Public Law

Public Law Journal: Spring 2019, Vol. 42, No. 2

Public Lawyer Spotlight: Adrian Carpenter

Within her first decade of legal practice, Adrian Carpenter has flourished as the legal equivalent to a five-tool player. Her experience spans local and state government, and bridges the civil and criminal divides. In the final years of Governor Jerry Brown’s recent term, some of the over 280 commutations of convictions granted by the Governor were likely handled by Ms. Carpenter, who was then serving as the Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary. Fewer than five years before, however, Ms. Carpenter was playing on the other end of the criminal justice field as a prosecutor with the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, followed by several years as a city prosecutor with the Sacramento City Attorney’s Office. Policy work also permeates Ms. Carpenter’s public law career, beginning with her service as a Judicial Administration Fellow through the Capital Fellows Program and extending to her community work at the City Attorney’s Office and criminal justice reform efforts at the Governor’s Office.

Ms. Carpenter is currently one of the Governor-appointed members of the newly formed Cannabis Control Appeals Panel (CCAP), which hears administrative appeals of state cannabis licensing authorities. Ms. Carpenter provided the following interview regarding her alliterative journey from the Capital Fellows Program to criminal prosecution to the City Attorney’s Office to CCAP


Well, my desk is within my home office. The CCAP members work from home in our individual counties and then connect once a month to attend hearings. Currently, on my desk is a copy of "Leadership on the Line." I love this book and have been reading it feverishly over the last few weeks. Also on my desk are all of my CCAP regulations: three humongous spiral books that are extremely heavy. I also have my planner, I cannot do anything without this book. I am not a fan of my iPhone calendar, so I go "old school" and handwrite all of my appointments within this planner.

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