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
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.