrating on criminal defense work and family law.  I said goodbye to crime by 1993, and became a certified specialist in family law by 1990, which is all I have been doing since then.  I have been married to Mike McClellan since 1988 and have a cat named Hobbes, my hobbies are gardening, word-puzzles and travel.

Access to Justice Award to be presented to Michael K. Mehr

The recipient must be a California lawyer who works and/or lives in Santa Cruz County, who is competent and in good standing with the Bar, and who has provided outstanding service over the years to the poor, the elderly, the disenfranchised, or the community at large.

Michael K. Mehr

Michael K. Mehr got his B.A., with honors, in Politics in 1973 at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He got his  J.D. in 1976 at the University of San Francisco School of Law. After law school Mr. Mehr returned to Santa Cruz where he started the Santa Cruz Law Center, a low income legal clinic in 1977.  After going into private practice in 1979  he initially focused on family law and bankruptcy, but he found time to represent the following clients: UCSC students protesting apartheid; poor farmworkers who were defrauded by a Watsonville store which failed to send remittances to Mexico; protesters arrested in demonstrations supporting the Watsonville Cannery strike; students  disenfranchised in an election challenge to two City Council candidates; and, county jail inmates who successfully obtained an injunction against the Sheriff in 1979 for detaining non-citizens without authorization from the INS. 

Since 1980 he has practiced removal defense and post conviction relief. He is coauthor of Defending Immigrants in the Ninth Circuit: Impact of Crimes Under California and Other State Laws (10th ed  2008 ILRC) and a co-author of “Representing the Noncitizen Criminal Defendant” in California Criminal Law Procedure and Practice (Cal CEB 2008-Present).  He is a frequent lecturer at local, state, and national MCLE programs on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions and frequently gives his time pro bono to write amicus briefs. He is of counsel to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. 

He was the expert witness in the seminal case of People v. Bautista (2004) 115 CA4th 229 (failure to defend against immigration consequences may be ineffective assistance of counsel). He has five published Ninth Circuit opinions from 2010 to 2022, all establishing more stringent standards before immigrants can be deported. He is most proud of his work helping to  draft and lobby for bills which were signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown benefiting immigrants including P.C. §1203.43 (allowing the vacatur of DEJ convictions based on misinformation as to immigration consequences) and the 2017 amendments to P.C. §1000 (providing for pretrial diversion for minor drug offenses rather than DEJ). In 2022 alone he has helped 15 clients become naturalized U.S. citizens, some after vacating their prior convictions because they were not advised of the actual immigration consequences. 

Mr. Mehr is the managing partner of Mehr & Soto, LLP in Santa Cruz. He is married to Ruth Mehr, who is also an immigrant from Israel. He has two adult children, one grandchild and enjoys to hike in Wilder State Park.