I was born in St. Louis, Missouri and graduated from Clayton High School I graduated with a degree in political science from the University of Chicago. I next attended the University of California Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law. While attending law school I worked on police practices matters with the NAACP West Coast Regional Office in San Francisco, Oakland and later in Richmond, California.
After law school, I was a legislative advocate for the America Civil Liberties Union Affilliates of Northern and Southern California in the Sacramento Legislative Office. As an ACLU legislative advocate I worked on legislation to limit the ability of law enforcement agencies to strip search individuals who were detainees for non-violent misdeameanor offenses. The bill was approved by the Legislature, then vetoed by Gov. Deukmejian who later signed a revised version of the bill into law.
I also worked on AIDS policy and medical privacy issues.
I next worked for 25 years as a staff attorney with Legal Services of Northern California primarily handling administrative law matters. I handled a number of Social Security disability cases for residents of Placer County through a contract with LSNC and the Placer County welfare department. Clients whose claims were approved were also approved for Medi-Cal. I sucessfully took a number of these cases to judicial review proceedings before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California where the SSA hearing decisions were vacated and the cases send back to SSA for rehearing. In most of those cases, the disability claim was granted.