Thursday. March 18, 2010
Deputy Public Defender Shereen J. Jaffe Dies at 42
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Veteran Deputy Public Defender Shereen J. Jaffe has died at the age of 42.
Colleagues told the MetNews that Jaffe died Monday after a lengthy battle with breast cancer.
They also said services for Jaffe remain pending.
Ronald L. Brown, a friend of Jaffe and her colleague at the Public Defender’s Office, said she was diagnosed about four years ago, but “was quite the fighter” and “very brave.”
“She would go out sick and as soon as she could work, she would come back,” he recalled. “She was scheduled to return in April and didn’t make it.”
Last year, Jaffe came and danced at his wedding, which coincided with her 41st birthday, even though she was “clearly sick,” and was in apparent pain. “But that was our Shereen,” Brown remarked.
“She was always so very loving and cheerful” and never without “that beautiful smile,” he added.
Aparna Voleti, another friend and colleague, also remembered Jaffe for her ever-present smile as well as her “amazing ability to touch everyone.”
Jaffe “had a spark to her personality,” and was always “quick to laugh” and “never took herself seriously,” Voleti said. “Everybody loved her.”
A graduate of UC Irvine and Southwestern Law School, Jaffe was admitted to practice in 1992 and immediately joined the Public Defender’s office. Her most recent assignment was in the Torrance branch, Brown said.
Voleti said that Jaffe did training for the new attorneys handling preliminary hearings and “a lot of trials” during her tenure with the office.
“She fought so hard for our clients,” Voleti recalled. She said Jaffe spent “a lot of time” getting to know clients and their cases.
At trial, Jaffe was never confrontational, but had “a subtle ability to persuade” when arguing on behalf of a client, Voleti said. “She was so smart, everybody believed her.”
Even through her illness, Voleti recalled, Jaffe was more concerned about friends and family than herself.
“She was an amazing wife and daughter and mother and friend,” Voleti said. “She filled so many roles for so many people.”
Jaffe is survived by her husband Mark Nathanson, 5-year-old daughter Brooke, father Marvin Jaffe and brother Harvey Jaffe.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company