A Commitment To Excellence

A Passion For Justice

Board Of Directors

FDSDI was charted in 1972 under the Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law for public purposes. FDSDI is governed by a nine-member board of directors. The board selects and oversee the executive director for the organization. The board meets approximately quarterly to discuss the business of the organization and projects of the board as a whole.

The board names four officers – President (two-year term) and the Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer (one-year term). To facilitate its work it has a number of committees, both standing and ad hoc. Examples include Finance, Management Liaison, Awards and Annual Dinner, Board Development, Nominating, etc.

At the Annual Defender Dinner, which it sponsors, the board presents the Conant-Cleary Award for exceptional and unselfish devotion to protecting the rights of the indigent accused.

Members are chosen by the present board for three-year terms. They receive no compensation for their service.

Our close proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border has a strong influence on our caseload. The majority of our clients are charged with drug and immigration related offenses. Our attorneys also have the opportunity to represent clients facing a wide variety of federal charges, including bank robbery, fraud, counterfeiting, pornography, assault, and firearms offenses.

At present the FDSDI Board of Directors includes:

  • President: Mary Ellen Attridge, Criminal Defense Attorney
  • Vice President: Laura Schaefer, Criminal Defense Attorney
  • Secretary: Gary Burcham, Criminal Defense Attorney
  • Chief Financial Officer: Frederick W. Kosmo, Jr., Partner, Wilson Turner Kosmo LLP
  • Andrew Nietor, Criminal Defense & Immigration Attorney
  • Callie A. Bjurstrom, Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • Juanita Brooks, IP Trial Attorney, Fish & Richardson
  • Hon. William McCurine, Jr. (Ret), Retired Federal Magistrate Judge
  • Floralynn Einesman, Professor at California Western School of Law