Julie H. McFarlane Lifetime Achievement Award

2017 Recipient Angela Sherbo


Award Presentation to Angela Sherbo
Friday, April 21 • 5:00 p.m. • Hallmark Resort, Newport





Angela Sherbo, supervising attorney at Youth, Rights & Justice (formerly, the Juvenile Rights Project), has dedicated 35 years to improving the lives of Oregon’s most vulnerable children and parents. Her interest in juvenile law issues was first sparked at the beginning of her legal career in Kentucky when she worked for five years at the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund in Hazard. There, she was involved in several major cases relevant to the rights of children and families involved with the juvenile court and foster care systems.

Since then, through her zealous advocacy of parents, children, and youth in juvenile dependency and delinquency cases, and her tireless efforts to improve the juvenile court system through litigation, legislation and collaboration, Angela has been instrumental in shaping juvenile law in Oregon. Although we could spend the rest of the day listing her contributions to the practice of juvenile law, here are a few high points. 

Angela argued on behalf of the mother in a seminal Oregon Supreme Court case, State ex rel Juv. Dept. v. Geist, 310 Or 176, 796 P2d 1193 (1990), in which the court concluded that a constitutional or statutory right to counsel includes a right to adequate counsel, and that a claim of appointed trial counsel’s inadequacy may be reviewed on direct appeal. 

Also in 1990, Angela represented a class of youth in Robyn A. v. McCoy, a federal lawsuit which alleged unconstitutional conditions at the Donald E. Long juvenile detention facility in Multnomah County. The resulting consent decree required the county to build a new juvenile detention facility and to upgrade conditions and practices in the existing facility. The juvenile court complex, built in 1994, also includes six juvenile courtrooms, as well as offices for the juvenile department, district attorneys, Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).

In 1995 Angela negotiated a legal settlement with the Oregon Department of Human Services. This “System of Care Agreement” established flexible funding to better meet the needs of children and families, led to improved training and increased qualifications for case workers, and accomplished other improvements in Oregon’s foster care system. She supervised the monitoring of the settlement on behalf of the Juvenile Rights Project for 13 years.

When Governor Kitzhaber approved clemency for Sang Dao in one of his last acts before leaving office, the Governor reduced Dao’s lengthy Measure 11 sentence by three and a half years, and Dao is now working for the Multnomah County Juvenile Department. Angela was Dao’s attorney in that clemency petition.

And just last year Angela served as the appellate attorney in State v. J.C.N.-V., 359 Or 559 (2016), in which the Oregon Supreme Court remanded the juvenile court’s determination to waive a 13-year-old child to adult court for prosecution of a murder charge. The court concluded that youth may not be waived unless they have an adult-like understanding of the significance of their conduct.

Angela consulted with OPDS to establish the Juvenile Appellate Section, and she provided the initial mentoring support and substantive juvenile law expertise to the attorneys within the section. 

Angela regularly provides advice and assistance to trial and appellate attorneys, individually and through CLEs, across the state. Angela is never too busy to consult on a case or give advice.

No one is more deserving of the Julie H. McFarlane Lifetime Achievement Award. Congratulations Angela Sherbo!

— Amy Miller, Office of Public Defense Services