Friday, June 30, 2023 For immediate release
National public defense org selects new leadership
New Mexico attorney to lead board; new faces for leadership slate 
DENVER — The National Association of Public Defense, which serves as a national professional organization for more than 30,000 public defenders and is a key voice in advocacy for public defense policy and reform, is welcoming a new slate of leaders.
“These dedicated public defenders are coming to us at a very important time in public defense across our country,” said Lori James-Townes, NAPD’s executive director. “The collective wealth of leadership will serve our members and our public defender community well.” 
Outgoing president Geoff Burkhart said he and outgoing Vice President Aisha McWeay are particularly happy to pass the baton to NAPD’s first female president and vice president duo.
The full slate of newly appointed officers includes: 
New Mexico attorney Cydni Sanchez, a deputy chief with the New Mexico Law Offices of the Public Defender, has been elected as president. Sanchez is a 2005 alumna of the University of New Mexico School of Law and has served as a member at large for the NAPD Board since 2021 and the Executive Committee since 2022. She is the first woman and the first Latina to hold the presidential post. 
Elizabeth Miller, the Assistant Director of the Office of the Ohio Public Defender, has been elected vice president. She is an alumna of the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and has served on the NAPD Steering Committee and its Stepping Up Initiative. 
Iowa College of Law Professor Emily Hughes will serve as secretary. Before joining academia, Hughes worked as a public defender for the Office of the Iowa State Public Defender.  
Lorinda Youngcourt, an attorney with the Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington and Idaho, joins the board as treasurer. She has served as chair of the NAPD Education Committee. This is her second term as treasurer. 
Members at Large: Joining the board are Brendon Woods, the Public Defender of Alameda County (Calif.), and La Mer Kyle-Griffiths, the Assistant Public Defender of the Santa Barbara Public Defender’s Office. 
The new leadership team will officially begin their terms on July 1. They aim to host their first in-person meeting with the full Board of Directors and NAPD members at NAPD’s Leadership Institute in Indianapolis on Nov 28th –Dec. 1, 2023.