Aleida K. Wahn
Hello and Welcome! My name is Aleida Wahn (pronounced Alayda Von) and I am an attorney, award-winning true crime writer, and legal analyst of criminal cases. I attend criminal court trials and write stories about compelling and gripping cases. I have a deep passion for true crime, criminal law, and all aspects of the criminal justice system. I have appeared as an expert on true crime shows and provided legal analysis on high-profile criminal trials on Court TV, the Law & Crime Trial Network, Fox 5 News, ABC 10 News, and KUSI News. I am part of the Producers Group of Del Mar TV, filming shows addressing social issues in recent criminal trials. I am a contributing writer for True Crime: Case Files Magazine, an online magazine dedicated to providing professional articles and educational information in the true crime genre. I am also a contributing writer for San Diego Lawyer Magazine and a blogger for Psychology Today (writing human interest stories, self-help and motivational articles). I have worked at the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office in the Gang Prosecution Unit and Family Support Division, as an attorney in a private family law firm, and currently specialize in criminal post-conviction law.
My Mission & Legal Work:
I know how important it is to help others and to give back to our world. I am a firm believer that everyone needs help at some point in their life. I know I sure did. I was born in Bolivia, South America, to a mother who was extremely poor and unable to care for me. My salvation came when I was adopted at the age of two by an American couple who were working as missionaries in Bolivia. Had I not been adopted, I most likely would not have survived as disease and poverty were rampant in the tiny Indian village in which I lived. As it was, I was very sick and it took a team of medical specialists to make me well. My adoptive parents saved my life without question! It is now my mission to help others through my legal expertise and true crime writing.
My True Crime Writing:
Do you want to know what happened in a riveting criminal trial? My stories will take you into the courtroom for a front row seat in high-profile murder trials, rape cases, crimes of passion, cases involving mental illness, deviant human behavior, and more. You will hear captivating and emotional testimony from the accused, from victims, medical experts, and other crucial witnesses, and be enthralled by the attorneys’ fiery arguments. Not only do I find out what happened and why, but I ask the haunting questions that remain long after a jury has departed. These true stories have the power to move people, while highlighting societal issues which need to be addressed. I have personally witnessed in courtrooms the human devastation that is present in each trial, and I do believe there is a lesson to be learned in every single case. It is by examining critical issues that we can effect change. Select stories have been published in San Diego Lawyer Magazine and True Crime: Case Files Magazine.
Winner of True Crime Writing Contest:
I am honored to have won True Crime: Case Files’ true crime writing contest with my story, “The Murder Trial of Regina Johnson: She Killed Her Husband, But Did She Kill the Daughter She Loved?”
What really happened in the Johnson home on a terrible May day that left a young girl and a father dead? According to the prosecution, Regina Johnson ambushed and executed her daughter and husband, and then “left them to rot for three days while she thought about how to get away with it.” The defense maintained Regina shot her husband, but only after he killed their daughter during a violent family argument. Did Regina love her daughter way too much to ever harm her? Please read my story about this spellbinding and heartbreaking case at: https://newsstand.joomag.com/en/true-crime-case-files-winter-2017-winter-2017/0028296001505147443
My Writing for Psychology Today:
I am a blogger for Psychology Today, under the column “Personal Perspectives: The View From Here.” I write human interest stories and motivational articles, encompassing a wide array of topics. I have written about the frightening night my family was suddenly surrounded by African elephants while on safari in Botswana (we lived to tell), to empowering stories such as the lessons I learned the year my husband almost died, how a victim of abuse and trafficking found healing and purpose, how a successful trial attorney turned childhood pain into power, and my day with the Border Angels leaving life-saving water. You may read my stories at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-view-here
I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Long Beach, where I was on the President’s Honor List and Dean’s List for academic excellence. I was the President of The Law Society, interned at the Long Beach City Prosecutor’s Office, and worked nights in the restaurant industry. In my junior year, I spent a semester as a foreign exchange student in London, England, where I attended Ealing College of Higher Education and lived with an English family. Following the program, I traveled to East Germany where I saw the Berlin Wall and witnessed heavy military presence and regulations. Seeing people who were prohibited from leaving their country was a powerful lesson in gratitude for freedom and choices.
I obtained a Juris Doctor degree from The University of San Diego School of Law, where I was awarded the Best Brief in the Alumni Tort Competition and was a legal intern at the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, Gang Prosecution Unit. I conducted pretrial preparation of felony cases, researched and wrote motions, attended felony arraignments and preliminary hearings, photographed crime scenes with criminal investigators, and went on police-ride-alongs through gang territory. A highlight of law school was attending the summer program of the Institute of International and Comparative Law at The University of Paris, France.
My Legal Background:
After passing the California bar examination on my first attempt, I worked at the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, Family Support Division. I worked as a lead attorney and went to court daily to prosecute paternity cases, establish support orders, and recover money owed to the County of San Diego. I then became an associate attorney at The Law Offices of Sandra Joan Morris, a family law firm representing prominent San Diego families, successful individuals, and professional athletes. I worked on complex and large estate divorces, encompassing division of marital assets, high conflict custody and visitation litigation, and establishment of child and spousal support orders.
My Volunteer Work & Professional Affiliations:
I give back to the community by volunteering at expungement clinics held by the San Diego Clean Slate Program and the San Diego Public Defender’s Office. I work one-on-one with individuals who need legal assistance in cleaning up their criminal records.
I have also volunteered helping individuals file domestic violence restraining orders. I marched in the Innocence March with the California Innocence Project to seek exoneration for individuals wrongfully incarcerated, and traveled with the Border Angels to the Ocotillo desert to leave life-saving water and provisions along migrant crossing routes.
I do service projects with my family through Kids Korp.U.S.A., the San Diego Food Bank, Kitchens for Good, Friends & Family Community Connection, Project Concern International, and The Surfrider Foundation. I served on the Children’s Committee of The Del Mar Foundation helping bring educational, cultural, and family activities to the Del Mar community and public.
My professional affiliations include the San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association, San Diego County Bar Association, San Diego Psych-Law Society, San Diego Society of Professional Journalists, and Partners in Crime/San Diego Sisters in Crime.
My Hobbies & Favorite Things To Do:
I love spending time with my family and friends. No matter what we do, it is a blessing. I enjoy traveling, photography, playing the piano, party planning, cooking, and baking. I am happy to be outdoors bike riding, playing tennis, hiking, and taking long walks on the beach. For a new adventure, I took up boxing and kickboxing. The workouts leave me breathless, but invigorated. For tranquility, I do meditation and immerse myself in the healing power of the ocean. And of course, I read as many true crime stories as I can get my hands on.