Francis (“Frankie”) V. Guzman is a juvenile justice attorney at the National Center for Youth Law, Oakland, CA. He is working to reduce the practice of prosecuting and incarcerating children in California’s adult criminal justice system and advocating for alternative sentencing and local treatment for youth charged with serious offenses statewide.
Guzman was born in Ventura, California, and raised by his immigrant, single mother. As a teen, Guzman struggled with gangs, drugs and crime. When he was 15 years old, Guzman was arrested and tried for armed robbery and sentenced to 15 years in the California Youth Authority. After serving six years of his sentence, he was released on parole, enrolled in Oxnard College and later transferred to UC Berkeley, where he earned a BA in English. Guzman graduated from UCLA School of Law with a specialization in Public Interest Law and Policy.
At UC Berkeley, Frankie coordinated work of dozens of interns and organized statewide outreach and informational recruitment visits for thousands of low-income high school and community college students. As a law student, he served as Chair of La Raza Law Students Association, and founded the law school’s Lifer-Parole Clinic. Guzman has worked at the Prison Law Office, Public Counsel Law Center and the Greenlining Institute. Guzman is the recipient of a Soros Justice Fellowship, the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, and the Outstanding Achievement Award from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice. Guzman currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Legal Services for Children (LSC), UnCommon Law, and Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ).