Micaela Davis is a staff attorney at the ACLU of Northern California, where she engages in litigation and advocacy in the areas of criminal justice, economic justice, and open government.
Micaela’s recent cases include Rubicon v. Solano County Superior Court and Hernandez v. DMV which challenge the court and DMV for statutory and constitutional violations in suspending low income individuals’ driver’s licenses for failure to pay traffic fines; Stiavetti v. Ahlin, a case challenging the state hospital system for cruel and unconstitutional delays in treating defendants with psychiatric or intellectual disabilities who have been declared incompetent to stand trial; and a public records suit against the CDCR which forced the agency to turn over records documenting the race, sex and other identifying information on state prisoners sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for crimes committed as juveniles.
She has co-authored recent amicus briefs in the California Supreme Court on resentencing under Proposition 47 as well as on taxpayers’ ability to sue to stop criminally illegal conduct by the government. She also assists with the organization’s public defense litigation and bail reform advocacy. Micaela’s prior litigation includes a class action lawsuit against Monterey County for unconstitutional jail conditions and public records suits.
Before joining the litigation group, Micaela was a policy attorney on the ACLU of California’s Criminal Justice and Drug Policy team working to reduce over-criminalization and over-incarceration at the state and local levels through increasing the use of pretrial release, expanding alternatives to incarceration, and reducing penalties for low-level drug possession. Prior to joining the ACLU, Micaela was a litigation associate at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, where she worked in the firm’s sovereign representation practice and was a core member of a team representing a pro bono client on federal death row in post-conviction proceedings. The team was successful in securing their client a new trial based on evidence of juror misconduct that occurred during the original trial. Micaela also worked on a pro bono project with the Bronx Defenders challenging low-level marijuana possession charges stemming from unlawful stop and frisks.
Micaela received a B.A. in Geography from U.C. Berkeley and her J.D. from U.C. Berkeley Law. At Berkeley Law Micaela participated in the Workers’ Rights Clinic, interned in the East Bay Community Law Center’s Clean Slate Practice, and was a student advocate in the Death Penalty Clinic. She also interned for the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office, and the Brennan Center for Justice.