SAN FRANCISCO—The Supreme Court of California marks with sadness the passing of Michael Millman, long-time Executive Director of the California Appellate Project (CAP). Mr. Millman succumbed to pancreatic cancer on Saturday, May 31.
“Michael Millman was a pillar of the capital defense bar, a hero to many, and a true gentleman. He had a close, direct relationship with the California Supreme Court for more than 25 years in his roles as the Executive Director of CAP and with the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, including a stint as President of its Board of Governors. He will be sorely missed, and we are deeply saddened by this great loss,” said Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye.
Mr. Millman served as Executive Director of CAP for 30 years. Established by the State Bar of California in 1983, CAP is a non-profit corporation formed to implement the constitutional right to counsel for indigent persons facing execution. CAP, which serves the largest population of condemned individuals in the country, is funded primarily through a contract with the Judicial Council of California. Mr. Millman served as Executive Director of CAP for 30 years. In that capacity, he oversaw the efforts to assist private lawyers representing the more than 700 people on California’s death row. Also active in the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, Mr. Millman served as President of its Board of Governors in 1984. He also served on a Supreme Court committee formed to improve the timely handling of capital case appeals and habeas corpus petitions.
“Michael was a profoundly kind and big-hearted man who dedicated his whole life to advancing social justice and, especially, to ‘being the change we wish to see in the world’ by daily acts of compassion and generosity,” said Lance Lindsey, CAP’s administrative director.
A tireless advocate for alternatives to the death penalty, Mr. Millman served as President of the Board of the national Death Penalty Information Center and was a founding member of Death Penalty Focus, a broad-based coalition advocating for death penalty alternatives. In April, Death Penalty Focus awarded Mr. Millman a Lifetime Achievement Award for his “unwavering commitment to providing high-quality representation to indigent people on death row.”
Mr. Millman is survived by his wife, Cynthia Taylor Millman, three children, Laura, David, and Matthew, three stepchildren, and 13 grandchildren. A private family memorial service is being planned. Condolences to the family can be sent to the California Appellate Project, 101 Second Street, Suite 600, San Francisco, California 94105, or via email.