I am a Santa Cruz native and upon completion of law school, I returned to serve my community by working for the Santa Cruz Public Defender’s Office (formally known as Biggam, Christensen, and Minsloff). As a Deputy Public Defender, I have handled all types of misdemeanor cases, and serious felony cases including, but not limited to possession for sale of controlled substances, petitions for sexually violent predator cases, child molestation, and allegations of murder. During my time at the Public Defender’s Office, I spent over six years in the courtrooms, almost daily, allowing me to become well-versed with the Santa Cruz criminal system, and develop relationships with the Judges and prosecutors.
Prior to becoming a lawyer, I received my Bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University (WMU) where I double majored in Political Science and Criminal Justice. At WMU, I was selected to be the vice president of the pre-law society, and Phi Kappa Phi honor society (founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest, largest, and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines. After graduating, I attended Michigan State College of Law where I graduated with honors.
During my time at Michigan State College of Law, I participated in the Civil Rights Clinic, where I received the Jurisprudence Achievement Award, twice. While participating in the Civil Rights Clinic, I completed my first jury trial, a federal jury trial, regarding a prisoner’s claim of retaliation. The Civil Rights clinic focused on prisoners’ rights. This position allowed me to gain a better understanding of the prison system – in particular how the legal system deals with violations of prison rules – and the issues faced by those who are incarcerated.
Additionally while at Michigan State College of Law, I interned with the Michigan Innocence Clinic, the Santa Cruz Public Defender’s Office (Biggam, Christensen, and Minsloff), and the Ionia Prosecutor’s Office.
While at the Michigan Innocence Clinic (MIC), I further investigated or litigated cases assigned to me depending on their current status. During my time at the MIC, I enhanced my investigation skills including tracking witnesses and creating a rapport that made witnesses comfortable to openly communicate crucial information. MIC helped me develop a strong understanding of the causes of wrongful convictions and the best practices to avoid such injustices from occurring.
Working at the Ionia Prosecutor’s Office allowed me to gain insight into how prosecutors view cases, and because I understand how the prosecution works, I am better equipped to develop the necessary strategies to effectively defend those criminally charged.
Prior to working for the Santa Cruz Public Defender’s Office, I worked at the Riverside Public Defender’s Office. During my time at the Riverside Public Defender’s Office, I worked exclusively for the domestic violence team and assisted those accused of crimes of domestic violence.
I have expanded my criminal practice and I am now accepting cases involving family law where many issues overlap. I provide compassionate, honest, and dedicated advice regarding issues involving divorce, child custody, domestic violence, child support, and spousal support.
What our clients say
Professional and Helpful Recently I was directed towards Cherish for a Consultation. She was amazing and very helpful regarding everything we went over. She is definitely there to help advocate for her Clients. Thank you Cherish I appreciate all your help and kindness during our conversations.
Rockstar! Cherish was so helpful and professional and very knowledgeable in every aspect of my case. She gave me confidence in myself and her from the first moment we met. She was thorough with the paperwork and very articulate. I would recommend her to family and friends as well use her anytime I need representation.
CASA Volunteer I was a CASA volunteer working with a 19 year old young man. During my time with him he was involved in an altercation that resulted in an arrest and felony charges. Cherish was his public defender. I consulted with her throughout the case and appeared in court with the young man. Cherish was always well prepared. She was an active listener. She was very creative in developing a solution that made sense, approved by the judge, and kept the young man out of extended jail time. If I needed an attorney I would call on her first. She is intelligent, creative, and very committed to her clients. She is well respected in the courts .
Attentive and assuring attorney! Cherish represented me in a DUI case back in 2018. She was informative of all the actions we could possibly take and assured me we’d get the best result possible. My case was reduced and I felt the outcome was fair.