Chris Mears, Santiago Elementary, Willard Intermediate, Santa Ana High School Graduate, Trial Attorney, #IamSAUSD

Chris Mears #IAMSAUSD“When I was ten, my grandmother took me to the Broadway Theater in downtown Santa Ana to see “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I loved Atticus, and I wanted to be him. I became a lawyer to help people. I’ve had many moments as a trial lawyer, but one of my most memorable happened In the late 1980’s. The city of Santa Ana had a legitimate problem with the homeless population who was forming a permanent encampment in the Civic Center. One way the city chose to deal with the homeless was by instructing city maintenance personnel to throw away the homeless people’s belongings. I represented a man who had drifted here from St. Louis, Missouri, after his wife left him, taking all of his daughters. He fell apart and ended up homeless in Santa Ana. The city personnel threw away his little bundle of possessions – these included pictures of his daughters, his most prized keepsakes. My client was devastated. I argued before the court that the city was in the wrong for taking those actions. We won, the city appealed and we went to the higher court. We won there, the city appealed again. We then took the case to the Supreme Court of California. The Supreme Court ruled that the city’s “anti-camping” statute was reason enough to permit the destruction of his property. Though we lost, we did the right thing. That was my Atticus moment. I’ve learned that we may never achieve a just society – in fact, I know we never will. When all is said and done, we are only left with the struggle. I will never give up struggling for justice.”

Chris Mears, Santiago Elementary, Willard Intermediate, Santa Ana High School. Trial Attorney, Past President of American Board of Trial Advocates, three-time Orange County Trial Lawyer of the Year , Irvine City Council 2000-2004, Chairman of the California Boxing Commission 2003-2006, ‪#‎IAMSAUSD‬