Q&A With Attorney Fatima Silva
Criminal defense attorney Fatima Silva knows how to build a case on behalf of her Bay Area clients, and now she’s turning her sharp eye to murder convictions from all over the United States. As cohost of Investigation Discovery’s true-crime series Reasonable Doubt, she explores controversial cases, offering closure or new hope to the convicted party. Here, she shares her love of the East Bay, recalls a standout case, and reveals her favorite karaoke songs.
Q: You grew up in Union City and went to Saint Mary’s College in Moraga. What do you enjoy most about the East Bay?
A: There is nothing like the East Bay. It is extremely diverse. Each town is different. You can go to Walnut Creek and get sushi downtown, or you can go to Lake Merritt, where it is a little more eclectic, or Berkeley—total hippies. I love that there is something for everyone.
Q: Is there one case that was particularly memorable for you?
A: I was all over the news a couple of years ago for a local sex scandal. [Silva was one of the defense attorneys for Daniel Black, a former Livermore police officer charged with soliciting a prostitute.] We were on the eve of trial, and it ended up coming down to a [plea] deal.
Q: What has been one of the most defining moments of your life?
A: My brother died [in an accident, crossing railroad tracks while taking a short cut to his Union City school] when I was 13, and it changed everything. It was years and years of a legal battle. The case was tough; it was going against one of the largest transportation companies in the country. … Part of the outcome was building a pathway [over the tracks]. It’s named after my brother, and my dad was very proud of that.
Q: How do you juggle your busy legal practice with Reasonable Doubt?
A: At first, it was something I didn’t want to do; I’m still in the first 10 years of my practice, and it seemed a little too early to lose focus. I had also just gotten married, so I was ready for the slow life. It was stressful trying to balance everything, but it was worth it.
Q: You once sang with a Bay Area cover band. What’s your go-to karaoke jam?
A: I love The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald. I mix it up, depending on my mood. Maybe Sir Mix-a-Lot or Disney songs—anything that will get the crowd going. My job is very intense, so at the end of the day, you want to let loose and have fun.
Reasonable Doubt airs Wednesdays on Investigation Discovery.