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.
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.