Law Day IV Honorees

On Saturday, October 12, 2019, we will honor three Moreau Catholic alumni for their remarkable accomplishments in the field of law and law enforcement. We will also recognize an alumnus who has taught and coached the MCHS Mock Trial team at the highest level. Finally, we will show our appreciation for an alumni family that has been tremendously supportive of our Mock Trial program. Continue reading to get to know more about this year’s honorees.

Lifetime Achievement Awards

Doug Uchikura ’71
Chevron Deputy General Director, Onshore Europe -Retired

After graduating from Moreau, Doug Uchikura ’71 would continue his studies at the College of Business and Economics at California State University, East Bay, and Santa Clara University School of Law, culminating in a Bachelor of Science degree, a Master of Business Administration degree, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree, followed by a State Bar of California license and an American Bar Association membership. 

In 1979, while he and and his wife, Maris ’73,  were expecting their second child, Uchikura left his first job at a local law firm to join Chevron Corporation’s upstream division (oil and gas exploration and production). His primary responsibilities included obtaining necessary local, state, and federal permits for onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities in and near Santa Barbara County; negotiating production sharing contracts and joint operating agreements in Albania, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, the Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, and Yemen; and providing policy, government, and public affairs counsel to the upstream leadership team.

Throughout his 37 years spent working for Chevron, Uchikura would assume a multitude of roles—Senior Counsel, General Manager, Shareholder Representative (Caspian Pipeline Consortium), Country Manager, Deputy General Director—based in Poland, Russia, Turkmenistan, and the United States. From negotiating tables to public hearings, together with accountants, attorneys, engineers, geologists, and others, he represented the company in Albania, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, the Republic of the Congo, Kazakhstan, Malta, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United States, and Yemen.

A former member and two-time chair of the Cal State East Bay Educational Foundation’s Board of Trustees, which manages development, public affairs, alumni relations, and donor stewardship activities on behalf of the university, Uchikura received Cal State East Bay’s 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Business and Economics during the fourth annual Forever Pioneer Weekend. 

Now retired, sports continue to play a significant part in Uchikura’s life—and he is quick to poke fun at himself along the way. He plays golf (“one of the most frustrating sports of all time”), pickleball with Maris (“of course, she’s the stronger half of our twosome”), and softball (“although my fielding range is probably as wide as my shoulders”).

But most importantly, he takes great pride and pleasure in cheering from the sidelines at his grandchildren’s baseball, basketball, flag football, and soccer games.

 

Greg Stewart ’73
Police Chief of Union City -Retired

Union City Police Chief Greg Stewart retired after 34 years in law enforcement, ending a tenure of innovative and tactful leadership during fiscally trying times.

Sworn in as chief in 2006, Stewart, 56, got his start with UCPD in the mid-70s as a reserve officer.

In those rural days, Stewart, a San Leandro native, worked traffic control and security at the Union City Drive-In Theater. He later went on to serve a brief stint as a sheriff’s deputy before returning to Union City as an animal control officer and working his way up to the highest rank in the department.

With the city’s growth came an evolution of the police department. Many of the forward-thinking changes in recent years can be credited to Stewart, who spent the last five years dedicated to providing quality service despite a debilitating budget.

Stewart says his work has been driven by his passion for the community.

Now that he is out of uniform, he continues volunteering at Our Lady of the Rosary Church’s Friday night dinners for the needy with his wife and is an active member of the Union City Lions Club.

 

Angela C. Backers ’76
Senior Deputy District Attorney Alameda County -Retired

Angela C. Backers was a Senior Deputy District Attorney who had been a prosecutor for 35 years. On January 24, 2005, Backers was promoted to the Capital Litigation Coordinator in Alameda County.  As the Capital Litigation Coordinator, Backers was responsible for not only trying capital cases, but also overseeing the prosecution of all capital cases in the county. Her duties included mentoring and assisting all prosecutors trying capital cases, as well as those prosecutors preparing capital preliminary hearings. Backers was also responsible for all post-conviction capital matters that are handled in the trial courts. She served on the Special Circumstance Committee in Alameda County that decided whether to seek the death penalty in a given case. From 1998 to 2008, she was assigned to the Capital Team and prosecuted death penalty cases, as well as other homicides. Prior to her assignment to the Capital Team, Backers was assigned to numerous felony trial teams, including Sexual Assault and Homicide. Backers has been trying felony jury trials since January, 1987. She assists prosecutors throughout the state and the nation in capital trials. In 2008, she was a supervisor of a felony team in a branch office until 2011. Backers then served 3 ½ years in the Juvenile division in her county. Most recently, she was assigned to the Hayward branch office, the first 8 months doing preliminary hearings and now assigned to trial staff. Her last trial assignment was moved to the East County Hall of Justice in 2017.

Backers is co-chair of the Capital Litigation Committee of the California District Attorneys Association [CDAA] and she teaches regularly for the Association of Government Attorneys in Capital Litigation [AGACL].  She is on the Board of Directors of AGACL, as well as being past-president. She has been an instructor for CDAA, NDAA and AGACL in the areas of Demonstrative Evidence, Privileges, Opening Statements, Sexual Assault, Dealing with Problematic Victims, The Lost Art of  Jury Selection, the Law Of Homicide, How to Avoid a Manslaughter Verdict, the Law of Special Circumstances, Penalty Phase Preparation, Victim Impact Testimony, Arguing for Death, Avoiding Prosecutorial Misconduct, The Top Ten Mistakes in Capital Cases.

In June 2014, Backers was awarded the Instructor of the Year Award from the California District Attorneys Association.  In August 2014, she was awarded a lifetime achievement award, The William Schafer Award for excellence in Capital Litigation by the national organization Association of Attorneys in Capital Litigation. 

Excellence in Teaching and Coaching  

Peter Borruso ’03
Public Defender, Yolo County

Peter joined the Moreau Mock Trial team in the Fall of 2013. There, he served as the attorney coach until his daughter Marisela’s birth in June 2019. After 6 seasons with the team, he was part of 5 Alameda County Championships, 2 top ten California State Championship finishes, Empire Mock Trial Atlanta Champions, and had the pleasure of working with so many student competitors. Finally, he had the honor and privilege of working with the legend, Coach Phil Wilder during this time.

Most important to him, was the great relationships he built during the past 6 seasons. The students inspired him more than they may have realized at the time. He credits his work with the students as helping him become a better trial attorney in his own professional capacity.

Rumor has it, he even shed a tear when Desiree Nunes ’18 gave her first closing argument in 2016.

Professionally, he has worked as a Deputy Public Defender at the Yolo County Public Defender’s Office since 2014. He has completed 37 jury trials and now serves as the Intern Supervisor. Currently, he is working on the juvenile team helping minors. He enjoys playing basketball with the kids at the juvenile hall.

Amicus Curiae Award 

Maravilla Family: Fe (Villamonte)’78 – In Memoriam, Elco Maravilla, Emerald Maravilla ’05, Erin Maravilla ’07, and Elizar Maravilla

Elco and Fe (Villamonte) ’78 Maravilla  began their family on September 27, 1986, when they married at All Saints Church. In their 31 years of marriage, they raised three children: Emerald ’05, Erin ’07, and Elizar.

Elco and Fe committed their time and energy to their communities, serving in a number of programs including All Saints CYO and All Saints Filipino Ministry. They were enthusiastic supporters of Moreau Catholic’s athletic and performing arts programs, especially cross country, basketball, band, and dance.

Elco and Fe prioritized education for their children, and the many young people they worked with through their community service. They emphasized education of the whole person – of one’s mind, spirit, and heart.

Fe passed away in 2018. It is in honor of her life and legacy of courage, generosity, and kindness that the Maravilla family established the Fe Maravilla Memorial Mock Trial Scholarship. Through the scholarship, the family hopes to support students in their strengthening of voice, conviction, and sense of exploration.

“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.”
 – Toni Morrison