Meet the Authors & Bookfaire

The Friends of the Shannon Center Meet the Authors & Bookfaire

March 15, 2014 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Breakout speaker Mary de la Peña

Mary de la Peña, known to her friends and associates as M.J., is a criminal defense lawyer and author.  She graduated from California State University at Long Beach with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering, where she was the first woman to earn a degree from that school in Construction Engineering.  She attained her Juris Doctor from University of La Verne in May of 1986 and was sworn into the California State Bar in December of the same year.  M.J. spent her first three years as a lawyer with the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, but left that office to join Fred de la Peña in the De La Pena Law Office.  Fred de la Peña became her husband in 1990.


M.J. de la Peña is known for her work in the criminal defense arena representing some of the more heinous criminals within the state.  In addition to her work in the courtroom, she has also published a book, A Layman’s Guide to Criminal Defense, in which she describes the criminal justice system in terms anyone can understand, as well as walking the reader through the entire system from first contact with law enforcement through sentencing and appeal.


Two years ago she demonstrated her writing ability to fashion fictional characters when she had her first book, An Immigrant American Hero, published under her married name of Mary de la Peña.  Her second book, Scruggs and Samantha, How a Shelter Dog and Kitten Saved Cinderella’s Marriage, was released in late September 2012.  Also in 2012 M.J. released her first mystery, Murder Most Blonde, under her maiden name M.J. Hatch.  The second in the series, Murder Most Judgmental, is due in February of 2014.



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