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Cuauhtemoc Ortega
USC Gould School of Law

Cuauhtemoc Ortega

Lecturer in Law

699 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90089-0074 USA

Last Updated: August 30, 2021




Cuauhtemoc Ortega was appointed Federal Public Defender (FPD) for the Central District of California in October 2020 by the judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He began working in the Office of the Federal Public Defender in 2010 as a trial attorney, after working for a brief period at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP. As a trial attorney, Ortega handled numerous jury trials regarding a wide-range of offenses, including firearms, fraud and criminal threats. In 2016, he became a supervisor and chair of the Office’s Diversity Committee; he was promoted to chief deputy in 2019. In his current capacity as Federal Public Defender, he supervises over 200 trial, appellate and habeas attorneys and legal support staff across three offices in Los Angeles, Santa Ana and Riverside.

Ortega is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where he was Executive Articles Editor of the Columbia Law Review and recipient of the Archie O. Dawson Prize for Oral Advocacy. Upon graduating from Columbia, he served as a law clerk to the late Hon. Alicemarie H. Stotler, United States District Judge for the Central District of California.

He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA, where he also served as editor in chief of the Daily Bruin student newspaper. He currently sits on the Executive Committee of the California Lawyers Association’s Criminal Law Section and on the Judicial Appointments Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. 

FACULTY IN THE NEWS

Bloomberg Government
June 22, 2022
Re: Franita Tolson

Franita Tolson was interviewed about how federal lawsuits from North Carolina, Alabama, and Arkansas test the limits of the Voting Rights Act, the boundaries of state government authority, and the ability of voting rights groups to file racial gerrymandering cases. “These doctrines and approaches in these cases fundamentally reset the rules of the game,” she said. “In 2030 we will live in a completely different world than we lived in in 2020, and 2020 was not favorable to minority voters at all.”

RECENT SCHOLARSHIP

Robin Craig
March, 2022

"Saltwater Sovereignty: Tribal Marine Management Authority Along the Pacific Coast.” Online Environmental Law Workshop. University of Maryland School of Law, Baltimore, MD.

Daniel Klerman
March, 2022

“Comment on Choi, Erickson, & Pritchard, ‘Coalitions among Plaintiffs’ Attorneys in Securities Class Actions’,” Conference on Empirical Legal Studies, Virtual, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Robin Craig
March, 2022

“Who’s on First? The Mind-Blowing Attempt to Conceptualize Deference in the Midst of Decision Delays and Agency Repeals,” J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Environmental Law Symposium for the George Washington University School of Law, Virtual, Washington, D.C.