Chair of NAPD Steering Committee to be Filled by Derwyn Bunton
Last week, I wrote about three new Steering Committee members, Chantá Parker, Chris Rapillo, and Stephanne Thornton being elected at the annual meeting held on December 19th. Several other actions of the Steering Committee were significant and are detailed below.
First, our three past chairs, Tim Young, Mark Stephens, and Paul DeWolfe, were all recognized for their leadership during NAPD’s first six years of existence. Tim Young, the Ohio State Public Defender, was recognized for “sparking the formation of NAPD, for leading NAPD as its inaugural chair, and for ongoing commitment to NAPD’s success.” Mark Stephens, the recently retired Knoxville Public Defender who is now in private practice, was recognized for “sparking the formation of NAPD, for serving as Chair of the NAPD Steering Committee, and for ongoing commitment to NAPD’s success.” Mark has also served as the long-time Chair of the Workload Committee. Finally, Paul DeWolfe, the Maryland State Public Defender, was honored for “his tenure leading NAPD, modeling the courage to advance racial justice, and for ongoing commitment to NAPD’s success.” The highlight of this meeting, held online using Zoom, was Elizabeth Miller, Ohio’s Deputy Public Defender, appearing in Tim’s office on camera and presenting him with his certificate.
Derwyn Bunton was elected to serve as NAPD Chair for the next two years. Derwyn has been the Chief District Defender for the Orleans Parish Public Defender’s Office in New Orleans, Louisiana, since 2009, during a time of reform post-Katrina. Prior to that appointment, he was the Executive Director of Juvenile Regional Services in New Orleans. Derwyn graduated from New York University School of Law.
In addition, a new Executive Committee was elected to serve for the next two years. This committee makes significant decisions between monthly Steering Committee meetings. Joining Derwyn are Chair-elect Carlos Martinez, past-Chair Paul DeWolfe, Aisha McWeay, and Justine Olderman. Carlos is the elected Miami-Dade County Public Defender, the first Hispanic elected Public Defender in the US. He has long been an advocate of reform of Florida’s juvenile system, particularly leading a successful effort to ban the indiscriminate shackling of children in juvenile court. Paul has served as Public Defender of Maryland since 2009. Paul also led the Montgomery County, Maryland Public Defender’s Office from 2000 to 2009. Aisha is the Executive Director of Still She Rises, a Tulsa, Oklahoma Public Defender’s Office. A Vanderbilt Law School graduate, Aisha was a Nashville, Tennessee public defender from 2009 until 2019, where she served as General Sessions Division Chief as well as Deputy Public Defender for Nashville-Davidson County. Justine is the Executive Director of The Bronx Defenders, where she was a trial lawyer for the past 18 years. Prior to her appointment as Executive Director, she was a training team supervisor, a team leader for experienced practitioners, and the Managing Attorney of CDP.
NAPD and the public defense community is exceptionally fortunate to have these visionary and talented public defenders in positions of leadership.
Incoming Chair, NAPD Steering Committee