This year’s conference includes a special focus on Racial Justice, Diversity, and Inclusion Programming. Workshops that will address this overarching theme include [RJ] after the session title.

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Public Defense [clear filter]
Friday, November 2

10:30am CDT

Defending Our Own: The Life and Journey of the Black Public Defender [RJ]
This panel will discuss the lived experiences of black public defenders and formally introduce the new section of NLADA, the Black Public Defender Association. The panelists will discuss the purpose, goals, and why its creation was necessary.


Patrice James

Director of Community Justice, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Patrice James has spent her career tackling the inequities of the criminal justice system. Most recently she was a founding attorney of Still She Rises, Tulsa, where she provided holistic legal representation, primarily to low-income women of color; engaged in community building... Read More →

avatar for Keir Bradford-Grey

Keir Bradford-Grey

Chief Defender, Defender Association of Philadelphia
Keir Bradford-Grey began her tenure as chief defender in Philadelphia in September 2015, following service as chief defender of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. At the Defender Association of Philadelphia, Ms. Bradford-Grey focuses on serving the citizens of Philadelphia through innovative... Read More →

Kevann Gardner

Criminal Defense Attorney, Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
avatar for Lori James-Townes

Lori James-Townes

Assoc. Clinical Professors, Towson University
Professor James-Townes’s passion is adding value to others. She has focused her attention on personal and professional development. Nothing brings her more joy than working with students and professionals as they take their journey and focus on achieving their full potential. She... Read More →
avatar for Martesha Johnson

Martesha Johnson

Chief Public Defender, Public Defender - Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County
avatar for James King

James King

Supervising Attorney, Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
James King is a supervising attorney with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia in the Trial Division. Mr. King represents adults and juveniles charged as adults at the District of Columbia Superior Court and in front of the United States Parole Commission. He has... Read More →
avatar for Adeola Ogunkeyede

Adeola Ogunkeyede

Legal Director, Civil Rights & Racial Justice Program, Legal Aid Justice Center

Friday November 2, 2018 10:30am - 12:00pm CDT
San Felipe Westin Galleria, 3rd Level

2:30pm CDT

Race and Wrongful Misdemeanors [RJ]
This session will explore how misdemeanors and municipal courts are abused to target, ensnare, and marginalize people of color. It will cover the criminalization of innocuous activity, the over-policing of neighborhoods, and the systemic problems within municipal courts that have weaponized misdemeanors as a tool of racial oppression. Lastly, it will encourage participants to examine and rethink the role and responsibilities of defenders in municipal court.

avatar for Nikki Trautman Baszynski

Nikki Trautman Baszynski

Assistant State Public Defender, Ohio Public Defender
Nikki Trautman Baszynski is an assistant state public defender in the Ohio Public Defender's Appeals and Postconviction Department and the founding co-chair of the office's Racial Justice Initiative. Her work in the initiative has centered on the criminalization of poverty, relationship-building... Read More →

Friday November 2, 2018 2:30pm - 4:00pm CDT
Post Oak Westin Galleria, 3rd Level

4:15pm CDT

From Criminal Defense to Civil Action, Pre-Entry to Re-Entry: Recognizing the Transformative Power of Embedded General Civil Legal Services in Public Defender Offices [RJ]
Concentrated poverty and lack of access to fundamental civil needs—including homes, jobs, income, and education—are directly linked to and driving forces of criminal justice involvement (in addition to racism, classism, over policing and prosecution, and mass incarceration, to name a few). At the same time, stability in that access—preventing eviction, job loss, termination of benefits or other income—can be a powerful solution to the innumerable crushing consequences that individuals and families face when trapped in the criminal justice system. This session will focus on the Civil Action Practice at The Bronx Defenders—the largest and most comprehensive embedded general civil practice in a public defender office in the country. We will focus on our three main touchpoints for intervention: benefits access for community, team-based, integrated civil defense, and community reentry. We will relate the importance of attorney and non-attorney advocate collaboration and will discuss the value of having comprehensive civil legal services before, during, and after criminal justice involvement for impactful and transformational services. This will be presented as an innovation lab.


Wesley Caines

Reentry and Community Outreach Coordinator, The Bronx Defenders
Wesley Caines is the reentry & community outreach coordinator for Bronx Defenders. He works with the office’s former and current clients, as well as community members, to overcome barriers based on prior justice involvement. He created and oversees the organization’s Records Accuracy... Read More →
avatar for Runa Rajagopal

Runa Rajagopal

Managing Director, Civil Action Practice, The Bronx Defenders
Runa Rajagopal, a litigator and social justice advocate for more than 14 years, is currently managing director of the Civil Action Practice at The Bronx Defenders (BXD). The Bronx Defenders is an innovative, progressive public defender that pioneered a model of legal representation... Read More →

Cecilia Riera

Benefits Advisor, The Bronx Defenders
Cecilia Riera is a benefits adviser with the Civil Action Practice of the Bronx Defenders. She works on issues that include Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (food stamps), emergency assistance, and housing assistance, among other benefits. Before coming to the Bronx... Read More →

Mohammed Sheriff

Civil Legal Advocate, Supervisor, The Bronx Defenders
Mohamed Sheriff was the first civil legal advocate at The Bronx Defenders and, 15 years later, now supervises the legal advocates. He holds an associate degree in Paralegal studies (AAS) from Hostos Community College and a B.A. in International Government and Human Rights from John... Read More →

Friday November 2, 2018 4:15pm - 5:45pm CDT
Post Oak Westin Galleria, 3rd Level
Saturday, November 3

10:30am CDT

Hot Topics in Public Defense: Race, Research, and Resources – Oh My! [RJ]
This session will provide updates from NLADA staff and others regarding some of the most important issues affecting the delivery of defender legal services, including: (1) leading by example in addressing implicit bias in your office and in the criminal justice system; (2) NLADA’s role in DOJ’s new Sixth Amendment Initiative; (3) upcoming replication tools from DOJ’s Innovative Solutions in Public Defense Initiative; (4) thinking outside the box on generating needed resources; and (5) other matters of interest.

avatar for Emily Flanagan

Emily Flanagan

• Manager, Programmatic Strategy and Innovation, National Legal Aid & Defender Association
Emily Flanagan joined the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) in 2017 and was charged with connecting public defenders to resources. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and an AmeriCorps Alum with more than 14 years of experience promoting service domestically and... Read More →
avatar for Maha Jweied

Maha Jweied

National Legal Aid & Defender Association, Senior Fellow
Maha Jweied is senior fellow with the National Legal Aid & Defender Association. Until January 2018, she served as the acting director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice, the primary office in the Executive Branch championing indigent defense and civil... Read More →
avatar for Michael Mrozinski

Michael Mrozinski

Staff Attorney, Defender Legal Services, National Legal Aid & Defender Association
Michael is the staff attorney in NLADA’s Defender Legal Services division. He supports the work of public defenders nationwide, as well as improvements to indigent defense systems, through research, policy, training and technical assistance, and development of resources and toolkits... Read More →

Saturday November 3, 2018 10:30am - 12:00pm CDT
San Felipe Westin Galleria, 3rd Level