Justice Project Celebrates 1,862 Years in Time Saved

By the Numbers: 1,862

Six years ago, community organizer Raj Jayadev formed the Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project (ACJP)—named after an aspiring lawyer killed in a drive-by shooting—to help families caught up in the criminal justice system. As he began taking on more cases, he grew frustrated when, despite all the services he connected them to, they relinquished so much control once the case went to the courtroom.

To affect real change, Jayadev thought, he would have to bridge the divide between the legal establishment and the community. That realization grew into a methodology called “participatory defense.” The idea is to work with public defenders and connect them with a client’s family and community, so they can more effectively tell their full story in court.

Through this model, families become extensions of the legal defense team by scouring police reports, reading transcripts, offering defense strategies and speaking up for the defendant.

About 80 percent of the 2.5 million Americans behind bars have relied on public defenders to represent them in court and influence the outcome of a case. By facilitating participatory defense in more than 400 cases, the ACJP has won acquittals, had charges dismissed or reduced, changed prison terms to rehabilitation sentences and even knocked life sentences off the table.

When accounting for the original maximum sentences and subtracting what the defendant actually received after community intervention, the justice project has saved people a combined 1,862 years of incarceration.

Last week, a group of former inmates, their families and friends, ACJP volunteers and public defenders all met at Zero One Garage in downtown San Jose to celebrate the time saved. Jayadev says the plan is to hold a celebration every 1,000 years saved from now on as the program expands into communities around the nation.

Below is a documentary screened at the event, which chronicles the story of Lisa Coulter, who was released from a life sentence after 18 years through Prop. 36 and the advocacy of her family and public defender.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. This sounds like a BS statistic compiled by a self-promoter to appear relevant and aid his solicitation of donations. Only very rarely do criminal defendants receive the maximum sentence possible, regardless of whether Jayadev’s organization is involved. That’s simply the nature of the Criminal Justice System. For Jayadev to claim credit for this fact is, unsurprisingly, less than honest. My congratulations also go out to Jennifer Wadsworth for apparently doing absolutely zero investigation into this claim before writing her puff piece.

    • Jayadev’s Silicon Valley-De-Bug is a “Freak show” pandering to a generation who feel entitled not to accept personal responsibility for their actions.

      It is indeed unfortunate that the media affords Jayadev any credibility at all.

      Further, it is unfortunate that the San José Inside has focused its attention to give social outcasts, the criminal element and other associated miscreants notoriety as being “leaders in the community.”

      The reading public in the blogosphere deserve much better.

      David S. Wall

  2. These groups catering to crooks have wasted a whole lot of time and energy …all they had to do was fool the same idiots who passed “pension reform” into legalizing pot and passing a Prop 47.

  3. Just asking.

    Is the Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project (ACJP) a tax exempt non-profit?

    How much money has ACJP raised?

    From who?

    Does Raj Jayadev receive compensation (salary, “expenses”, back scratching) from ACJP?

    How much?

  4. Was Albert the De-Bug member that was killed in a drug transaction, or was that one of the other few members that was murdered? I can’t recall exactly, because quite a few of the convicts in that organization have been involved in violent ccrime and the media rarely reports the connection… They only use Raj when they need a damning quote for a SJPD hit piece or to promote his self-serving interests.

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