Armilla Staley- Ngomo, Judicial Fellow class of 2003-04

Armilla Staley-Ngomo is committed to social justice and criminal defense. After graduating from Whittier College with a B.A. in Spanish and Political Science, she served as a Judicial Fellow for the Planning & Research Bureau of the Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland from 2003 to 2004. Armilla then continued working as a Policy Analyst for the Bureau for a year before attending law school at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law from 2005 to 2008. During law school, Armilla participated in several clinical programs, including the California Asylum Representation Clinic, the Juvenile Hall Outreach Program, and the Death Penalty Clinic. She was also an editor of the California Law Review and the Berkeley Journal of African-American Law & Policy, and participated in several minority student groups and organizations.

“The Judicial Fellowship undoubtedly helped foster my commitment to public service. During the fellowship, I was given the opportunity to help structure and implement several court-community outreach programs, such as the Bench-Bar Speakers Bureau, the East Bay Stand Down, and the Homeless and Caring Program, among other annual events and court visits. The goal of the programs was to help increase the public’s understanding and knowledge of the judicial system, as well as to address some of the legal barriers confronting Alameda county residents. The fellowship served as the foundation for my continued interest in serving and supporting some of our most underserved and vulnerable communities—particularly undocumented immigrants, monolingual Spanish speakers, and criminal defendants—with the highest level of legal representation, respect, and dignity.”

Armilla is currently an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Central District of California in Los Angeles and Santa Ana. She started her federal public defender career as a trial attorney in 2010. As a trial attorney, she provided every aspect of written and oral legal representation to indigent individuals charged with federal criminal offenses for three years. After the birth of her daughter, Armilla began working as a post-conviction attorney for indigent individuals who were convicted of life sentences and/or the death penalty. As a habeas attorney, she currently works on all stages of capital and non-capital litigation, from pre-petition investigation through United States Supreme Court proceedings and clemency. Prior to becoming a federal public defender, Armilla worked as a litigation associate at Caldwell Leslie & Proctor, PC, a litigation boutique in Los Angeles, and Morrison & Foerster LLP, a large law firm in San Francisco. She was also a judicial clerk for the Honorable Consuelo Bland Marshall, U.S. District Judge for the Central District of California.

Armilla was raised in Madrid, Spain and Las Vegas, Nevada, and is fluent in Spanish. Her mother is originally from Equatorial Guinea, a small country located in western Africa that was a former Spanish colony. In her free time, Armilla enjoys spending time at the beach, parks, and children’s museums with her partner Whigmass and their eighteen-month-old daughter Salome.