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Cuauhtemoc Ortega
USC Gould School of Law

Cuauhtemoc Ortega

Lecturer in Law

699 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90089-0074 USA

Last Updated: August 30, 2021




Cuauhtemoc Ortega was appointed Federal Public Defender (FPD) for the Central District of California in October 2020 by the judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He began working in the Office of the Federal Public Defender in 2010 as a trial attorney, after working for a brief period at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP. As a trial attorney, Ortega handled numerous jury trials regarding a wide-range of offenses, including firearms, fraud and criminal threats. In 2016, he became a supervisor and chair of the Office’s Diversity Committee; he was promoted to chief deputy in 2019. In his current capacity as Federal Public Defender, he supervises over 200 trial, appellate and habeas attorneys and legal support staff across three offices in Los Angeles, Santa Ana and Riverside.

Ortega is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where he was Executive Articles Editor of the Columbia Law Review and recipient of the Archie O. Dawson Prize for Oral Advocacy. Upon graduating from Columbia, he served as a law clerk to the late Hon. Alicemarie H. Stotler, United States District Judge for the Central District of California.

He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA, where he also served as editor in chief of the Daily Bruin student newspaper. He currently sits on the Executive Committee of the California Lawyers Association’s Criminal Law Section and on the Judicial Appointments Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. 

FACULTY IN THE NEWS

Law360
May 18, 2022
Re: Elyn Saks

Elyn Saks was quoted in a story on state bar questionnaires that include questions about mental health, with some states deciding to eliminate such questions. "It may be that things are changing around the mental health story, and it may even be that COVID is helpful," she said. "It's kind of a silver lining that more people have experienced anxiety and depression and fear because of COVID, and may be able to empathize more with people who feel those things because of conditions." Story is behind paywall.

RECENT SCHOLARSHIP

Ariela Gross
March, 2022

“Becoming Free, Becoming Black: Race, Freedom, and Law in Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana,” Centre International de Recherches sur les Esclavages at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France.

Camille Gear Rich
March, 2022

“No More Boxes to Check: Imagining The Anti-Racist Law Firm,” NALP Annual Education Conference, New Orleans, LA.

Thomas D. Lyon
March, 2022

“Disclosure Among Child Abuse Victims” (with K. London and M. Eisen), Fourth Zoom Psychology and Law Symposium: Children in Legal Settings, Maastrict University, Maastricht, Netherlands.