Seth Morris concentrates on criminal defense in California trial courts and federal courts. Before joining the Cooper Law Offices, Seth was a Deputy Public Defender in Alameda County, California for nearly a decade handling all types of cases including robbery, rape, child molest, domestic violence, vehicular manslaughter, human trafficking, and murder. He has a broad understanding of California law as well as the U.S. Constitution. Before he was a public defender, Seth was a litigation associate at the San Francisco office of Latham & Watkins LLP, one of the largest and most prestigious law firms in the world.
From 2012 to 2013, Seth served as a Commissioner on the Berkeley Police Review Commission, Berkeley’s citizen oversight board that reviews police department policies and complaints of officer misconduct. Seth is a nationally-recognized expert on police body cameras. In 2015 Seth was selected by the U.S. Department of Justice to contribute to its Body-Worn Camera Toolkit. As part of the White House’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Seth has been flown to Washington DC twice by the DOJ to share his expert perspective on the use of police body cameras.
Between college and law school Seth taught 3rd grade at Lincoln Elementary in Compton, California as part of a two-year commitment to teach in an under-resourced school district through Teach for America.
Seth is a graduate of Columbia University, receiving a B.A. in Philosophy in 2001.
Seth has been a guest on MSNBC, NBC Bay Area, and NPR and his writing on criminal defense and police reform issues has been published in the Washington Post, Salon, and Vanity Fair. Below is a partial list of his recent publications and appearances:
April 6, 2017: Panelist in Washington D.C. at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers live seminar, “Policing Body Cameras: Shaping Policies and Defending Cases in Body Camera Jurisdictions” Link here
November 9, 2016: Guest speaker at the California Defense Investigator Association Fall Seminar on Police Body Cameras and how they can be used in preliminary hearings and trials to confront officers with their own in-field conduct. http://cdia.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/DIA-FALL-SEMINAR-2016-AGENDA.pdf
April 22, 2016: NBC Bay Area interviewed Seth in a special investigation report on local police’s use and misuse of body cameras. Part 2 of 2. Link here: http://bit.ly/2b276Rt
Feb 11, 2016: NBC Bay Area interviewed Seth in a special investigation report on local police’s use and misuse of body cameras. Part 1 of 2. Link here: bttp://bit.ly/2b29TXM
November 6, 2015: Guest speaker on the Body Camera Panel at The Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal symposium entitled: “21st Century Civil Rights: Community Empowerment Police Reform.”
September 29, 2015: Guest Lecturer at Professor Nikki Jones class at UC Berkeley in the Dept of African American studies discussing race, poverty, and the crisis of mass incarceration in the criminal justice system.
July 15, 2015: Seth was interviewed by Brendan Bartholomew for his SF Examiner piece regarding the lack of a public defender’s office in San Mateo County. Piece here: http://bit.ly/1Jnrkfa
July 9, 2015: KQED (local NPR affiliate) aired a piece Seth wrote about the importance of public defenders in the conversation about police misconduct in local communities. Link here: http://bit.ly/1Oko0Wp
May 18, 2015: The U.S. Dept. of Justice rolled out its national Toolkit on the use of police body cameras. Seth was interviewed and featured on the site, offering the public defender’s perspective on the use of body cameras. Link here: http://1.usa.gov/1Lfe3LA
February 26–27, 2015: Seth was flown to Washington, D.C. by the Dept. of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to speak on their Expert Panel on the topic of body cameras.
February 11, 2015: Seth was interviewed by Robert Gammon for his East Bay Express article “OPD’s War on the Poor Needs to End.” Link here: http://bit.ly/1zMT4cl
February 8, 2015: Seth wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Boston Globe Magazine, thanking them for their piece “Defending those accused of unthinkable crimes” by Scott Helman (original article here: http://bit.ly/1zPz87y). The link to his letter is here: http://bit.ly/1CMfmxk
February 4, 2015: Seth was a guest on KALW’s Your Call for a show entitled Should Police Wear Body Cameras? Link here: http://kalw.org/post/your-call-should-police-wear-body-cameras
February 3, 2015: “23 Years After Rodney King, Victims of Police Violence Get Even Less Justice,” by Seth Morris, published by Vanity Fair, link here: http://vnty.fr/1DXZkxg
January 20, 2015: “Supreme Court’s police debacle: How it quietly helped cops prey on poor people” by Seth Morris. Published on Salon, link here: http://bit.ly/18EdrhM
December 11, 21014: “Public defender: I could get indictments in Garner, Brown cases.” Appearance on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, link here: http://on.msnbc.com/1HCbIcy
December 8, 2014: “It would have been very simple to indict Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo. Here’s how.” By Seth Morris. Published in the Washington Post, link here: http://wapo.st/1tMKhWX
- Columbia University, BA Philosophy, 2001
- Loyola Marymount University, MA Education, 2003
- University of California, Berkeley, School of Law – Boalt Hall, JD, 2006
- California, 2006 – Current, #244910
- Federal Bar, 2006 – Current
- National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers
- Alameda County Bar Association
- California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
- Spanish (conversational)