Exam Prep. Course: CA Criminal Law Specialist Exam (CA)(Recorded in 2015)

Audio program! (check our CLE Programs page for live versions)


If you’d like to attend our live 2019 program, click here. If you would like to order the 2019 Home Study package, which will be available a few days after the live program, click here.

The CA Bar Legal Specialist Exam in CA State Criminal Law is given every other year in odd years.  If you want to get prepared, now is the time to order our Exam Prep. Course: CA Criminal Law Specialist Exam, recorded in 2015.  We did not hold a live program in 2017.

The program is available on CD or for instant download and includes the handouts, PowerPoints, sample questions and all other materials provided to attendees for the program.  This program prepares you for the State criminal law exam (not the Federal one). It also comes with a copy of our free Exam Prep Course Study Tips from 2015.


Please note: Because we cannot know exactly what specific questions and issues the bar will test on, and their “potential topic list” is vast, our program covers most of those topics that the bar lists they might test, but not all. This means that we cannot guarantee every single question or issue that appears on your exam is covered in our course (that would pretty much be impossible). We also strongly recommend you begin studying for the exam early – as early as summer. Last minute studying, even with the help of this course, is always a risky proposition when it comes to such a difficult exam covering so many ares of law.

If you took this course in 2015 and did not pass the exam, please call us about a special rate at (877) 858-3848.

Do you want to improve your public speaking skills? Get Faith Pincus’ newly published book Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys, from the ABA now (ABA members receive 10% off). It is also available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback versions.

What You Will Learn

Day 1

Preparing for the Exam and What to Expect
• Exam format and content
• How the exam is graded
• How to study for the exam
• Test taking techniques

Subject Area 2: Crimes & Defenses

2.1 DUIs
2.2 Murder/Special Circumstances
2.3 Sex crimes and related consequences (statute of limitations)
2.4 Tactics/strategies
2.5 Mental health issues and related consequences
2.6 Not guilty by reason of insanity
2.7 Not guilty by reason of insanity hearings on restoration of sanity and extensions of commitment
2.8 Conspiracy
2.9 Crimes against property
2.10 Crimes against person
2.11 Narcotics
2.12 Gang Crimes and enhancements
2.13 Vicarious liability, aiding, and abetting
2.14 “Victimless” Crimes
2.15 Other crimes otherwise not specified in this subject area

Subject Area 5: State Juvenile

5.1 W&I 707/ Prop 21
5.2 W&I 602
5.3 Disposition
5.4 Detention hearings
5.5 Age/competency
5.6 Records

Subject Area 3: Trial Court Practice and Procedure

3.1 Arrest and bench warrants, summons/subpoenas
3.2 Arraignment
3.3 Deferred entry of judgment and diversion
3.4 Plea bargaining
3.5 Pleadings, joinder and severance
3.6 Grand Jury proceedings
3.7 Discovery
3.8 Preliminary hearings
3.9 Pre-trial and trial publicity
3.10 Right to speedy trial
3.11 Line-ups and identification
3.12 Search and seizure
3.13 Informants
3.14 Pre-trial motion practice
3.15 Confessions and admissions
3.16 Trial motions
3.17 Evidence
3.18 Expert witnesses
3.20 Jury selection
3.21 Misdemeanor sentencing
3.22 Preserving appellate issues
3.23 Felony sentencing
3.23.1 California Rules of Court
3.23.2 Prior convictions
3.23.3 Enhancements
3.23.4 Probation
3.23.5 Proposition 36
3.23.6 Three Strikes
3.23.7 Expungements and similar relief
3.23.9 Duties after judgment
3.23.10 Writs
3.23.11 Criminal Justice Realignment (AB 109 et al.)
3.24 Present and future collateral consequences and disabilities
3.25 Sexually Violent Predator proceedings
3.26 Mentally Disordered Offender proceedings
3.27 Credit for time served and related provisions
3.28 Bail and other forms of release from custody pending finality of judgment
3.29 Present competency proceedings

Day 2

4.1 Preserving appellate issues and perfecting the right to appeal
4.2 Misdemeanor appeals
4.3 Felony appeals
4.4 Federal and State Habeas Corpus

Immigration Overview

Professional Responsibility

1.1 Duties to client, opposing counsel and the Court
1.2 Conflicts of interest
1.3 Dual representation

Practice Exam (two essay questions)
Issue Spotting by Faculty


“I passed the last criminal specialist exam thanks to your course. It was very helpful.” David Sandhaus, Esq.

“Speakers were knowledgeable and effective.” Vijan Dinakar, Esq.

“Topics were very concise.” Tai Bogan, Esq.

“Satisfied.” Harry Damkar, Esq.

“Great speakers. Thank you.”

“Interesting and fun seminar. Good idea having state bar presenters, very helpful.” David Sanhaus, Esq.

“Excellent speakers. All were great. Love Maria Feiger! Thank you.”


Garrick A. Byers, Esq.
Certified Legal Specialist in Criminal Law
Law Office of Garrick A. Byers

Garrick Byers has been a California Certified Specialist in Criminal Law since 1990.  He is currently a solo attorney focusing on indigent appeals.  Prior to opening his own law practice, Mr. Byers was with the Contra Costa Public Defender’s office and the Fresno County Public Defender’s office for twenty-nine years.

Garrick has tried more than 100 jury trials to verdict, from misdemeanors to homicides, and just about every type of case in between.  He has handled all other phases of thousands of all types of criminal cases from arraignment to pretrial proceedings, to trial sentencing, to probation violations, to appeals.  

In both Fresno and Contra Costa, Garrick handled motions, research, felony pre-trial writs, case staffing, court appearances on difficult and unusual cases, office-wide trainings, and similar tasks.  He was and is an “internal office consultant” and general “go to guy” on all types of cases that public defenders handle.

He is currently (2013) the First Vice President of the California Public Defenders Association (CPDA). He is also the Chair of the CPDA’s Ethics Committee and a member of the Legislative Committee.

Garrick received his JD from the Antioch School of Law (now Univ. of Dist. of Col. David A. Clarke School of Law), Washington D.C in 1979.

Garrick is the author of the only comprehensive treatise on Public Safety Realignment (AB 109), the 2011 massive revision of California’s felony sentencing laws.  His Realignment treatise is web-distributed by CPDA, California Continuing Education of the Bar, and linked-to by the California Courts, and many others.

Garrick speaks frequently at CPDA and other CLE events on jury trials, new criminal laws, sentencing, ethics, drug treatment programs, motions practice, discovery, pleas, and many other topics.

He is also a contributor to the CEB, California Criminal Law, Procedure and Practice, including three Chapters: “Public Records,” “Motion to Disclose Informant’s Identity, ”and “Trial Counsel’s Duties After Judgment” 2013 edition (with 2014 edition forthcoming) and previous editions (most annual) back to (depending on the chapter) 2005. 

Garrick previously authored and edited many articles related to criminal law and trials and sections in the Mathew Bender California Criminal Defense Practice reporter.

In 2012 Garrick received a Special Recognition Award from the California Public Defenders Association for his many contributions to Criminal Defense. 

Mike Cavalluzzi, Esq.
Certified Legal Specialist in Criminal Law
Cavalluzzi & Cavalluzzi

A Criminal Law Specialist, Certified by the California State Bar, Mike  Cavalluzzi is one of the best criminal defense attorneys in Los Angeles County. He has been described by judges and prosecutors as aggressive, uncompromising, and relentless in his pursuit of justice for his clients. Having defended clients in courts throughout Los Angeles, Ventura, and Orange Counties, Mike Cavalluzzi has cemented his reputation as a top trial attorney.

Mr. Cavalluzzi began his legal career in 1992 as a civil litigator for State Farm Insurance, the largest insurance company in the United States. After winning several jury trials, Mr. Cavalluzzi decided to leave State Farm and focus on the practice of criminal defense. He joined the Public Defender’s Office and quickly established himself as a fearless, creative trial attorney, defending clients in all types of cases, ranging from misdemeanor battery to homicide. 

Having practiced extensively throughout the juvenile justice system, Mike Cavalluzzi is well known in many juvenile courts, where he is on a first-name basis with judges, prosecutors, and probation officers. As a member of the gay community, Mike Cavalluzzi is also an outspoken advocate for the rights of the entire LGBT community. 

Mara W. Feiger, Esq.
Certified Specialist in Criminal Law, State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization
Mara W. Feiger Attorney at Law

Mara W. Feiger is a criminal defense attorney and a California Bar Certified Legal Specialist in Criminal Law.

She has spent eleven years as a deputy public defender in Riverside County and is just completing her twelfth year as a panel attorney for the San Mateo County’s Private Defender Program.

Ms. Feiger has tried well over 150 cases through jury trial verdict including: capital cases, homicides, SVP’s, gang cases, and others.  For three years Ms. Feiger was a litigation associate for a plaintiff’s firm handling catastrophic injury cases. She volunteers as San Mateo High School’s Mock Trial coach.

Ms. Feiger graduated from Western State University Law School and is currently on the Board of Directors of the San Mateo County Bar Association.

Zachary M. Nightingale, Esq.
Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale, LLP

Zachary M. Nightingale is a California State Bar Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law. He is a 1996 graduate of Stanford Law School, who received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989, and a Masters degree in Mathematics from Stanford University in 1991. He has been with the firm since 1996. His practice focuses on deportation defense and federal court litigation, with an emphasis on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Other specialties include asylum, naturalization, and family-based adjustment of status. A significant part of his practice includes advising non-citizens and their attorneys as to the immigration consequences of pending criminal charges, and how to minimize those consequences.

Mr. Nightingale was honored with the 2003 Jack Wasserman Memorial Award for excellence in litigation from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). He has spoken regularly at local and national conferences of AILA, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and was a member of AILA’s 2002 Annual Conference Program Committee.

He has litigated a number of important immigration cases which established new Ninth Circuit law, including Quintero-Salazar v. Keisler, 506 F.3d 688 (9th Cir. 2007), which held for the first time that a conviction for sex with minor is not necessarily a crime involving moral turpitude; Camins v. Gonzales, 500 F.3d 872 (9th Cir 2007) which applied retroactivity principles to find that the grounds of inadmissibility do not apply to returning lawful permanent residents based on criminal conviction sustained before April 1, 1997; and Li v. Ashcroft, 389 F.3d 892 (9th Cir. 2004), in which the Court overturned a finding of removability where the fraud evidence of conviction through jury trial did not demonstrate the required elements of the aggravated felony definition. In addition Mr. Nightingale has been co-counsel on a number of significant cases, including Abebe v. Gonzales, 493 F.3d 1092 (9th Cir 2007) (finding applicant ineligible for 212(c) relief for crime of violence, in the absence of a corresponding ground of inadmissibility), in which a petition for rehearing en banc is currently pending; Magana-Pizano v. INS, 200 F.3d 603 (9th Cir.1999) (establishing eligibility for relief from deportation for those in immigration proceedings before the effective date of the statutory amendments eliminating relief, and for those who pled guilty before that date in reliance on being eligible for such relief), and Barahona-Gomez v. Reno, 167 F.3d 1228 (9th Cir. 1999) (affirming district court stay of deportation for circuit-wide class of applicants for suspension of deportation incorrectly denied eligibility due to directives of Executive Office for Immigration Review personnel).

Leslie Prince, Esq.
Russo & Prince

Leslie Prince is a highly experienced and skilled attorney handling criminal defense and appellate cases. Ms. Prince graduated from Hastings Law School in San Francisco in 1981. While in law school, Ms. Prince was a writer and editor for Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly. In addition, she worked as a judicial extern for the late California Court of Appeals Justice Sidney Feinberg, and as a research assistant for the late Hastings Law Professor Leo Kanowitz.

Ms. Prince has been an attorney in private practice for over 25 years, and was a sole practitioner in Alameda County for over 10 years before coming to Solano County in 1994 to become a principal in the Law Offices of Russo and Prince, LLP. Ms. Prince practices in the area of criminal defense at both the trial and appellate levels. She represents both adults and juveniles in all types of criminal matters, including homicides, drug offenses (possession, possession for sale, transportation, manufacturing, being under the influence or DUI, etc.), assault and battery, domestic violence, driving under the influence, theft crimes (robbery, burglary, receiving stolen property, grand theft, shoplifting, embezzlement, petty theft, identity theft, etc.), fraud, and sex crimes. Ms. Prince has extensive trial experience, and extremely familiar with the judges and criminal law practitioners in this area. She also understands the complicated and rapidly changing world of criminal procedure well, keeping abreast of all important legal developments. Ms. Prince takes pride in pushing for the best possible outcomes for her clients – whether in a pre-trial settlement or by taking her client’s case to trial.

Ms. Prince takes the time to discuss each stage of the proceedings with her clients, so that they are informed participants in their own cases.

In addition to criminal trial work, Ms. Prince also has extensive experience handling criminal appellate cases (fighting to overturn convictions or reduce sentences for her clients), and has represented adult and juvenile criminal defendants in numerous direct appeals, and on petitions for writ of habeas corpus, mandate and/or review, in the California Appellate Courts, the California Supreme Court, and the Federal Courts. This is a highly specialized area of law in which many criminal defense practitioners have little experience. Ms. Prince routinely handles complicated criminal appeals, at the state and federal levels, achieving favorable outcomes for many of her clients.

Ms. Prince handles private appeals, and is also a panel attorney for the First District Appellate Project in San Francisco, the organization that works with the California Court of Appeal regarding the appointment of private attorneys to represent indigent criminal defendants on appeal.

Ms. Prince was selected to author a chapter of the book Defense Strategies for Drug Crimes, which was published by Thomson Reuters/Aspatore in 2010. Ms. Prince wrote the chapter of the book entitled "Defending Drug Crimes", and also provided several sample briefs which are included as appendices in the book. These briefs were written in relation to actual drug cases she has handled in the trial courts in her many years of experience in the area of defending those accused of serious drug crimes.

Ms. Prince earned her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, California in 1981.


Audio Course Material Package Download: $625

Audio Course Material Package CD: $625, plus $7.50 shipping and, in CA, 9% sales tax.

This page is our recorded 2015 Exam Prep audio package.

CLE Credit

CA General:  This program is approved for 6.75 units of general CLE in California.

CA Certified Legal Specialist:  This program is approved for 6.75 units of Certified Legal Specialist CLE in California in Criminal Law as follows:

  • B/1.00; C/2.00; D/1.00; E/2.75

This program is approved for CLE in the states listed above.  Upon request, Pincus Pro Ed will provide any information an attorney needs to support their application for CLE approval in other states other than what is listed above.

Terms and Policies

Recording policy: No audio or video recording of any program is permitted.

Seminar Cancellations: Should you be unable to attend for any reason, please inform us in writing no later than 14 days prior to the event and a credit voucher will be issued. If you prefer, a refund, less a $50 non-refundable deposit, will be issued. No refunds or credits will be given for cancellations received within 14 days of an event. However, if you notify us within 14 days of an event, and wish to convert your in-person attendance registration to an Audio CD package (with handout), we can do so. A small additional shipping charge, and sales tax in CA, will be incurred. No shipping charge is incurred for downloads. We will also issue a voucher for the amount paid if you notify us within 14 days and prefer not to have the audio recording.

Substitutions may be made at any time.

Webinars, Tele-seminars and Webcast Cancellations: Once log-in codes and passwords are issued for a webinar, tele-seminars or webcasts, a refund is not possible. If for any reason you cannot attend the event after you have received the codes, we will automatically convert your registration to an instant streaming/instant download or CD format and provide you with the information you need to access the recording after the program concludes and the recording is available.  Conversions to CD require a $7.50 shipping fee, and in CA, 9% sales tax.

Downloads/CDs/DVDs – Refund policy:

Downloads are non-returnable/non-refundable once purchased and received. Tapes, CDs and DVDs are returnable for a full refund or replacement if defective, within 90 days of purchase.

Reminder: The room temperature at hotels and other seminar locations are notoriously hard to control. Please bring a sweater or jacket in case it gets cold and/or layer as if you are going to the movies so you are comfortable.

$650.00 each

Recorded in 2015.