Each month, 25-30 people meet for an hour and have a conversation.  Sometimes they just hear committee reports.  Sometimes they decide on budgetary matters.  Sometimes they agree to challenge a practice somewhere in America, or adopt an ethics opinion, or a statement about Workloads.  These people continue to show up without pay and with very little recognition.  These people are members of NAPD’s Steering Committee.  You can see the NAPD Steering Committee here:  https://www.publicdefenders.us/steeringcommittee
Let me introduce you to  three new Steering Committee members for 2020.  First there is Chantá Parker, the Managing Director of Neighborhood Defender Service of Detroit.  She brings ten years of experience first as a supervising attorney in the Criminal Defense Practice of the Legal Aid Society’s Brooklyn office, then as a felony trial attorney with Orleans Parish Public Defenders, followed by 18 months at the Innocence Project.  She has been involved with teaching at Gideon’s Promise and serves as the board secretary of the Essie Justice Group.  Most recently, she taught and coached for NAPD’s Executive Leadership Institute in Austin, Texas in October and Los Angeles, California in December.  She has undertaken the daunting task of opening a new office in Detroit, culminating a long period of reform efforts in Michigan. 
Joining Chanta` is Stephanne Cline Thornton, Criminal Justice Specialist for the Public Defender Services’ Public Defender Corporation Resource Center, where she assists West Virginia public defenders with research and mitigation.  She also conducts mitigation training and writes grants to create recovery coach positions within West Virginia offices to assess and link pretrial defendants with substance use treatment.  Stephanne comes to this position with as a licensed independent clinical social worker, a certified addiction counsel, certified sex offender treatment provider, and certified clinical trauma professional.  Her education includes a Master of Divinity from Emory.  Stephanne has been active in training for NAPD’s We the Defenders Conferences, training social workers and investigators. 
The third new member of the Steering Committee is Christine Rapillo.  She is the Chief Public Defender of Connecticut.  She was appointed to this position after having served as the Director of Juvenile Delinquency Defense for the State, and prior to that Supervisor of the Hartford Juvenile Court Public Defender’s Office.  Before her supervisor positions, Chris was a felony trial attorney in New Haven and New Britain.  She has long been a juvenile advocate and reformer, sitting on the Steering Committee for the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, the Federal and Connecticut Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, and Board of Directors for the New England Juvenile Defender Center. 
NAPD welcomes these three new Steering Committee members and thanks them for their willingness to serve!