.BREAKING NEWS: Christopher Shea, defense attorney for former San Rafael cop, dies at 57

Christopher J. Shea, a criminal defense attorney and former Marin County prosecutor, died on Thursday. He was 57.

Earlier this week, the seasoned attorney spent two days in a Marin County courtroom representing his client, former San Rafael police officer Daisy Mazariegos, in a preliminary hearing.

Shea, who grew up in the Bay Area and received his law degree from the University of San Francisco, spent more than 10 years as a Marin County deputy district attorney. In 2007, he left the DA’s office, switched sides and began practicing as a criminal defense attorney.

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Other lawyers have praised Shea as a skilled attorney with a “bare-knuckled” approach to defending his clients.

“He has an excellent reputation, and deservedly so,” said attorney Julia Fox in an interview with the Pacific Sun on Thursday, prior to learning of Shea’s death.

Fox was Shea’s co-counsel in a current Marin County case against two former San Rafael police officers who are accused of assault under color of authority and making false statements in a crime report. It is unclear at this time how the case will be handled moving forward.

“We’re all digesting this a bit,” Fox, who is representing Brandon Nail in the case, said in a text message.

The ex-cops’ preliminary hearing, which determines whether there is enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial, began on Monday and continued Tuesday. It left off with Shea making an unusual move for a preliminary hearing—calling his client, Mazariegos, who is pregnant with a due date of Oct. 19, to testify. 

The hearing is scheduled to continue on Oct. 10.


Editor’s Note: This story is still developing.

Nikki Silverstein
Nikki Silverstein is an award-winning journalist who has written for the Pacific Sun since 2005. She escaped Florida after college and now lives in Sausalito with her Chiweenie and an assortment of foster dogs. Send news tips to [email protected].

18 COMMENTS

  1. Ms. Silverstein,
    I greatly appreciate your detailed coverage of the legal proceedings about Mr. Lopez and the police officers involved in a brutal July 2022 incident. Please note that I do regret that one of the officers primary attorney has expired and send condolences to his family.

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  2. Chris Shea was a humble man who helped out many cops. I enjoyed working with him. He will be greatly missed by many.

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  3. Chris was a wonderful human being and friend. Will definitely be missed.

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  4. I’m sorry to hear of this man’s death. I’m really hoping this doesn’t mean Julio doesn’t have to testify all over again. Surely this has been tough for him.
    Excellent reporting as usual Nikki.

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  5. Chris was an excellent attorney and a good, generous man. His untimely death is a terrible shock and tragedy. Rest in peace, ounselor.

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  6. Chris was an excellent attorney and a good, generous man. His untimely death is a terrible shock and tragedy. Rest in peace, counselor.

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  7. Thank you, all, for your kind words.
    Christopher was a wonderful son, a kind and compassionate human being. We had many exchanges of opinions on his cases. “Everyone deserves a defense and is presumed innocent.”

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    • I send you my sincere condolences for the loss of your son at such an early age. Fighting for those caught up in the so called criminal justice system takes its toll. I am deeply saddened by his death.

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    • I am so very sorry for your loss. My sincerest condolences. I very much liked and admired your son these past 17 years. He was a very exceptional man with a wonderful, easy smile.

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    • Diane (Mah) – I have been thinking of you constantly these past couple of weeks and just want to give you a huge hug. I know how much you adore your “boy” Chris – he brought light into every room that he entered and made you laugh and made you roll your eyes (probably) many times and – ultimately – the look of pure pride and love was ever present in your eyes for Chris!!

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  8. I had the honor and privilege of working with Chris in his capacity of a Panel Attorney with the San Francisco Police Officers’ Association.
    Highly respected by his colleagues and the officer’s he represented, Chris was the consummate professional.
    I enjoyed many moments and conversations with Chris and I will truly miss him.

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  9. Shocked & saddened. May he Rest in Peace. Condolences to his family. Chris was a fine lawyer, mentor & colleague to me.

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  10. So very sad to hear this. I feel fortunate to cross your path as a former employee of the Marin District Attorney’s Office and then later to be represented by you as my counsellor. Rest in Peace…

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  11. Dear Christopher Shea’s Family:

    I am writing to express my deepest condolences upon learning about the loss of Christopher J. Shea. As someone who had the privilege of being represented by Christopher during a time of great need, I can personally attest to his exceptional qualities as a defense attorney.

    Christopher’s assistance was invaluable to me during my case, considering it was the first time I required legal representation. Despite my financial limitations, he approached my situation with unwavering support, fairness, and dedication. His commitment to justice and his clients was truly commendable.

    Please accept my heartfelt sympathies and convey them to Christopher’s family. Losing someone so instrumental in your lives must be profoundly difficult, and I hope you find strength and solace amongst your cherished memories of him.

    If there is anything I can do to offer support during this challenging time, please do not hesitate to reach out. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Christopher’s family as you navigate through this period of mourning.

    With deepest sympathy,

    Michelle

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  12. This is a huge loss. Chris was such a great guy. I met him in law school and got to know him well while he was a prosecutor and defense attorney. A kind man and fine attorney. He will be missed.

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  13. Hearing of Chris’s passing is really sad news.

    I had the pleasure of trying a case in Marin where Chris was the DA. He was a combination of hard fighting, ethical, professional, approachable.

    Fast forward a few years and he was a defense lawyer and we struck up conversations about his many adventures.

    Chris invited me to go abalone diving up the coast, and I had one of the best most memorable times with him. He showed me the ropes and was a great companion in adventure, and sharing the joys and challenges of life.

    Chris was a great guy, a unique person, devoted father, lawyer, adventurer, and I’ll very much miss not having more adventures and conversations with him, and hearing of his successes in the courtroom.

    My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

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